The Chicago Fire return home for another nationally-televised afternoon matchup this Saturday against Eastern Conference counterparts New York City FC (2:30 p.m. CT | Univision, Twitter).
After a setback in San Jose, head coach Veljko Paunović and his men will be looking to continue their positive run of form at home. Read up on everything surrounding #CHIvNYC with this week’s Match Storylines powered by NovaCare:
New York City FC enter the weekend as one of the most in-form sides in MLS. Head coach Dome Torrent’s men have won four of their last five outings to extend a current unbeaten run of seven matches. That includes a 2-0 win on the road at the LA Galaxy last weekend on the strength of late first half goals from Heber and Maxi Moralez. NYCFC currently resides in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 18 points through 11 matches played.
The Fire will be looking to bounce back from a 4-1 road defeat to the San Jose Earthquakes last weekend. Aleksandar Katai scored his third goal of the season, but the Fire ultimately saw a three-match unbeaten run broken in the Bay Area. The Fire have 16 points earned through 13 matches played.
SeatGeek Stadium has become a fortress of late for the Fire, who are undefeated in five consecutive home games (including four wins) dating back to a 1-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls on March 30. The Fire boast a +11 goal differential during that span, having scored 13 goals and conceded just twice.
Gold Cup Hopefuls
With preliminary rosters released on Monday for the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup, Saturday’s match features a pair of head-to-head matchups of potential tournament teammates. Fire defender Francisco Calvo and NYCFC defender Ronald Matarrita were both listed on the preliminary roster for their native Costa Rica, while Fire midfielder Djordje Mihailović and NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson will both hope to make the cut for the USA.
After serving a one-match suspension for yellow card accumulation during last Saturday’s defeat in San Jose, Bastian Schweinsteiger will be available for selection come kickoff this weekend. The Fire have allowed just 0.67 goals per game in the nine matches Schweinsteiger has played along the backline since making the switch to central defense on March 30, while allowing 2.75 goals per game in the four matches he’s played elsewhere on the field or was serving a suspension.
This weekend’s meeting will be the second of 2019 for these two sides. NYCFC were 1-0 victors at Yankee Stadium on April 24.
Saturday’s game marks the fifth all-time meeting between the Fire and NYCFC at SeatGeek Stadium. The Men in Red currently hold a 2-1-1 home record against the Eastern Conference side. In the most recent matchup between the two sides in the Windy City, the Fire posted a 3-2 win on June 30, 2018, receiving a goal from forward Nemanja Nikolić and a brace from Katai.