The Chicago Fire hit the road for two away matches this week, the first being a midweek meeting with D.C. United on Wednesday night (7 p.m. CT, ESPN+).
Alongside the Club's second-ever visit to Audi Field, get familiar with this week’s #DCvCHI Match Storylines powered by NovaCare:
D.C. United (7-4-4, 25 points) return home Wednesday night from a three-match road trip that culminated in a 1-1 draw at New England on Saturday. Forward Wayne Rooney helped salvage a road point for the visitors on a 90th minute penalty kick finish that pushed D.C. into sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference. D.C. have 25 points through 15 matches played, including a 4-2-1 record at Audi Field.
The Fire enter the midweek contest having picked up a point of their own on Saturday night against New York City FC. Forward CJ Sapong scored the Club’s 1000th regular season goal -- Sapong’s fifth finish of 2019 -- in what finished as a 1-1 draw. The Fire are currently in eighth in the East with 17 points through 14 matches.
A Tale of Two ‘Keepers
The newest member of the Men In Red – goalkeeper Kenneth Kronholm – made his Fire and MLS debut in Saturday night’s home draw against NYCFC. Kronholm was acquired from 2. Bundesliga side Holstein Kiel on May 7, and was credited with one save in his first Fire outing. The 33-year-old German-American ‘keeper will make his first MLS road start this week after Paunović noted following Saturday’s match that Kronholm would be between the sticks in the nation's capital.
In net for D.C., goalkeeper Bill Hamid has helped guide the United defense to a league-high seven clean sheets so far in 2019. Hamid – in his 10th MLS season -- also currently leads all MLS goalkeepers (with 1000+ minutes played) in save percentage, stopping 78.79% of his shots faced to date.
Rooney has been the star man for the D.C. United attack since his arrival from Everton last summer, and has resumed his high-scoring ways in what is his first full season in MLS. Per Opta, Rooney’s 11 combined goals and assists (eight goals, three assists) are the second-highest total in the league so far in 2019, trailing only LAFC’s Carlos Vela (21).
He’ll square off with former Manchester United teammate Bastian Schweinsteiger, who has been pivotal along the Fire backline since his shift there prior to the team’s 1-0 win over the New York Red Bulls on March 30. Wednesday’s match will be the third time the two players have gone head-to-head since their respective arrivals in MLS, with Rooney victorious in a 2-1 victory at D.C. on Oct. 7 of last season before the players shared points in a 0-0 decision day draw at SeatGeek Stadium on Oct. 28.
Wednesday night’s match is the first of two on the road for the Fire, who will head to Atlanta following their trip to D.C. to take on Atlanta United on Saturday (5 p.m. CT, UniMas). The Fire will then break until a return home on June 22 when Real Salt Lake visits SeatGeek Stadium for a 7 p.m. CT kickoff on ESPN+ (TICKETS).
Wednesday’s contest marks the first meeting between the Fire and D.C. United this season. Entering the match, the Fire are unbeaten in four of its last five matches (2-2-1) played against D.C. since Sept. 16, 2016. All-time, the Fire are 20-23-16 against D.C. dating back to 1998, including a 9-16-5 record in matches played in the nation’s capital.