The Chicago Fire are back on the road Saturday night for a Western Conference road trip to Sporting Kansas City (7:30 p.m. CT, ESPN+). After a midweek thrashing of Atlanta United at home, head coach Veljko Paunović and his side will look to ride a wave of positivity into three points away from home.
Get the rundown on Saturday's matchup with our #SKCvCHI Match Storylines presented by NovaCare:
Kansas City (4-7-7, 19 points) were active midweek, suffering a 5-1 Wednesday night defeat in a visit from Western Conference leaders LAFC. The loss was Sporting’s second straight, and kept head coach Peter Vermes’ side in 12th place in the West through 18 matches played.
The Fire (5-7-7, 22 points) were on the right side of a 5-1 result Wednesday night, getting a brace from CJ Sapong as well as goals from Francisco Calvo, Nicolás Gaitan, and Fabian Herbers in a drubbing of reigning MLS Cup champions Atlanta United. All five strikes were scored in the first 45 minutes of the match, setting a Club record for most goals scored in a single half. The win has the Fire eying a move above the Eastern Conference playoff line, as they’re currently in eighth place after 19 matches.
Happy to Help
With a three-assist performance in Wednesday’s 5-1 win, Gaitán pushed his season total to eight since joining the Club in mid-March. Gaitán tied the team record for most assists in a single match with the performance, which earned him Heineken Man of the Match honors. The Argentine’s eight assists are the third-highest total in MLS, behind only the 11 from New York City FC’s Maxi Moralez and LAFC’s Carlos Vela and Portland midfielder Diego Valeri’s 10.
Gold Cup Glory
Fire midfielder Djordje Mihailović makes his return to Chicago this weekend as part of the U.S. Men’s National Team side that will take on Mexico in Sunday’s 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup Final at Soldier Field. Mihailović has appeared twice for the USA in the tournament, and will look to claim his first trophy with the senior men’s side. The 20-year-old will return to the Fire following the match, and remains unavailable for Saturday’s visit to Kansas City.
Saturday’s match is the Fire’s first visit to Kansas City since 2017. The Fire are 26-16-11 against Kansas City all-time dating back to 1998, and 1-4-3 in matches played at Children’s Mercy Park.