The Chicago Fire’s busy July resumes Wednesday night at SeatGeek Stadium, as the Men In Red welcome Eastern Conference rivals Columbus Crew SC. Get set for the 7 p.m. CT kickoff (ESPN+ | TICKETS) with the #CHIvCLB Match Storylines, presented by NovaCare:
Crew SC (5-14-2, 17 points) enter Wednesday night’s match in 11th place in the Eastern Conference after dropping a 1-0 result on the road to Orlando City SC on Saturday. The loss was Columbus’ fifth-straight, and extended their current winless streak to nine games. Head coach Caleb Porter’s side has 14 losses in 2019, the most in Major League Soccer.
The Fire (5-9-7, 21 points) saw an eight-match unbeaten run at SeatGeek Stadium snapped by FC Cincinnati on Saturday night. Midfielder Nicolás Gaitán scored his fourth goal of the season on a rebounded penalty attempt, but Cincinnati’s Fanendo Adi scored late to help the visitors claim a 2-1 win. The loss was just the Fire’s second at home, and first since March 16 against Seattle.
After missing Saturday’s match against Cincinnati due to suspension, Bastian Schweinsteiger will be available for selection ahead of Wednesday night’s match. Schweinsteiger was forced to sit due to a yellow card accumulation after receiving his eighth yellow card of the season against Sporting Kansas City on July 6. The German legend has played and started in 19 matches for the Fire so far in 2019.
Saturday's match also marked the return of Johan Kappelhof -- who had missed the Fire's prior four matches with a thigh injury -- and midfielder Djordje Mihailović, who had been with the U.S. Men's National Team for the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup. Kappelhof started and put in a 90-minute shift in his first appearance since June 11, while Mihailović entered as a second half substitution to replace Fabian Herbers in the 65th minute.
"I'm so glad I'm healthy now," Kappelhof said this week. "It was four weeks out. It was pretty tough. It's my first serious injury, so it was a little bit new for me, but I'm happy I'm healthy again and can help the guys. We need everyone healthy to win game."
Columbus midfielder David Accam returns to Chicago for the first time as a member of Crew SC on Wednesday, having played for the Fire from 2015-2017. Over that three-season span, Accam appeared in 85 matches and was the team's top scorer in 2015 and 2016, finishing with 38 goals for the Fire in three seasons across all competitions.
Fresh off of international duty, Mihailović will be reunited with a pair of U.S. Men's National Team teammates in Columbus midfielder Wil Trapp and forward Gyasi Zardes.
Entering Wednesday’s game, the Fire are unbeaten in their last five home games (2-0-3) against Crew SC, dating back to March 19, 2016. Overall, the Men in Red have a 26-19-19 all-time regular season record against Columbus, including 16-6-11 at home. Wednesday’s game will mark the first meeting between the two teams in 2019.