The Chicago Fire's postseason chase continues in Portland on Wednesday night, as they gear up for a late kickoff against the Timbers. With an eye on keeping his squad fresh and able to contribute to the regular season's final stretch, head coach Veljko Paunović has tasked a rotated lineup with picking up a vital three points on the road.
Ahead of tonight's 10 p.m. CT start on ESPN+, get the rundown on tonight's starting XI and bench below, presented by AT&T:
- Six changes have been made to Paunović's starting lineup from Saturday night's 3-2 win over the Montreal Impact.
- Acquired a week ago today in a trade with the Montreal Impact, midfielder Micheal Azira will make his Fire debut in midfield after being included in the 18 but not appearing on Saturday.
- Goalkeeper David Ousted makes his 14th start of the season, and first since the Fire's May 18 road trip to San Jose.
- Midfielder Djordje Mihailović gets his first start since July 20 after assisting on Bastian Schweinsteiger's match-winning goal on Saturday night as a second half substitute. The appearance will be the 20-year-old's 48th since entering the league as a Homegrown signing in 2017.
- With goals in two straight matches, forward Nemanja Nikolić will captain the side tonight in Dax McCarty's stead. Nikolić scored in the Fire's last meeting with the Timbers, a 2-2 draw at SeatGeek Stadium on March 31, 2018.
- Like Mihailović, midfielder Brandt Bronico is also on milestone watch, as he receives his 49th professional appearance as part of tonight's starting XI.
- Przemysław Frankowski returns to the starting XI in midfield after appearing off the bench for Paunović in the Fire's last two outings.
- Defender Marcelo makes his first appearance since July 17 against Columbus Crew SC, and his first start since June 28 at the New York Red Bulls.
- Grant Lillard gets his second regular season start in defense, the other coming in the Fire's visit to Sporting Kansas City on July 6.
- Forward Fabian Herbers (shoulder) is listed as OUT for tonight's match. For the complete MLS injury report, click here.
View the full Starting XI and bench for both sides in the graphics below as they're available: