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Our Pick: New England Revolution to win
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Chicago Fire headed into the season break with five wins in six games. They were favorites to nab a playoff qualification spot. However, their form has taken a drastic turn and the club has not won a single game since the resumption of the league season. After their Leagues Cup exit, Chicago Fire FC lost four consecutive games before holding CF Montreal to a goalless draw.
They were eager to end this streak earlier this week but suffered yet another defeat against Columbus Crew. The club has lost 12 games so far this season and almost half of those defeats have come in the last six games. This poor run has also dropped them out of the playoff qualification spots.
The New England Revolution would be eager to capitalize on this situation. They are ranked fifth and are level on points with Philadelphia Union and Columbus Crew. Similar to their next opponents, the New England Revolution have also struggled in the MLS after the Leagues Cup. In their last five matches, the club has lost two, drawn two, and won just a single game.
Their only win came against a struggling New York Red Bulls side almost a month ago. In the last three games, New England were held to draws by Austin FC and Minnesota United. After picking up just two points from the available six, the visitors dropped all three in a shocking 2-1 loss against Colorado Rapids during their last outing.
Despite being in terrible form, the bookmakers have backed Chicago Fire FC with the better odds in this fixture. New England’s poor recent form is also a contributing factor in that decision. However, the visitors have a better chance to win this game and consolidate their position in the playoff spots.
The two clubs share a perfectly balanced head-to-head record in the MLS since 2010. They have met each other on 33 occasions with each side winning 11 games and the remaining 11 games have ended in draws.
One of those draws came earlier this season when the New England Revolution hosted Chicago Fire FC at the Gillette Stadium towards the end of May. The game ended with six goals coming from six different sources and the points were shared.
The visitors took the lead via Georgios Koutsias in the tenth minute. Andrew Farrell’s own goal doubled their advantage 12 minutes later. However, parity was reinstated before the break courtesy of goals from Noel Buck and Bobby Wood in the space of just two minutes.
In the 79th minute, Maren Haile-Selassie’s strike saw Chicago Fire retake the lead before Jozy Altidore’s 83rd-minute strike canceled it out. The hosts dominated that encounter but had to settle for a point in the end.
Failing to win in six successive games can lead to catastrophic outcomes, especially in a tightly contested league like the MLS. However, Chicago Fire FC still have time for damage limitation and can still turn their season around.
Due to their decent performance in the first half of the season, the club is still just three points away from the final playoff qualification spot. They also have an extra game in hand. Now, all they need is a strong performance that can clinch all three points.
In addition, they will also have a home advantage in this fixture. Chicago Fire have only lost three out of 14 games at home this season. The club has beaten teams like St. Louis City SC and Nashville SC earlier this season, so the squad should build on an optimistic approach.
Before the break, Chicago Fire FC scored nine goals in six games and conceded just four goals while keeping four clean sheets. However, after the break, during the current winless streak, the club has only scored one goal in six games, conceding 14 in the process.
To make matters worse, that solitary goal was scored in the first match after the league resumed, meaning Chicago Fire have fired blanks in all of their last five MLS games. This goal drought may continue as the hosts face the New England Revolution without a few key players.
Xherdan Shaqiri has been an authoritative figure in the Chicago Fire's midfield this season. The Swiss attacking midfielder has scored three goals and notched as many assists in 24 appearances this season in the MLS.
However, the hosts will be without the 31-year-old in the upcoming match because he was sent off in the previous match against Columbus Crew. The dismissal also took Chicago Fire's red card tally of the season to six, which is the highest across both conferences this season so far.
In the first half of the season, the competition between New England Revolution and FC Cincinnati was extremely tight as both strong teams were vying for the top of the Eastern Conference table as well as the Supporters Shield table.
However, as the current conference leaders FC Cincinnati built on their winning momentum, the New England Revolution faltered on multiple occasions. Once level on points, the two teams are now separated by 11 points.
Despite the huge difference, the visitors can reclaim second place which is currently occupied by Orlando City and is only two points away. The New England Revolution have an extra game in hand as well and can move back into second place with their first win in three games.
The head-to-head record between the two sides is evenly balanced, but in the last ten meetings, the New England Revolution have only lost one game. After losing 5-0 in the 2019 MLS season, New England have won three and drawn six games against Chicago Fire FC in the league.
A draw will not be an ideal result for either side, but a single point will always be better than no points at all. New England will have to capitalize on the host’s poor form and add a fourth away win to their tally
Carles Gil has been one of the best players for the New England Revolution this season. In 26 appearances, the Spaniard has scored eight goals and assisted seven. His seven-game goal drought came to an end almost two weeks ago against Minnesota United.
In the most recent game against Colorado Rapids, Gil set up the New England Revolution’s only goal of the match. With two goal contributions in his last two appearances, Gil is gunning to go and add more goals and assists to his tally.
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With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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