Saturday, March 30 brings an Eastern Conference matchup between a winless Chicago Fire and the New York Red Bulls who are coming off their shocking 0-1 loss to Orlando City, ending their nine game unbeaten run at Red Bull Arena.
New York will rely on Bradley Wright-Phillips to get back on track to help put them back into the winner's column, while Chicago’s head coach Veljko Paunovic is looking to cool down his hot seat with a win Saturday afternoon.
How To Watch
What: New York Red Bulls Vs. Chicago Fire
Where: Toyota Park Stadium in Bridgeview, Illinois
When: Saturday March, 30 at 1 PM EST
How: ESPN+, MSG+, CSN Chicago
New York Red Bulls (Away)
Head Coach: Chris Armas
Key Players: Bradley Wright-Phillips, Alex Muyl, Luis Robles
Standings: 1-1-1 (7th)
Coming off of last weeks stunning loss to Orlando, New York is going to have to get back to the high-intensity play that propelled them to the Supporters Shield last season.
To do so, they’ll need to see Bradley Wright-Phillips rise out of his recent slump and start producing.
Last week's showing against Orlando saw him with 3 touches in Orlando’s box for the entirety of the game. Getting him back on track will go a long way towards turning their season around.
With Florian Valot suffering yet another torn ACL during Their 4-1 rout against San Jose we’ll once again get to see Midfielder Alex Muyl take on added pressure Saturday afternoon.
But he’s been flourishing as of late with 2 goals in their first 3 matches, and if he can keep up this type of production, New York can expect to have another incredible season.
Judging from his early season success, Muyl certainly seems up to the task.
They’ll be taking on the winless Chicago Fire whose coach is already on the early season hot seat, but don’t expect to see any quit in this team as they fight to get in the winning column for the first time this season.
Chicago Fire (Home)
Head Coach: Veljko Paunovic
Key Players: C.J Sapong, Przemyslaw Frankowski, Bastian Schweinsteiger
Standings: 0-1-2 (11th)
It’s time for coach Paunovic to step up and show some aggression this week. His job is on the line here, and while this winless season is entirely on him, his tendency to back off late in games rather than go for the jugular has proven to be a problem.
It seems he’s made the necessary adjustment late versus Seattle when he chose to push an extra player forward. The result was 2 second half goals. Let’s see if "coach" keeps stays with 3 backs during Saturday’s match.
Bastian Schweinsteiger has to be better for the Fire if they want to make anything of the season this year.
As one of the most decorated players in soccer, he is expected to be the guy that can will a team to victory.
Unfortunately, this season has started off slowly for him and their match versus Seattle was a testament to that. He is going to have to turn back the clock and bring back the “Basti” from the “Pasti” (excuse the dad joke please) if Chicago is going to win this game.
They’ll be squaring off against a highly talented club who is undoubtedly looking to regain their composure and get back to their winning ways on Saturday.
Defeating the Red Bulls is a tall task for sure, but New York has proven they can lose games that they’re expected to win.
Head-to-Head: Bastian Schweinsteiger (Chi) vs Alex Muyl (NEW)
The match-up I’m looking forward to seeing is between the burgeoning star Alex Muyl as he takes on one of this generation's most accomplished athletes.
I fully expect Schweinsteiger to bounce back from his early-season woes.
Predictions and Odds
With the Fire having one of the Eastern Conferences worst goal differentials it’s hard to see Chicago putting a lot of goals up against a top 3 goalkeeper in Luis Robles.
You can expect to see Bradley Wright-Phillips look to attack early, and don’t be surprised if you see Muyl continue to put pressure on Chicago's backs.
I expect to see a New York victory in Chicago this weekend.
The oddsmakers haven’t come out with the official predictions as of yet, but you can be sure they’ll be favoring New York over Chicago.
The moment bookmakers release the odds we’ll give you the information you crave.