Preview: Chicago Fire vs. Dallas – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday’s Major League Soccer clash between Chicago Fire and Dallas, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Eastern Conference outfit Chicago Fire are looking to continue their unbeaten start to the MLS season on Saturday, when they welcome Dallas to Soldier Field.

The visitors have also made a good start this year, currently sitting fifth in the Western Conference after collecting seven points from a possible 12.

Match preview

Chicago Fire forward Kacper Przyby?ko (11) reacts after scoring a goal against Sporting Kansas City during the first half at Soldier Field on March 19, 2022© Reuters

Ezra Hendrickson‘s side played out two goalless draws in their opening games of the campaign, but since they have found some form in the final third, they have now won back-to-back matches.

A brace from Kacper Przybylko and a penalty converted by Xherdan Shaqiri ensured that Chicago earned maximum points against Sporting Kansas City last time out, in a 3-1 win on home soil.

Fire will be hoping that the international break has not disrupted the momentum that they were building, which if they continue this weekend, could see them climb to the top of the table.

Chicago’s record on their own patch last season was much better than their away form, but with the positive start that Hendrickson’s side has made this year, they will be looking to better both their home and away stats from the previous campaign.

FC Dallas head coach Nico Estevez reacts during the match against Nashville SC at Toyota Stadium on March 12, 2022© Reuters

Dallas also enter this fixture on the back of consecutive victories, having comfortably defeated Portland Timbers 4-1 two weeks ago, courtesy of Jesus Ferreira‘s hattrick and a 77th-minute strike from Paul Arriola.

Three out of their first four matches have come on their own patch so far, with the only game that they have travelled for ending in defeat, meaning that Nico Estevez will be keen for his side to record their first win away from home.

The Burn only managed two wins on the road throughout the whole of last season, which is something that Dallas need to improve on this time around if they are to better their 23rd-place finish in the MLS.

Estevez’s side struggled to create as many chances in their only away match so far than they do so at the Toyota Stadium, but they have shown that they are capable in the final third as they have netted seven goals in four games.

Saturday’s encounter could prove to be a closely-fought match, with both teams averaging around 50% possession per game so far, meaning that the result will come down to what team utilise their time on the ball best.

Chicago Fire Major League Soccer form:

Dallas Major League Soccer form:

Team News

Chicago Fire defender Jonathan Bornstein (3) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against D.C. United during the second half at Audi Field on March 12, 2022© Reuters

Hendrickson named an unchanged starting 11 for their back-to-back victories prior to the international break, and Chicago are expected to remain the same again, in their 4-2-3-1 formation.

Fabian Herbers and Stanislav Ivanov will provide the width in attack, while Shaqiri will operate in the number 10 role just behind lone striker Przybylko, who opened his season’s account last time out.

Mauricio Pineda and Gaston Gimenez will sit in midfield just in front of the back four, with the latter showing he can offer an attacking threat also having provided an assist against DC United.

Dallas midfielder Nicky Hernandez is nearing a return from injury but Saturday’s outing is likely to have come too soon for the 23-year-old, who will be absent again.

The visitors made just one alteration to their starting 11 last time out, with Alan Velasco coming into the side in place of Jader Obrian, who operate on the right wing of a front three.

Nanu offers an attacking threat from his right-back position and Marco Farfan will be looking to do the same from the left, while Matt Hedges and Jose Martinez line up in the heart of defence.

Chicago Fire possible starting lineup:
Slonina; Navarro, Czichos, Omsberg, Sekulic; Gimenez, Pineda; Herbers, Shaqiri, Ivanov; Przybylko

Dallas possible starting lineup:
Paes; Farfan, Martinez, Hedges, Nanu; Servania, Cerrillo, Pomykal; Velasco, Ferreira, Arriola

SM words green background

We say: Chicago Fire 2-1 Dallas

After an unbeaten start to the campaign and being on their own patch, Chicago should have full confidence about collecting three points on Saturday, but it will be a tight affair after Dallas recorded back-to-back wins also.

Home advantage is likely to play a big role in the outcome this weekend, with Dallas’s away record from last season anything to go by, suggesting that it will be a difficult day for the visitors.

Top tip

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