Saturday’s nationally televised MLS game pits the Chicago Fire against a New York Red Bulls side climbing the Eastern Conference playoff positions. Saturday afternoon at Toyota Park will be the Fire’s first home game since losing back-to-back games to Toronto FC and Minnesota United FC. The Fire have a long list of injured players which includes star winger David Accam, center back Joao Meira, and World Cup Champion Bastian Schweinsteiger. The Men In Red’s team sheet is boosted however by Matt Polster’s recovery from injury and Dax McCarty’s return from National Team duty. The American midfielder produced one his finest performances of the season against his former team during the two clubs encounter at Red Bull Arena. The April 29th matchup ended in a 2-1 New York Red Bull win.
Health Key For Chicago Fire In New York Red Bull Clash
The Fire’s defense received a boost with right back Matt Polster’s excellent return last week in Montreal. The ball moving out from the back was much improved with Polster on the right, the transformed midfielder also set up the games only goal excellently. MLS’ ‘Armchair Analyst’ pointed out the fire are now 10-3-2 when he plays, and 3-6-3 when he doesn’t.
Bastian Schweinsteiger is likely to be missing Saturday with Dax McCarty stepping straight into the German’s spot from the USMNT bench. McCarty’s first games back from international call ups have not been his best of the season, but playing against his old team should raise the native Floridian’s performance.
— Chicago Fire Talk (@NBCSChicagoFire) April 30, 2017
Farther up the field, winger David Accam was sporting a swollen ankle midweek, putting his status as definitely questionable for Saturday. The Fire will want the speedy Ghanian back into the team as soon as possible. Along with his 14 goals and seven assists, Accam gives the team much needed speed and and flair. He along with the club have had a dip in fortune in the season’s second half. Since the Gold Cup break, Accam has seen his playing time decrease due to feuds and injuries.
Fire’s Rollercoaster In 2017
The Fire were a on a great run of form during the first half of the 2017 MLS season. Hot form continued until Chicago walked away from Portland’s Providence Park on a late Wednesday night in early July with a 2-2 draw. Following that seemingly steely point in the Pacific Northwest the Fire didn’t play for two weeks. When the Fire returned to action in Yankee Stadium on July 22, there was major Accam Drama and Brandon Vincent went down and the losing began. Nikolic’s form dips and sees his scoring stop, followed by the loss of three more defenders to injury. The 2017 season has become a rollercoaster, one in which the ride has climbed to a high peak and dropped quickly. Last week’s win in Montreal may be a catalyst for another upswing on said rollercoaster. A win for Chicago in Saturday’s game at Toyota Park would be a significant piece in leveling off the teams downward spiral.