FRISCO — FC Dallas returns home following a 2-0 road defeat at the hands of Real Salt Lake in what was its second game in four days. The Chicago Fire travel to Frisco after a tough battle with the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday night. Chicago is currently out of the playoff picture after dropping one spot in the Eastern Conference standings following the Montreal Impact's victory over the Colorado Rapids. The Fire were set back even further Wednesday night after they fell 4-3 to the Union.
A Quick Turnaround
Chicago is 3-3-1 when playing two games in four days across all competitions this season, and will play the second game in a four-day span when it travels to Texas to face FCD. With quick turnaround, the Fire will not be as rested as FC Dallas, who will be on a full weeks rest after playing two games in four days last week.
Facing A Consistent Attack
Either Aleksandar Katai or Nemanja Nikolić have scored for the Chicago Fire in five straight games across all competitions. The Fire's consistency has lied in its attack recently, and its leading scorer, Katai has been Chicago's main man this season with eight goals. Chicago will look to have Katai or Nikolić get on the scoresheet this weekend against a formidable back line in FC Dallas.
Carlos Gruezo vs. Dax McCarty — The two players who glue their formations together will go head-to-head Saturday evening. Gruezo has started in FC Dallas' last seven games, and has played as one of the holding midfielders, a similar role as McCarty. The match could be decided on which midfield group outplays the other, and both are vital for their team's success.
Roland Lamah vs. Kevin Ellis — The last time these two teams met saw Lamah bagging his first career MLS goal in the sixth minute of a 2-1 defeat in Chicago. Lamah hasn't scored in three games and has just two shots in those matches as well. He will look to get back on the right foot this week against the Fire, and what better way to get back on the scoresheet than to do it against the team you scored your first MLS goal.
Projected Starting XI
Chicago Fire (4-3-3): Sánchez; Corrales, Vincent, Campbell, Ellis; Schweinsteiger, McCarty, Bronico; Collier, Nikolić, Katai
Keys To Three Points
FC Dallas is coming off a tough road loss to Real Salt Lake and will look to bounce back against Chicago. FCD has the advantage of rest in this matchup and will have a full week's worth of training and rest while the Fire will be on short rest and sleep from traveling. Dallas has still not lost a home match this season, and its last game at Toyota Stadium saw a 3-2 comeback win late in the second half against Atlanta United FC. Maxi Urruti and Lamah will look to get back on the scoresheet against a Chicago team that has not had much success on the road. The Fire is currently 2-4-3 on the road this season and will be playing one of the toughest teams which has home success.