Both sides have lost their last two games and are tied at the bottom of the standings with only four points, with Chicago slightly ahead because of goal difference.
Statistically, Chicago looked good over the weekend in their 2-0 defeat to the Columbus Crew, with nearly 60% possession, 15 shots fired and over 82% pass accuracy, but unfortunately, they failed to register a shot on target and thus they were shut out for a second consecutive match.
A lack of urgency and passion in their duels and second balls in the first half proved to be their undoing against Columbus.
They conceded twice to the defending MLS Cup champions and dug themselves an early deficit that they could not overcome.
Manager Raphael Wicky will want to see them fix those areas this week, while having more precision with their final pass and shooting against a side in Cincinnati who tend to give away a lot of scoring opportunities.
The Fire have dug themselves an early hole in the MLS table with only four points from their opening eight regular-season games, which is two points less than they accumulated at this stage of their 2020 campaign.
As they begin a four-game homestand this week, the Fire will consider their match on Wednesday as a winnable one, although Wicky has cautioned that they cannot afford to get complacent and underestimate Cincinnati, who have struggled in the early stages of 2021.
Not even a sellout crowd in their new stadium could change the fortunes of this FC Cincinnati squad in their last game, as they conceded only two shots on target, but lost 2-0 to the Colorado Rapids.
The Orange and Blue have taken one step forward and two steps back over the past few weeks, beating CF Montreal before getting blanked by the New England Revolution and then again by Colorado.
Like Chicago, Cincinnati also looked good statistically on Saturday, outshooting the Rapids 22-7 and firing seven shots on goal, with an 85% pass accuracy, but ultimately they failed to find the back of the net once again.
Their coach, Jaap Stam has seen his team create some good opportunities over the past couple of weeks, but they still lack that quality in the final third, with only six goals scored all season.
They did a much better job defensively in their last outing but will be disappointed with the outcome, allowing only two shots on target against the Rapids, but Colorado scored on both of their efforts.
As they look ahead at the schedule, Stam and his side will know that they have an excellent opportunity to make up some ground in the table, facing Chicago, who are even with them on points and then Toronto FC, who are currently only two points ahead of them.
Robert Beric and Luka Stojanovic, the only two goalscorers for Chicago in 2021, were substitutes versus Columbus and should return to the starting lineup after a long layoff from the international break.
Cincinnati striker Franko Kovacevic played eight minutes as a substitute in their last outing after he was doubtful with a muscle injury.
Centre-back Maikel van der Werff has a groin injury, while the team was finally able to get the visa issues sorted out for Gustavo Vallecilla, who played in the entire first half last weekend for Cincinnati.
Edgar Castillo made his first start of the season for the Orange and Blue, as the 34-year-old US international played 77 minutes at left-back against his former team, the Rapids.
Chicago Fire possible starting lineup:
Shuttleworth; Navarro, Calvo, Teran, Sekulic; Medran, Pineda; Stojanovic, Herbers, Gutierrez; Beric
FC Cincinnati possible starting lineup:
Vermeer; Gyau, Cameron, Vallecilla, Castillo; Kubo, Cruz, Acosta; Barreal, Brenner, Locadia
We say: Chicago Fire 1-1 FC Cincinnati
These teams have had similar difficulties this season, lacking consistency through 90 minutes and neither being able to finish off many of their scoring opportunities, as Cincy and the Fire are the two lowest-scoring teams in the league with six and four goals scored, respectively, so far.
Both sides concede plenty but expect a low scoring game, as both teams are lacking the precision in front of the goal.
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