Philly are one of the hottest teams in the league, winning four of their last five matches, while the Fire are at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings after losing 1-0 to FC Cincinnati on Wednesday.
The 2021 regular season has gone from bad to worse for the Chicago Fire, who are in the midst of a three-game losing streak, their longest such streak since 2018 when they lost eight in a row.
Luckily for them, it has not been that bad just yet, but after firing just two shots on target and losing against one of the worst defensive units in MLS in Cincinnati, it is becoming increasingly difficult for manager Raphael Wicky to find any positive notes for his side.
Chicago have failed to find the back of the net in six of their nine games in 2021, so whatever the game plan is, it is not working right now for the Fire.
In 2020, a slow start to the regular season ultimately proved to be their demise, as they missed the playoffs by a single point, and a year later, they are at risk of putting themselves in that same position.
They have had more of the ball over their current losing skid, with over 50% possession in each of those matches, but they lack precision on their passing, clicking at 80% in pass accuracy in only one of their last three fixtures.
If there is one characteristic the Union have showed in their first 10 games of the 2021 regular season, it would be patience, a trait that has paid off handsomely of late for the reigning Supporters' Shield winners.
In their midweek encounter with the defending MLS Cup champion Columbus Crew, Jim Curtin saw his side show incredible poise and patience in a tactical showdown which they won 1-0, scoring with their only shot on target.
They went winless in their opening two fixtures this year, but did not panic and stuck to their game plan which is paying off as the Boys in Blue are back in the race for a second consecutive Supporters' Shield title, currently tied with Orlando City for second place in the East and just five points behind the New England Revolution for the conference lead.
Their victory against Columbus may not have been their most impressive of this campaign, but it will likely serve as a huge confidence boost to this side who failed to beat the Crew in 2020, losing twice.
Another encouraging sign for Philly is the fact that they have received contributions from multiple sources recently, with their last five goals coming courtesy of a different player, which will make star striker Kacper Przybylko happy, knowing that he does not always have to be relied on exclusively for goals.
With Poland eliminated from the Euro, the Fire could have Przemyslaw Frankowski back in the lineup this weekend.
Still, they will have to soldier on without midfielder Gaston Gimenez once against, as he remains on international duty with Paraguay at the Copa America.
Daniel Gazdag underwent an MRI on his knee, which showed no structural damage.
Anthony Fontana suffered a concussion against Atlanta United and did not see the field versus Columbus.
Striker Sergio Santos was a substitute against the Crew after being taken off in the second half against Atlanta as a precaution.
Goalkeeper Andre Blake needed to make only two saves to record his sixth clean sheet of the year, but in doing so, he reached a career milestone, recording 500 career saves in MLS.
Chicago Fire possible starting lineup:
Shuttleworth; Sekulic, Pineda, Calvo, Navarro; Kappelhof, Stojanovic; Espinoza, Herbers, Frankowski; Beric
Philadelphia Union possible starting lineup:
Blake; Powell, Glesnes, Elliot, Wagner; Sullivan, Flach, McGlynn; Monteiro; Santos, Przybylko
We say: Chicago Fire 0-3 Philadelphia Union
The Fire have failed to score in six of their last seven matches and have lost three in a row, failing to find a goal against four teams who are currently outside of the playoff picture.
Philly have maintained six clean sheets this year, three of which have come away from home, including defeating Chicago 2-0 at Soldier Field back on May 8.
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