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May 29, 2022 at 12am UK at BMO Field
Toronto
3 - 2
Chicago Fire
Kerr (13'), Pozuelo (71' pen., 78')
Pozuelo (31'), Westberg (87'), Priso-Mbongue (88')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Teran (52'), Przybylko (66')
Przybylko (62'), Shaqiri (75'), Teran (78')

Preview: Toronto vs. Chicago Fire - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Toronto vs. Chicago Fire - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Major League Soccer clash between Toronto and Chicago Fire, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

The bottom two teams in the Eastern Conference of Major League Soccer will square off at BMO Field on Saturday as Toronto and the Chicago Fire aim to end their extended winless runs.

TFC are without a win in six consecutive MLS contests, following a 2-2 draw versus DC United, while Chicago are dead-last in the Eastern Conference and are now winless in 10 straight games in all competitions.


Match preview

We are more than a third of the way into the 2022 domestic campaign, and TFC are once again near the bottom of the table after being one of the teams to beat for so many years.

Baby steps have been taken to restore this once great franchise to elite status, though their promising start to the campaign has hit a downward spiral.

For weeks Bob Bradley's side have had three points right there for the taking and come up short, losing four of five games by a single goal.

Despite all the setbacks that this young team have incurred, they have reacted well to adversity throughout the year, with nine of their 12 points coming from losing positions, including last Saturday when they came back to draw DC United 2-2, snapping a five-match losing run in MLS play.

Over the 2021 off-season, there were close to 20 departures from this squad, plus a new coach and philosophy, so it is understandable to see some growing pains, combined with a lack of consistency and continuity among the players.

Their Achilles heel a season ago was an inability to remain calm and close down space in their third of the field, conceding the second-most goals in the regular season (66).

That area continues to be a trouble spot in 2022, having allowed at least a goal in 21 straight MLS affairs, equalling the club record set immediately before the current run.

While the score was a lot more respectable, Ezra Hendrickson can hardly be pleased with the way that his side have given away points in recent matches, losing 1-0 to New York City FC last weekend, their fourth straight road defeat.

As has been the case through much of the campaign, turning the ball over in dangerous areas of the field cost them against the Pigeons, forcing them to defend an awful lot while putting a ton of pressure on their backline.

Like Toronto, we have seen several new faces to this squad from a year ago, and it is believed that those new additions should allow this group to play with a more aggressive approach in the weeks to come.

Hendrickson and his players have emphasised the importance of being strong mentally to get over their current slump, and they will encounter another psychological hurdle this weekend, having gone winless against TFC since 2015 and without a victory at BMO Field in nearly a decade.

Their current nine-game winless run in MLS play is the longest they have gone without winning a regular-season affair since 2018, when the Fire picked up just one point in nine successive fixtures, finishing 20th overall after being the third-seeded team over the previous season.

After 13 matches, Chicago have the same number of points as they did at this stage of the 2021 campaign and are still having trouble on the road with just one victory so far.

Toronto Major League Soccer form:
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • D

Toronto form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • W

Chicago Fire Major League Soccer form:
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • L


Team News

Midfielder Jonathan Osorio returned to the lineup for Toronto last weekend, replacing Ralph Priso in the second half, scoring the equaliser a minute before injury time to earn his side a draw, while Ayo Akinola scored his fifth career goal against the Black and Red and leading goalscorer Jesus Jimenez had his second assist of the season.

Alex Bono has spent the bulk of the season collecting the ball out of his goal, with the second-highest goals-against average (1.92) among MLS goalkeepers this season, conceding 25 times.

Bradley will likely be missing numerous players for this upcoming fixture, such as Kadin Chung, Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty, Chris Mavinga, Noble Okello, Alejandro Pozuelo and Jacob Shaffelburg, all of whom are suffering from lower-body injuries.

Chicago are missing a few players themselves through injury, including Spencer Richey (head) and Javier Casas (pelvis), while Rafael Czichos is questionable with a right lower leg issue.

The club signed home-grown goalkeeper Chris Brady to a contract extension last week through until 2026 with an option for 2027, while also inking defender Justin Reynolds to a new deal for the same amount of time.

Hendrickson made two changes from the side that began the match against the New York Red Bulls to his opening 11 against the defending MLS champions, as Boris Sekulic and Gaston Gimenez took the places of Carlos Teran and Jhon Espinoza.

Toronto possible starting lineup:
Bono; Petrasso, Salcedo, O'Neill; Osorio, Bradley; Nelson, Kerr, Priso; Jimenez, Akinola

Chicago Fire possible starting lineup:
Slonina; M. Navarro, Teran, Omsberg, Espinoza; Gimenez, F. Navarro; Herbers, Shaqiri, Mueller; Ivanov


We say: Toronto 2- 1 Chicago Fire

Mistakes have plagued both of these teams so far this season, but Toronto have shown a lot more fight than Chicago over their slump, while they seem to have more chemistry than the Fire, which we believe will be enough to earn them their first victory since April.


For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.


Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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Major League Soccer Table

Eastern Conference

TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls199552920932
2Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia187922213930
3New York City FCNY City1785433191429
4CF MontrealMontreal189273233-129
5New England RevolutionNew England186752928125
6FC CincinnatiCincinnati187472932-325
7Orlando City187472328-525
8Charlotte FCCharlotte FC1972101923-423
9Columbus Crew175752018222
10Inter MiamiInter Miami176471826-822
11Atlanta UnitedAtlanta175572626020
12Toronto1853102434-1018
13DC United165292330-717
14Chicago Fire184591624-817

Western Conference

TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls199552920932
2Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia187922213930
3New York City FCNY City1785433191429
4CF MontrealMontreal189273233-129
5New England RevolutionNew England186752928125
6FC CincinnatiCincinnati187472932-325
7Orlando City187472328-525
8Charlotte FCCharlotte FC1972101923-423
9Columbus Crew175752018222
10Inter MiamiInter Miami176471826-822
11Atlanta UnitedAtlanta175572626020
12Toronto1853102434-1018
13DC United165292330-717
14Chicago Fire184591624-817
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