MLS Preview: New York Red Bulls vs Chicago Fire

New York Red Bulls

photo via New York Red Bulls’ Twitter account.

It’s that time of the year again. The 2014 MLS Cup playoffs are looming and teams are making their final surge up their respective tables. Teams scrap for any points they can muster to help them move into cherished playoff position. It’s this same time of the year where a club like the Chicago Fire can go from low table obscurity, to the top of the table with every match being crucial.
With just three wins on the year, the Fire look to claim as many points as possible in their remaining games. It all starts with their clash at home against conference rival, New York Red Bulls. If they are to mount any sort of surge up the table, the Fire will need to claim all three points at home. Seems easy enough, but the Fire have just one home win to their name this season.
As Fire head coach Frank Yallop put it, “I don’t care what league you’re in, that’s not close to being good enough.” Chicago will definitely look to emulate their 5-4 win against New York last time around, with rookie sensation Harry Shipp bagging a hat-trick. The Fire sit just four points back from the final playoff spot.
On the other hand, New York currently sits in fourth place in the Eastern conference, with 28 points and in a playoff position. They travel to Toyota Park in a decent run of form and unbeaten in their last three matches. Chicago must be wary of one of the leagues’ most dangerous attacking duo in Bradley-Wright Phillips and Thierry Henry.  The two strikers accounting for a whopping 23 goals among the two of them.
If there’s one weakness to point out for the visitors, it is their backline. With both academy turned star Matt Miazga and veteran Jamison Olave suspended, coach Mike Petke will be faced with the tough task of replacing them in the starting line up. The Fire will look to take advantage of the toyed backline and mount their resurgence in the East.
The match is set to kick off at 8:00 PM ET at Toyota Park and can be viewed on both MLS Live and Univision Deportes.  

Jason Hannigan is a writer for Stoppage Time Soccer. You can follow him on Twitter @TheMayor128.

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