Fire-Orlando City Preview

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Chicago Fire head coach Raphael Wicky implored his side to quickly move on after conceding late against Inter Miami as they prepare to face Orlando City.

Chicago sit seven points back from the playoff positions in the Eastern Conference, narrowly losing 3-2 to a last-minute Rodolfo Pizarro winner away at Miami last time out.

The Fire are one of two MLS sides to have not won away from home all season. With the next five fixtures on the road, something must change for the visitors.

“We have to learn from that (conceding late against Miami), otherwise things repeat,” Wicky explained post-match.

“We have to move on and prepare again. It will be a tough game, like every game in this league. We have to be smart and learn how to play away from home.

“If we do things right and better, we know we will get points. It is not our mentality to put our heads down and give up.

A 1-1 draw with Nashville SC extended Orlando’s unbeaten run to four games and they remain in the battle for second place.

Head coach Oscar Pareja insisted his team are constantly improving and can carry momentum from the comeback draw to learn ahead of the visit by the Fire.

“The most important thing is we have the initiative to go out up front and want that equalizer,” Pareja explained post-Nashville.

“The team positioning was better and smarter, being close to their back and when [Nashville] wanted to come out of the pressure, they couldn’t – that was the best part and the highlight for us.”

The Lions next three games are on home turf, providing them with the perfect opportunity to gain ground on fellow competitors Nashville, Philadelphia Union and New York City FC.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Orlando City – Mauricio Pereyra

Mauricio Pereyra provided his team-leading eighth assists of the term against Nashville in his 16th appearance – no other team-mate has recorded more than six.

Chicago Fire – Luka Stojanovic

Luka Stojanovic scored one and assisted another despite the late loss in Miami. The forward has been directly involved in all the Fire’s last five strikes (four goals, one assist).

KEY OPTA FACTS

– The Fire have won five of its last seven matches against Orlando City (D1 L1) after going winless in the first six (D4 L2). Orlando City’s lone win in that time was its first home win over the Fire, a 4-1 victory in September 2020.

– Orlando City has lost only one of its nine home matches this season (W5 D3). Since its 5-2 defeat to Chicago to end the 2019 season, the Lions have lost just three of 21 home matches (W11 D7, including playoffs).

– The Fire’s 3-2 loss at Inter Miami on Wednesday extended its road winless run to 18 games (D6 L12). Chicago’s last away win came at Orlando City, a 5-2 victory in October 2019.

– Six of Orlando City’s last seven goals, including Antonio Carlos’s equalizer against Nashville on Wednesday, have been headers. Orlando has scored nine headed goals this season, tied with New England for most in MLS in 2021.

– Luka Stojanovic scored a goal and assisted a goal in Chicago’s 3-2 loss to Inter Miami on Wednesday. Stojanovic has been directly involved in the Fire’s last five goals (4 goals, 1 assist).

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