FC Cincinnati will be “on alert” when they play Fire originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
FC Cincinnati head coach Pat Noonan has urged his players to be “really vigilant” at Soldier Field on Saturday as it’s difficult to know what to expect Chicago Fire F.C.
The Fire started the season on a strong note, drawing 1-1 with New York City FC before losing at the Philadelphia Union in the last minute after two players were sent off.
The only team to have played three games in the Eastern Conference so far, the Fire are languishing at the bottom of the division and Noonan expects them to be fully motivated.
“It’s a challenge because they already had a bye so you only have two games to watch,” said Noonan. “But on top of that, they had two red cards in the last game, on top of some injuries early on. There’s just a lot of uncertainty, plus they’re playing in two different formations.”
“We just have to be very vigilant early on because in a lot of ways we’re not sure what the starting group is going to be like or what the formation is going to be like.”
Cincinnati has seven points from their first three games, beating Houston Dynamo and Seattle Sounders and drawing 0-0 at Orlando City.
Chicago therefore faces a tall order to hit the bull’s eye this weekend, with injuries and suspensions making the challenge even tougher.
“We don’t like that and would rather go flat out,” said head coach Ezra Hendrickson. “These are very important games coming up.
“Playing against New York and Philadelphia really set the stage as we played against the top teams. It’s going to be a tough test next, but we’re at home and we’re expected to win those games.”
PLAYER TO SEE
– Cincinnati were unable to find the net in their last away game and Chicago will try to make life as difficult as possible for their opponent in the last third.
Central defender Czichos led against Philadelphia with three tackles and maintained his track record of perfect tackles this season with a perfect five from five.
Brazilian forward Brenner scored the winner against Seattle last time out, making it his 24th regular season goal for Cincinnati. That puts him alongside Brandon Vazquez in the club’s all-time scorers’ chart for non-penalty goals, a record he could break this weekend.
MATCH PREDICTION – UNDEVELOPMENT
– Cincinnati sits top of the early Eastern Conference table with Atlanta United and Nashville SC and has lost just one of their last 23 regular-season games.
– Chicago got off to a slower start, unhelped by poor discipline, and have won just one of their last seven league games at Soldier Field.
– The Fire held NYCFC recently and this has been an even game since Cincinnati joined the league, with the teams sharing three wins and two draws. That points to another close game.
OPTA WIN PROBABILITY
Chicago – 49.8 percent
Cincinnati – 23.4 percent
Tie – 26.8 percent
Source : sports.yahoo.com