New York Red Bulls vs Chicago Fire: Preview and Prediction

New York Red Bulls will look to maintain their solid MLS form when they take on Chicago Fire at Red Bull Arena on Sunday.

New York Red Bulls lead the way in the Eastern Conference with 14 points after seven rounds, while Chicago Fire are down in tenth, behind ninth-placed Charlotte FC in the final playoff series berth.

The hosts clinched a 2-1 victory over FC Cincinnati to climb their way to the summit in the East, propelled by goals from Frankie Amaya and Dante Vanzeir. Despite conceding an early goal in the third minute of the match, the Red Bulls swiftly rallied and pulled even in the 19th minute when Frankie Amaya took a pass from Dante Vanzeir outside the box and rifled a right-footed shot to the bottom right corner for his first goal this season.

Vanzeir gave the Red Bulls the lead when he scored from an assist from Swedish newcomer Emil Forsberg in the 60th minute. After finishing last term in the bottom three in the Eastern Conference and losing their final two matches of the season, the Chicago Fire have made another poor start to an MLS regular season.

The Fire are yet to win an away game this season following a 3-0 defeat to Atlanta United a fortnight ago. But they did record their second home win of the 2024 league campaign last weekend, beating the Houston Dynamo 2-1, with Brian Gutierrez and Xherdan Shaqiri among the goal-scorers for the Fire.

Team News & Tactics

New York Red Bulls

Jamaican midfielder Cory Burke picked up a groin injury after coming off the bench in the side’s only loss of the season against the Columbus Crew and remains ruled out until the start of May. Red Bulls captain Emil Forsberg marked his return from a hamstring strain with a fine assist for Dante Vanzeir’s match-winner last time out.

Forsberg has been one of the marquee signings of the MLS off-season and has hit the ground running so far with New York Red Bulls. He can pass, serve crosses, and strike the ball with the utmost precision.

The hosts will likely line up in a 4-4-2 shape and will be happy to press the crew high up the field and play direct balls in behind for their frontline to chase down. Midfielders Frankie Amaya and captain Peter Stroud will look to control the middle of the pitch in this match.

Both forwards, Lewis Morgan and Vanzeir, have acquitted themselves nicely so far this season. Morgan continues to bury good scoring chances, while Vanzeir showed his quality in the last match with a goal and an assist.

Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Carlos; Dylan Nealis, Reyes, Sean Nealis, Duncan; Carmona, Amaya, Stroud, Forsberg; Morgan, Vanzeir

Chicago Fire

Defenders Chase Gasper (upper leg) and Andrew Gutman (upper leg) remain on the sidelines. But Carlos Teran is back available after serving his one-match suspension for the late red card he received in the loss to Atlanta United.

Chicago Fire head coach Frank Klopas made four changes to his lineup from Matchday 7’s defeat against Atlanta United for the Houston Dynamo and is unlikely to tinker much with the winning formula here.

Defender Arnaud Souquet and midfielder Chris Mueller earned their first starts of the season, while captain Xherdan Shaqiri also returned to the starting lineup. Defender Tobias Salquist also returned to the XI to earn his fourth start of the season.

Midfielders Kellyn Acosta and Fabian Herbers continued their partnership in the middle of the park, and the same will be the case here. Striker Brian Gutierrez netted his third goal of the season in the 78th minute on the finish of Shaqiri’s service to pull the Fire to a 2-1 victory over the Dynamo last Saturday.

Shaqiri also scored the opening goal from the penalty spot for Chicago Fire, and the duo will be heavily relied upon to provide the attacking impetus this weekend as well.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Brady; Souquet, Salquist, Czichos, Arigoni; Acosta, Gimenez; Haile-Selassie, Herbers, Mueller; Vuypers

Key Stats

  • New York Red Bulls have scored two or more goals in four of their seven matches this season.
  • Chicago Fire have failed to win any of their last 5 away matches.
  • Both New York Red Bulls and Chicago Fire have been decent offensively this season, ranked 7th and 11th in the league with 11 goals, respectively, and an average of 1.5 goals per 90.
  • The Fire are joint-second in terms of goals conceded, allowing 2.2 goals per match and letting in eight in the last four games alone.

Player to Watch

Dante Vanzeir

Embed from Getty Images

After a fairly quiet, injury-riddled debut season in the MLS, New York Red Bulls winger Dante Vanzeir has well-and-truly caught fire in recent weeks, with his playmaking going up a notch. He clinched his sixth assist of the season last time out, setting up Frankie Amaya for the equaliser brilliantly and asserting his lead in Major League Soccer assist charts.

He then sealed the victory with a goal midway through the second half, using his right foot to bury a shot in the bottom right corner from the centre of the box. It was his first strike of the season, and he will be looking to double that tally here.


New York Red Bulls 3-2 Chicago Fire

Both sides are coming into this match following fairly impressive performances last weekend and will be looking to build on that this Sunday. There is very little to separate these two on paper. But Chicago Fire’s defence has left a lot to be desired for this season, and we feel New York Red Bulls will be able to cash in on the home advantage with a thrilling 3-2 victory here.

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