The Chicago Fire were originally supposed to be in Group A with their Eastern Conference foes, but the withdrawal of FC Dallas and Nashville SC threw the MLS is Back Tournament groups into chaos. As a result, Chicago is now in a Western Conference group, replacing Dallas, and their first game is set for Tuesday against the defending MLS Cup champion Seattle Sounders.
Being in opposite conferences, the Sounders and Fire play just one time a year in the regular season, and they already had that contest this season as Seattle won 2-1 at home on March 1. It was Seattle’s second straight win over Chicago, with the teams battling to a draw in 2018.
Chicago Fire Outlook: Rebuilding
Chicago was scheduled to face Nashville last week before the game was postponed due to positive Nashville tests. Tuesday’s kickoff will be their first game since a 1-1 draw at New England on March 7.
Jonathan Bornstein scored the goal for the Fire. Robert Beric had their goal against Seattle six days earlier, while Djordje Mihailovic assisted both goals.
The break has given coach Raphael Wicky more time to integrate new signees like Beric, Alvaro Medran and Mauricio Pineda into the system. C.J. Sapong led last year’s team with 13 goals while Nemanja Nikolic has returned to Hungary after scoring 12 goals in 2019. Kenneth Kronholm is back in goal after securing five clean sheets in 20 starts last year.
Seattle Sounders Outlook: Stay on Top
Seattle had a rough start to the tournament on Friday, with just 39% of the possession in a 0-0 draw against San Jose. The Sounders put six shots on goal, three by Cristian Roldan and two by Raul Ruidiaz, while goalie Stefan Frei made eight saves to make sure Seattle got one point.
Seattle began the tournament as one of the overall favorites and as the group favorite, just ahead of San Jose.
Jordan Morris scored both goals in the 2-1 win over Chicago in March with the game-winner coming in added time. In the second game of the season, Ruidiaz scored a penalty kick in the 79th minute to earn a 1-1 draw with Columbus.
Last year’s MLS champions have a few new players this season, including Brazilian midfielder Joao Paulo as a designated player and 6-2 defender Yeimar Gomez Andrade.
Chicago Fire/Seattle Sounders Betting Lines
- Seattle +131 to win
- Chicago Fire +192 to win
- Draw +239
- Over/Under 2.5 goals (O -125, U -103)
Seattle surprising got off to a slow start in this tournament as they were held goalless for the first time in nine games dating back to September of 2019.
The Fire couldn’t keep Morris in check in March and will be hard-pressed to do so Tuesday without having any game action to get ready. Chicago will need everything to go right to pull off an upset, while Seattle can reassert itself as the group favorite with a win.
4FLUSH FREE PICK: Seattle to win (+131)
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