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A high stakes game in the Big Apple where both sides must win to have a chance of making it to the MLS postseason. All three points might not be enough, especially for home side NYCFC, but we can expect both teams to be giving their all.
Here are the NYCFC vs Chicago Fire predicted lineups.
NYCFC vs Chicago Fire predicted lineups and news
Chicago Fire’s Gastón Gimenez, the Paraguay international, is the only player unavailable through suspension. NYCFC have no new injurie concerns other than the long-term absence of Maxi Moralez.
Chicago Fire must keep things tight at the back, they have been error prone in the box, conceding 11 penalties this season which is more than any other MLS side. The Cityzens need to come out of their shell to take all three points, they rank third for passes within their own half.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) October 20, 2023
The most recent meeting was a 1-1 draw, and prior to that NYCFC won three games to nil. Chicago Fire will have to turn the page on recent history if they are to make the playoffs for the first time since 2017.
Team news: NYCFC
Nick Cushing was bullish in his press conference, knowing that this game really is make-or-break. “Once your in, anything can happen” he said in reference to making the playoffs. That only became a possibility thanks to Robbie Robinson’s last gasp equaliser for Inter Miami in their draw with Charlotte FC.
The young Uruguayan Santiago Rodríguez has been a key player linking from midfield to attack, the 23-year-old has more goal contributions (12) than anybody in the team. He will relish the chance to run at the Chicago backline that is prone to conceding goals.
After Rodríguez it is fellow midfielder Keaton Parks who has played the most regular season minutes, the Texan is going to be important in shadowing Shaqiri.
NYCFC predicted lineup: 4-2-3-1
Freese – Gray, Martins, Risa, O’Toole – Sands, Parks – Jasson, Rodríguez, Magno – Bakrar
Team news: Chicago Fire
Interim coach Frank Klopas said in Wednesday’s press conference he needed players that will “leave everything on the field for you”. Highlighting this as the “most important thing” ahead of this crucial contest.
There is a sense he might lean on experience and some of his hardened veterans, but it is hard to overlook the kids. Both Brian Gutierrez and Chris Brady were recently included in the MLS list for best U-22 players, and they are set to start.
Swiss playmaker Xherdan Shaqiri is back from international duty and will be their key man in the creative department as they need to score. Ahead of him will likely be Kacper Przybylko, the Polish international gets the nod ahead of veteran Kei Kamara.
Chicago Fire predicted lineup: 4-2-3-1
Brady – Dean, Terán, Czichos, M.Navarro – Doumbia, F.Navarro- Herbers, Shaqiri, Gutiérrez- Przybylko
Will Talles Magno play today?
The Brazilian winger has been used in almost every game this season, but often from the bench, averaging 62 minutes per game in the 29 matches he’s appeared in.
The 21-year-old is a tricky customer and difficult to defend against, only the aforementioned Santiago Rodríguez has been fouled more for the Pigeons this season. His direct approach can be effective, he has also hit more shots on target than anybody else at the franchise.
🪄 It's a kind of magic 👑
— New York City Football Club (@NYCFC) September 21, 2023
In such a high stakes game the only doubt might be over his tracking back and defensive discipline. But with the postseason on the line, this would be the time for Cushing to gamble. We think Magno starts and could be the difference in this match up at Citi Field.
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