Things were going well for Columbus Crew SC (6-6-7). Four matches without a loss, coming from behind to get results. It all seemed like things had fallen into place for the team to start making a run over the second half of the season.
Then Saturday night's debacle against the Montreal Impact happened. Crew SC conceded early again, but twice this time, and couldn't dig out of the hole. In the end, it was a 3-0 defeat and the Black & Gold returned to Columbus with their tails between their legs.
Fortunately for Crew SC, there isn't much time to think about the Montreal game. The Chicago Fire (5-9-3) await Wednesday night. And then again Sunday evening.
Two games in four days against the bottom team in Major League Soccer could be a recipe for success, except that the Fire enter this match after the biggest win of the season, defeating the Seattle Sounders 1-0 with a stoppage time winner from Jason Johnson.
Chicago may only have 18 points on the season, but the team has played better of late, despite a 1-3-1 record over the last five games. Aside from the win over Seattle, the Fire are in the quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and have been in nearly every game they've played over the last month.
The Men in Red are still trying to figure themselves out. The team's best attacking player Mike Magee recently returned from an injury, which should help an offense that has scored the second-fewest goals in the league.
Midfielder David Accam and defender Jeff Larentowicz lead the team with four goals a piece, but Larentowicz is currently out with an injury and there's no timetable for his return. Young midfielder Harry Shipp is the team leader in assists and has also contributed two goals on the year.
Here is everything you need to know heading into the match, followed by our Twitter feed, projected lineups and how to watch this game. As always, write us in the comment section below to let us know what you think of this match and come back to chat during the match.
- Chicago leads the all-time series 24-14-15, with 14 of those wins coming at home.
- The Fire have five wins and four losses at Toyota Park this year, but are yet to draw a match at home. Crew SC is yet to win on the road this year, but has managed to take a point out of away matches three times.
- Magee's start against the Sounders was the first in nearly a year for the 2013 MLS MVP.
- Chicago has the sixth most shots in the league with 250, but are tied for 17th in goals scored. Needless to say, finishing has been a problem for the Men in Red.
- Thirteen of the 23-man roster for the MLS All-Star Game was announced on Monday night. Neither of these teams had a player selected in the initial announcement.
If you aren't on Twitter, it is a great place to follow along during a match to get updates and insight. If you don't feel like signing up, we've got you covered.
How to Watch
Date/Time: Wednesday July 15, 8:30 p,m. ET
Venue: Toyota Park (Bridgeview, IL)
Watch: TWC SportsChannel (English), Univision Deportes
Listen: CD102.5 FM (English) La Mega 103.1 FM (Spanish)