After losing their first game against New York City FC 4-3 at home, the Chicago Fire rebounded somewhat by getting back-to-back draws against Orlando City and the Columbus Crew respectively. For a Fire team that finished last in the MLS standings last year, they know points are at a premium and they will take any points they can get at this moment.
Philadelphia Union Flying High
But they will be facing a stiff opponent in the Philadelphia Union, who have won their last two games before the international break. The Union beat two powerhouse clubs in Columbus and the New England Revolution. The win against Columbus was mightily impressive considering it was MAPFRE Stadium, a place where the Crew don't usually lose. After a very tough 2015 season, Philadelphia has started out in flying form and is looking like the feel good story of the MLS season so far.
The back-to-back wins puts Philadelphia in 2nd place in the East table with six points and are only behind the Montreal Impact on goal difference. Meanwhile Chicago sits in eighth with two points on the season.
New Look Chicago Still Trying to Figure Itself Out
This will likely be the third week of Chicago playing a 3-5-2 hybrid formation. Chicago started off in that formation against Orlando, but had to switch back after a red card. They played that formation the whole time against Columbus and held the Crew to a 0-0 draw.
One thing to watch for Chicago will be the play of the attack. After scoring three goals in their opener, Chicago has failed to score any goals in the next two games. In fact, they only had one shot on goal against Columbus which was a shot by Gilberto in the second half. With star winger David Accam likely out with a leg injury, Chicago will once again have to rely on the likes of Kennedy Igboananike and Gilberto. Matt Polster will be back from his time with the U-23 team and will likely be in the heart of the midfield again.
Matt Lampson, who had a good game against Columbus, will likely get the start again as Sean Johnson is still out.
But if there is a positive to take away so far, it's that the defense hasn't allowed any goals either. Behind Johan Kappelhof leading the backline, Chicago has done a good job on defense. They kept goal threat Kei Kamara quiet against Columbus and will look to do the same against C.J. Sapong, who is the main man for Philadelphia.
This will be another tough test for the Fire as Philadelphia is coming into this game in top form. Sapong will look to take advantage of a Fire backline that is improving, but still has a long way to go. Look for him to have a couple of chances against Chicago. A draw seems like a realistic target for Chicago in this game. The Fire are still a work in progress.