Both were beaten this past weekend, but in different manners. New Amsterdam lost a tight one, going down 1-0 on the road to Chattanooga FC. Chicago, meanwhile, were defeated at home by Maryland Bobcats FC in a shootout, with the final score being 5-2 for the visitors.
As a result, each team will look to bounce back this time around. With only three points separating the two in the standings, there’s certainly something to play for.
New Amsterdam FC: Munoz, Azrak, Waugh, Kalley, Yoseke, Mikaheel, Batiz, Gilbey, Bosua, Malango, John-Brown
Chicago House AC: Novotny, Requejo, Sulia, Ribeiro, Bowie, Conner, Acosta, Kidd, Bartman, Cerro, Wójcik
Ones to watch
Malango was the star of the show in the reverse fixture, scoring two crucial goals while leading his team to victory in the process. Both were incredibly well taken, and they came in similar fashion.
For the first, he dispossessed one Chicago player before getting past another and burying a low shot into the bottom corner. The second was even nicer, as the forward turned around with a nifty move to create an angle before rifling the ball past the goalkeeper and in. The two strikes also came at important times, with the first being the opener, and the second putting the contest to bed.
Since then, however, Malango has been a bit quiet. He’s only scored two more goals on the campaign, and those came at the start of this month. It’s not been enough considering how talented he is, but he’s got the chance to change things against opposition he’s haunted in the past.
Can the New Amsterdam danger man put on another attacking masterclass versus the House, or will the previous meeting just prove to be an anomaly?
The striker on the opposite side of the pitch could be Wojciech Wójcik.
Wójcik ended his brief goalless drought this past weekend, converting from the penalty spot midway through the second half. It wasn’t enough for his side at the end of the night, but it was nice to see him get back onto the scoresheet at least.
Chicago’s number 9 kind of needed that goal, as he had recently been dropped from the starting lineup. That goes to show how disappointing his season has been, especially after a blistering start that saw him score in both of the team’s opening two games. He had grabbed only one other goal since then, but now, there’s reason to believe that a turnaround could be on the horizon.
That might start on Saturday. There will be some pressure on Wójcik, as he’ll need to prove that he’s the right man to lead the line for the present day and the future. If he can find the back of the net against New Amsterdam, though, then some of those doubts and concerns will be put to the side for the time being.
Last time out
It was a historic occasion the last time these two sides faced off, as it was the first home game in Chicago House history.
Their party was spoiled by the opposition, though. New Amsterdam ran riot on the night, ultimately winning 4-0.
The hosts started the contest on the front foot, but they would still go down early after Mayele Malango won the ball high up the pitch, dribbled by a defender, and picked out the bottom corner with a superb finish. The away side doubled their advantage right before the break through Jesus Batiz, who got on the end of a low cross to convert from close range.
Chicago tried to get back into the game, but a second goal from Malango past the hour mark sealed the result for New Amsterdam, who then went on to grab a fourth thanks to Chris Bermudez.
All in all, it was a dream night for the visitors, and a nightmarish one for the House.
How to watch
The match kicks off at 7:00 p.m. EDT, and it will air live on Eleven Sports, nisasoccer.com, and chicagohouseac.com.