Sporting Kansas City-Fire Preview
With Mike Magee leading a potent attack, the Chicago Fire have
overcome a slow start with their best stretch in four years.
The Fire will attempt to stretch their unbeaten streak across
all competitions to 10 Sunday when they take on a Sporting Kansas
City team that they’ve played well against at home.
Since opening the season with two wins in its first 10 matches,
Chicago (6-7-3) has been a much different club with a 7-0-2 record
in its last nine all competitions.
It the franchise’s longest undefeated streak since an 11-game
run to start the 2009 campaign.
“We kind of feel like we’re playing like we should,” midfielder
Dilly Duka, who has scored in his last two league games, told the
league’s official website. “Chemistry builds every day in training,
how positive we are in the locker room. We’ve got so many guys that
are coming off the bench that are so positive … Right now,
we’re in a good place.”
Magee has certainly put the club in a good place offensively
since being acquired from Los Angeles for the rights to Robbie
Rogers. The midfielder became the first player in Fire history to
score in each of his first seven matches with the club, including
three U.S. Open Cup contests.
While Magee’s scoring streak ended in a 3-2 win over San Jose on
Wednesday, he assisted on Chris Rolfe’s go-ahead goal in the 84th
minute in a season-best third straight league victory. It was
Rolfe’s third goal in his last two matches in all competitions.
Chicago, tied for sixth in the Eastern Conference with 21
points, has 21 goals during its unbeaten run after scoring six in
its first 10 matches.
The Fire look to win their third straight at Toyota Park against
Sporting KC (7-5-6) and improve to 16-4-2 all-time at home in this
series. The clubs also played to scoreless draw in Kansas City on
Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson had three saves in that meeting,
but he is with the U.S. national team for the Gold Cup. Paolo
Tornaghi will make his third MLS start after earning the win
against the Earthquakes. He’s allowed six goals in two league
Although Sporting KC’s Jimmy Nielsen has recorded two straight
shutouts against the Fire, he’s given up seven scores in his last
four MLS matches overall.
“I think we just need to continue what we’re doing,” Nielsen
said. “We put in a great effort (on Wednesday).”
Kansas City, tied for third in the East with 27 points, is
unbeaten in its last three matches but has only three wins in its
last 11 league games following a 4-1-2 start. Sporting KC, though,
has taken points in six of its last seven road matches by going
2-1-3 in that span.
Forward Claudio Bieler is one of the league’s top scorers with
eight goals, while second-leading scorer Kei Kamara has four goals
in his last five matches.
Aurelien Collin provided the team’s lone tally – his third this
season – in a 1-all draw with Vancouver on Wednesday.