With Chicago Fire coming off a win in Miami, the Black-and-Red have work to do to flip the script on two losses to the team last season.
Wayne Rooney and his coaching staff have been building something very special in the District, but as with all great things, need time to shape the team into a new style and mentality of play. Disappointing losses and draws so far this season, even when D.C. has clearly been the better team on the pitch, could impact morale if not countered. A win in Chicago could be just what the doctor ordered to inject more confidence.
We’re hoping three available DPs will give D.C. United sharper teeth against the Fire, despite a thin roster. Expect to see a 4-4-2 or 4-4-3 from Rooney tonight and the familiar building out of the back. The Black-and-Red will have to be tenacious on the attack to overcome Chicago’s strong defense.
Check out everything Wayne Rooney had to say:
Ezra Hendrickson will want to make a statement at home against D.C., so we can expect to see him look to transitions to take advantage of the Black-and-Red. Hendrickson is known for shoring up the backline, and tonight it will be even more critical against Benteke, Fountas, and Klich. The expected XI for the Fire are Chris Brady, Miguel Ángel Navarro, Rafa Czichos, Carlos Terán, Arnaud Souquet, Mauricio Pineda, Gastón Giménez, Chris Mueller, Brian Gutiérrez, Maren Haile-Selassie, and Kei Kamara.
We’re going to be watching assistant coach Fred Brillant on repeat to get pumped for this evening. Join us!
Key Player: Christian Benteke
Christian Benteke has been an absolute danger man for D.C. United, finding opportunities in the box at every turn and putting away three goals so far this season. With the return of Taxi Fountas the Black-and-Red will look to add to the danger with hopefully DPs on the field – Benteke, Fountas, and Klich.
Watch Out For: Kei Kamara and Brian Gutiérrez
The veteran Kamara secured Chicago’s first win of the season in stoppage time. The Black-and-Red will want to watch out for this difference-maker and not get complacent with a lead. Gutiérrez has slotted into the #10 with Shaqiri’s absence and is making a name for himself in the Windy City.
Challenges: The Black-and-Red have a thin roster due to illness and injury and seek to build some confidence on the road. Three points at Soldier Field would go a long way toward boosting D.C.’s morale and standing.
Previously: Last season, Chicago won home and away against the Black-and-Red. D.C. United will need to flip the script to move up the Eastern Conference table.
Chicago Fire Availability:
Out: Jairo Torres (right upper leg), Victor Bezerra (left upper leg), Federico Navarro (left upper leg)
Questionable: Xherdan Shaqiri (right upper leg)
D.C. United Availability:
Out: Brendan Hines-Ike (foot), Martin Rodriguez (knee), Andy Najar (thigh), Matai Akinmboni (head), Mohanad Jeahze (thigh)
Questionable: Pedro Santos (knee), Nigel Robertha (illness)
Location: Soldier Field, Chicago, IL
Kickoff time: 8:30 pm ET
Referee: Pierre-Luc Lauziere
Available streaming: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV