Major League Soccer

Fire-FC Cincinnati Preview

Frank Klopas has challenged his Chicago Fire FC players to show the type of spirit that earned them a point at New England Revolution when they face FC Cincinnati.

The Fire picked up an unexpected 2-2 draw against the Eastern Conference-leading Revs on Saturday through a late Ignacio Aliseda goal at Gillette Stadium.

Despite that impressive result, Chicago are no longer in the running for an MLS Cup Playoffs berth as they are 13 points off the top seven with just four games to play.

Klopas, placed in temporary charge following last month's sacking of Raphael Wicky, is focusing on the positives ahead of Wednesday's meeting with bottom side Cincinnati.

"I'm extremely proud of the guys. We have to now enjoy this great point on the road and regroup and continue to finish every game with the same mentality and attitude," he said.

"That's all I ask for, and I think that's all the fans and everyone in the city of Chicago wants from this team, just to leave everything on the field."

Cincinnati are themselves under caretaker management with little but pride left to play for, the Orange and Blue finding themselves bottom of the overall MLS standings.

Saturday's 1-0 loss to Orlando City SC was Cincinnati's seventh defeat in a row and Tyrone Marshall's side are now effectively going through the motions.

"The boys are in a really tough situation," said Marshall, who is filling in while the club seek a permanent replacement for Jaap Stam.

"They're going through a coaching change, having a new staff come in and try to implement some ideas to get their minds back to where they need to be in terms of their focus.

"It's a tough task. They're trying everyday, they're coming out on the pitch and putting the work in.

"The message to the boys is consistent: keep improving the energy level and that's what they've been doing. We're not getting the results, but we've got to keep plugging away."

FC Cincinnati - Alvaro Barreal

Scoring goals on a consistent basis continues to be a problem for Cincinnati, particularly in front of their own supporters. They had nine shots against Orlando, finding the target from three of those.

Brenner has a lot of weight on his shoulders, but others such as Barreal - who has three goals in 28 matches this term - need to start contributing if Cincinnati are to move off the foot of the division.

Chicago Fire FC - Ignacio Aliseda

Aliseda scored Chicago's late equaliser against the Revs, ending a 10-game drought with his fourth goal of the MLS season.

The 21-year-old may not be the most prolific of midfielders, but he was also on target when the Fire beat Cincinnati at Soldier Field last season.

- Cincinnati beat the Fire 1-0 in Chicago in June after failing to score in the previous three games (D2 L1). Both teams have failed to find the net in three of the five meetings, including scoreless draws in both encounters in Cincinnati.

- Cincinnati have set a club record with seven consecutive losses. No MLS team has lost more than seven straight games in a single season in over two years, since Colorado lost eight in a row in March-May 2019.

- The Fire ended a four-match away losing streak with a 2-2 draw at league-leading New England. Chicago have avoided defeat in consecutive away matches only once since the start of the 2020 season, drawing at Nashville and Minnesota in October-November 2020.

- Cincinnati's 1-0 loss to Orlando was the seventh time they have failed to score at home this season, the third straight year they have been shut out seven times on their own ground. Cincinnati are the first team in MLS history to be shut out at least seven times at home in three different seasons.

- Aliseda scored an 88th minute goal at New England to earn the Fire a 2-2 draw. It was just the fourth goal Chicago have scored in the final 15 minutes of matches this season, only Austin and Houston (three each) have scored fewer.

Updated October 19, 2021

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