Things have been better at home lately for the Chicago Fire, but playing on the road remains a different story.
The Fire have won three straight at home, including the U.S. Open Cup win against Columbus, and are unbeaten at Toyota Park in seven matches across all competitions. However, that road winless streak just won't go away.
The Fire (4-8-5, 17 points) head to Frisco, Tex., to take on FC Dallas (11-6-4, 37 points) on Saturday. The match will be televised on CSN+ with coverage beginning at 7:30 p.m. with Fire Pregame Live and kickoff coming just shortly after 8 p.m.
Dallas currently leads the Supporters' Shield race and is 7-0-3 at home this season. The Fire haven't won a road game in more than two years and have lost six straight road matches. Only in a parity-filled league like Major League Soccer, is it even plausible to think the Fire can pull off the upset. Even still, it remains a longshot.
It's worth mentioning that Dallas is coming off a bizarre 5-0 loss at Seattle on Wednesday. It was the second time Dallas had lost a 5-0 game (the other was in Houston in March). However, the lopsided score was fueled by an early red card for Dallas. Defender Maynor Figueroa was called for an intentional handball in the box, which resulted in a red card and a penalty kick less than 10 minutes into the match. The onslaught continued, even after Sounders' forward Clint Dempsey was sent off later in the first half.
“Regardless of the result, Dallas is a good team," goalkeeper Sean Johnson said after the Fire's 1-0 win against Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday. "They showed they're one of the best in the league, game in, game out. Every team has a one-off so you can’t look at the result and think you can go in relaxed and complacent. It’s the last thing you can do with a team like Dallas, especially at home. We’ll take our time, do regen and prepare for the weekend and come out and look to go down there and get a result again. I think we’ve got some decent momentum going now. We’ve got to look to keep building and keep moving up the table.”
Figueroa will serve his suspension against the Fire and fellow defender Zach Loyd is out with a concussion. Rookie Joey Calistri is the only Fire player listed on the injury report. He is listed as questionable due to an ankle sprain.
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Dallas did not start key attacking players in Mauro Diaz (2 goals, 9 assists), Fabian Castillo (5 goals, 3 assists) and Maxi Urruti (4 goals, 3 assists) in Seattle. All this adds up to Dallas looking to get back on track while coming home with its best players rested, which could add to how tough of a game this appears to be for the Fire.
"I think we are performing well," Fire coach Veljko Paunovic said. "We are winning games. Keep that and now focus, recover and focused on the next game.”
Fire at FC Dallas
When: 8 p.m. Saturday (coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. with Fire Pregame Live)
Where: Toyota Stadium, Frisco, Tex.