In one sense it shows how far the Chicago Fire have come that the players and coaches are looking at a draw on the road against a team in a playoff spot as a disappointment.
That’s how the Fire are looking at the 0-0 draw at Orlando on June 4. Granted, the context of the Lions being down a man for over an hour and finishing with only nine players explains the disappointment.
Still, the Fire are hoping to correct that result when Orlando comes to Toyota Park on Saturday. Coverage begins on CSN at 7 p.m. with Fire Pregame Live.
“It was just a good opportunity for us to get three points in that game,” coach Veljko Paunovic said. “We feel like they actually took something from us so I think the guys are aware of that, that we have another opportunity to win (against) our opponent from the conference and a very good team. We have to be at our best. This game is very important.”
The Fire (9-3-4, 31 points) enter with an eight-game unbeaten run in MLS play. Orlando (7-5-5, 26 points) has one win in its past 10 games and has drawn three straight.
The Lions head to Toyota Park without Cyle Larin. The third-year pro has 39 goals in his career and had eight in 15 games before getting suspended following a DUI arrest. The absence of its leading scorer is obviously a big loss for Orlando.
“Obviously they’re going through a little bit of a difficult stretch right now in terms of just off the field stuff and in terms of how the results on the field aren’t great,” midfielder Dax McCarty said. “We know they’re a good team though. They’re a dangerous team. They won plenty of games already this year and they have a lot of dangerous players.”
Goalkeeper Jorge Bava is out with what is being called left elbow tendinitis, but David Accam figures to be returning. Accam sat out both the U.S. Open Cup game at Saint Louis FC and the game last Saturday at New England. Both of those games were on turf, but Paunovic said his absence was not related to the turf.
“He didn’t recover from the physical issues that he had in the previous game and we always want to be smart with how we manage the minutes and the load for the guys,” Paunovic said of Accam.
Accam was in training this week.
Chicago Fire vs. Orlando City
TV: CSN Chicago (Spanish language broadcast with Hector Lozano and Raquel Ortiz on CSN+)
When: Coverage starts at 7 p.m. with Fire Pregame Live
Where: Toyota Park, Bridgeview, Ill.
Records: Fire (9-3-4, 31 points), Orlando (7-5-5, 26 points)