Chicago Fire are without a couple of key players because of international commitments. Both McCarty and Accam are unavailable, with Juninho and Alvarez pressing for recalls to the team. Defensively, the hosts are likely to have Joao Meira and Kappelhof in the centre of defence. Nikolic will lead the attack, the striker currently leads the goalscoring charts in the MLS and is full of confidence. The hosts have surprised many this season, sitting second in the Eastern Conference and playing a style of football which has been easy on the eye. After struggling at the foot of the table for a number of seasons, Chicago Fire have raised expectations and the supporters are fully behind the team. Currently unbeaten in 9 league games, the hosts are yet to lose at Toyota Park this season. A 4-2-3-1 formation is expected from Chicago, the hosts are full of confidence at the moment and will look to dominate the ball from the start. The hosts will remain patient if they fail to get an early goal, their strong home form is a major source of confidence and ensures they will believe a late win is possible. The hosts have conceded just 2 goals in their last 7 home matches.
Vancouver Whitecaps are without a long list of players, with Davies and Teibert now away on international duty. Out of the long list of injured players, Reyna is the most likely to return and could come off the bench in the late stages to make MLS debut. With Waston injured, the visitors are expected to continue with Jacobson in a deeper role alongside Parker. Shea could partner Montero in attack. The visitors are unbeaten in their last 3 league games, however, the previous league result felt like a defeat after letting slip a 2-0 lead. Vancouver are aware of the task facing them, with their opponents unbeaten at home this season. The players are motivated to become the first side to take all 3 points from Toyota Park in 2017, a win would be a major statement of intent and raise confidence. Vancouver changed formation in the last match to 4-4-2, with Shea playing more advanced alongside Montero. The visitors are expected to have less of the ball, with their opponents strong in midfield. Vancouver will sit deep without the ball, attempting to frustrate the opposition and play on the counter-attack. A draw would be viewed as an excellent result, expect few risks to be taken.
Verdict & Prediction
Chicago Fire are full of confidence at the moment, currently on a 9 game unbeaten run in the league. In previous seasons Chicago Fire have struggled but this year the off-season signings have made a great impact. Team spirit is superb at the moment, with the players determined to maintain form. The hosts have a big advantage playing at Toyota Park, 9 games have been played at this venue this season and Chicago are yet to lose. The supporters are fully behind the team and excited about the style of play favoured by coach Paunovic. The players will be motivated to avoid a first home defeat. A win for Chicago is realistic despite the absence of some key players. Chicago have proven this season that they have good depth, with coach Paunovic trusting his full squad. The hosts have the chance to go top of the Eastern Conference if results go their way, this is a big incentive.
Prediction: Chicago Fire to win
Odds: 1.61 Pinnacle