FC Cincinnati vs. Chicago Fire Pick & Prediction MAR 18th 2023

Stadium: Soldier Field Chicago
Logo FC Cincinnati
Logo Chicago Fire

2.5o -137



FC Cincinnati looks to extend its season-opening unbeaten streak to four games Saturday night when they visit the Chicago Fire at Soldier Field.

Cincinnati is 2-0-1 to start the 2023 campaign and brings a two-game shutout streak to the Windy City. The Orange and Blue notched a satisfying 1-0 victory over the Seattle Sounders last week and have allowed just one goal through three games.

"We need to understand that it's a good result for us and good teams respond in a strong way, whether you have good results or poor results," Cincinnati coach Pat Noonan said. "I'm looking forward to a strong performance from our group on the weekend."

Cincinnati is 8-2-3 in its past 23 regular-season games, dating back to June 2022. One of those losses was to the Fire, dropping a 3-2 decision on Oct. 1, 2022.

They'll be without defender Nick Hagglund, who will serve a one-game suspension following a red card shown in the 83rd minute against Seattle. Although Seattle took a dozen shots in the game, keeper Roman Celentano needed to make just one save against the Sounders.

Chicago enters the contest still dealing with the offensive struggles that plagued the Fire throughout 2022. After having the league's opening week off, the Fire have scored only once in their first two matches, playing to a 1-1 draw against New York City FC on March 4 before being held off the scoresheet in a 1-0 setback by the Philadelphia Union last week.

Even though Chicago was playing with 10 men for almost the entire second half in the game at Philadelphia (Fabian Herbers drew a red card after a second caution in the 50th minute), the Fire defense held up until the 90th minute.

Joaquin Torres scored for Philadelphia, and making matters worse, Kei Kamara also drew a red card for the Fire -- so both Kamara and Herbers will be unavailable Saturday night.

"It's a devastating feeling just not to come out of (the game) with at least a point," forward Kacper Przybylko said after the match. "We did such a great job in the first half, especially with the new formation. It's just tough. But I think we just need to keep our heads up and just look forward to the next game."

The Fire could also be without midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri, who is listed as questionable with an upper right leg injury. Shaqiri had seven goals last season, second on the club behind the since-departed Jhon Duran.

--Field Level Media

FC Cincinnati vs. Chicago Fire Recap MAR 18TH 2023

FC Cincinnati scored twice in three minutes late in the second half to earn a 3-3 draw against the host Chicago Fire on Saturday.

With the draw, Cincinnati extended its season-opening point streak to four games.

Chicago, which led 3-1, remains winless through three games to start the season.

The Fire controlled play early, finding time in the attacking third while Cincinnati struggled to get the ball past midfield through the first six minutes.

But it was the visitors who ultimately struck first in the eighth minute.

Marco Angulo sent the ball toward the box for Brandon Vazquez cutting through to the left side. Vazquez beat Carlos Teran to the ball and sent a cross to Junior Moreno streaking into the top of the box, for a shot that deflected off Chicago defender Miguel Navarro into the net for the 1-0 lead.

Vazquez nearly doubled the lead for Cincinnati in the 19th minute off a Fire turnover but hit the right post. It was the start of a stretch of sustained possession for Cincinnati, resulting in three free kicks over a span of six minutes, but the visitors couldn't convert.

Kacper Przybylko brought the Fire level in the 32nd minute, scoring on an angled shot from the left side of the top of the box into the far side corner.

Chicago took a 2-1 lead in the 45th minute when captain Rafael Czichos connected on a penalty from the spot after Chris Mueller was taken down by Yerson Mosquera in the box.

Mueller struck in the 46th minute to extend it to 3-1, taking a cross from Arnaud Souquet and firing from just above the spot into the top of the net.

Moreno appeared to cut it to 3-2 with his second of the match in the 50th minute but the goal was overturned after video review showed Brenner was offside.

Sergio Santos scored from above the goal area into the bottom right corner to pull Cincinnati within 3-2 in the 84th minute. Moreno tied it 3-3 in the 87th minute when he banked a shot off the right post into the net.

--Field Level Media
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