Whitecaps FC-Fire Preview
While the Chicago Fire have showed some promising form over the last two weeks, the Vancouver Whitecaps are amid the worst start in franchise history.
The Fire aim to record at least a point in their third straight match while trying to keep the visiting Whitecaps winless Friday night in suburban Chicago.
Though four points in back-to-back games might not seem like a big deal, it should be for Chicago (1-2-2), which managed one through its first three contests. But following a 1-0 home win over the Red Bulls on March 30, the Fire showed plenty of spirit and confidence while drawing undefeated Toronto FC 2-2 on the road Saturday.
C.J. Sapong scored his third goal of the season in first-half stoppage time and Nemanja Nikolic put Chicago up 2-1 in the 62nd minute. Though the hosts managed to equalize on 76 minutes, the Fire still feel good about their recent form.
"I think the team has shown some real grit the last couple of games, and hopefully we keep building off of that," Sapong, who scored 16 goals for Philadelphia in 2017, told MLS.com.
"Basically, we can play with anybody. We've known that from the jump. ... When we go out there and play like men and do it together, I think we can really accomplish some great things. Moving forward, I think we've set the standard, and it's up to us to keep raising the bar every game."
Though Chicago has just two wins in nine league matches versus Vancouver, it should feel good about the opportunity to increase that total Friday.
The Whitecaps (0-4-1) are tied for the fewest points in MLS and have managed just four goals on the young season. They've also been blanked in each of their last two contests. The club was last shut out in three consecutive matches during April 2016.
While Vancouver at least earned its lone point in a scoreless draw with Seattle on March 30, it will look to bounce back from a 2-0 home defeat to the Galaxy from last week. The Whitecaps hung with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Co. for a little more than an hour before the visitors broke through in the 63rd minute.
Since joining MLS in 2011, Vancouver has never gone this deep into a season without a win.
"It's time to react and go for a victory," versatile veteran Fredy Montero, who has scored one of the team's four goals this season, told the Whitecaps' official website. "The season is long. ... We need to believe in the team that we have and the process. It's been tough, of course. (But) this is soccer. I am 100 percent sure the victory is going to come soon."
Updated April 10, 2019