Major League Soccer

FC Cincinnati-Fire Preview

Jaap Stam and Raphael Wicky both demanded improvements from their sides ahead of FC Cincinnati's away game against Chicago Fire.

Both teams went down 2-0 last time out, losing to Colorado Rapids and Columbus Crew respectively.

The two bottom sides in the Eastern Conference meet at Soldier Field on Wednesday, needing victories to spark a turnaround in fortunes.

"If you get the opportunities you need to finish them off yourself as well," Cincinnati boss Sam said after the defeat to Colorado.

"We also know where we are. We did very well. we created a lot and even in that we could've done better its very positive in how we approached the game and what we achieved eventually and that's a part of what we are looking for and making progress and eventually I'm very confident we'll get there.

"We try to work on that every day, every game. Also you're working with human beings, like you guys don't always write the same piece. Players don't always make the same decisions on the pitch. That's at times how it goes as well."

Wicky, meanwhile, believes his Fire team did not manage to hit the basic level required in their loss at Columbus.

"We lost, in my eyes, a little bit of the passion, the fire, the desire to win duels, win challenges and second balls," he said.

"That's the basis of football. You can talk tactics as long as you want, you have to do the dirty work. The basics of football, basics of the game, that's to win, to fight, to win the duels and second balls."

Chicago Fire – Robert Beric

Robert Beric came on from the bench against Columbus, but could not ignite a comeback for the Fire. He scored 12 goals last season, but has only netted one so far, and Chicago need their striker to find his form.

FC Cincinnati – Ronald Matarrita

Cincinnati have struggled for goals this season, but Matarrita has assisted three of them. He has made only six appearances so far, but the signs have been promising for the former New York City FC player.

The Fire are unbeaten in three straight against FC Cincinnati (W1 D2) after losing the first meeting, beginning with a scoreless draw in September 2019. In fact, the Fire have kept six clean sheets in their last 34 MLS matches beginning with that scoreless draw, with three of those coming against FC Cincinnati.

The Fire have lost six of their last seven games after a 2-0 defeat at Columbus on Saturday. Chicago's four points through eight matches is the fewest its had at this stage of a season in its MLS history.

Cincinnati won its last away match, a 2-1 win at CF Montréal in Fort Lauderdale on May 22. Cincinnati has never won two straight away matches and has avoided defeat in two straight on the road only twice, last doing so in September-October 2019.

The Fire failed to register a shot on target in their loss to the Crew on Saturday, the first time they've failed to hit a shot on frame since July 2016 against New England. Chicago's 15 shots were the most by a team that failed to hit the target in an MLS match since Real Salt Lake (21) against Houston in August 2017.

FC Cincinnati's 2-0 loss to Colorado on Saturday marked the 17th time in 25 games since the MLS regular season resumed last August that its failed to score. Cincinnati is the first team in MLS history to be shut out 17 times in a 25-match stretch.

Updated June 22, 2021

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