Contending for Eastern lead, Nashville SC take on Fire

ByReuters ESPN logo
Saturday, July 8, 2023

Nashville SC are aiming for first place in the Eastern Conference but have not won a road match in more than a month.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Fire haven't lost three straight home matches, across all competitions, within the same season in nearly 13 years.

Eager to halt a three-match winless road rut, Nashville tries to remain undefeated all-time against the Fire on Saturday night.

Nashville (11-5-5, 38 points) sits six points behind MLS-leading FC Cincinnati in the East, and is coming off a key 2-0 home victory over D.C. United. That triumph followed back-to-back road defeats at CF Montreal and the Columbus Crew by a combined 3-0 scoreline.

"It's important that we won," said Nashville's Randall Leal, who scored twice against D.C. "Now, we have a good challenge next game against Chicago."

Nashville, though, has totaled one goal during its current 0-2-1 road stretch that followed a 2-1 victory on June 3 at FC Dallas. Superstar Hany Mukhtar has recorded just five of his MLS-leading 13 goals in 10 matches away from home in 2023.

However, Nashville is 2-0-2 all-time against Chicago and rode a hat trick from Mukhtar to a 3-0 home victory over the Fire on May 6. It was his second three-goal match in as many appearances against the Fire (5-7-8, 23 points), who are three points below the playoff line in the East.

Chicago's bid for a third straight win ended with last weekend's 3-1 loss at Orlando City. Now, it will try to avoid losing a third consecutive home match over all competitions in the same season for the first time since July 8-17, 2010.

"For us, it's just, at home, coming out with really good energy -- being organized," interim Fire coach Frank Klopas said. "We just have to be a little more focused with the decision-making in the end."

Both of Xherdan Shaqiri's goals for Chicago this season have come in his last three matches. Meanwhile, Fire All-Star Kei Kamara (team-leading five goals) has failed to score in his last four at home, spanning all competitions.

--Field Level Media