Fire take on Whitecaps as both teams vie for playoff spots

ByReuters ESPN logo
Wednesday, August 30, 2023

It's been more than four years since the Chicago Fire lost a regular-season home match to a Western Conference opponent.

It's been even longer since the Vancouver Whitecaps won three consecutive, all-competition road matches during a single season.

Both above the playoff line in their respective conferences, the Fire and visiting Whitecaps look to extend those streaks when they meet Wednesday night.

The Fire (8-9-8, 32 points) enter this mid-week match owning the ninth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. However, they've been outscored 6-1 while losing consecutive MLS matches to Orlando City and Los Angeles.

"We know that we have the ability to get to the playoffs, and we are focusing on this short-term objective," Fire defender Carlos Teran told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Though the loss to Orlando came at home on Aug. 20, Chicago is unbeaten in 14 consecutive regular-season home matches against teams from the West - dating to a 4-2 defeat versus Seattle on March 16, 2019. The Fire are 2-1-3 all time at home against the Whitecaps.

Vancouver (9-8-7, 34 points), though, has a chance to post three straight overall road victories in the same season for the first time since June 2015. After winning in penalties at Tigres UANL in Leagues Cup play earlier this month, the Whitecaps, sitting seventh in the West, got two goals and an assist from Ryan Gauld en route to a 3-2 victory at Portland from Saturday.

"You could feel (Saturday) that the team's in a good place," said Gauld, whose nine goals are tied with Brian White for the team lead.

"You can see the fight and resilience in everyone."

Gauld has recorded two two-goal performances in his last three MLS matches. Meanwhile, White has three goals with three assists in his last six league matches. White also scored in three straight MLS road matches.

Chicago forward and ex-Whitecap Kei Kamara remains one MLS regular-season goal shy of matching Landon Donovan (145) for second on the all-time list. Kamara has a team-leading five goals this season, but none since June 21 versus Portland.

--Field Level Media