Chicago has the Fire but Atlanta United is the hottest team in Major League Soccer. And no place will be hotter Saturday than Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill., where the two teams will face off.
Atlanta (6-1-1) and has not lost since falling 4-0 at Houston in the season opener, outscoring opponents 21-5 during the seven-game unbeaten streak. Atlanta spotted Montreal a 1-0 lead last week then raced to a 4-1 victory behind a pair of goals each from Kevin Kratz and Miguel Almiron.
“We have to put everything on the table again,” Kratz said. “That’s what we think we do very well now is we take one game at a time. We had a successful time, but now it’s the next game. There’s nothing in the past, now it’s just looking forward to that next game.”
The Fire (2-3-2) earned four points in their last two road matches. In the most recent game at Toronto FC, they rallied from down 2-0 to get the stoppage-time equalizer from Alan Gordon.
“This team doesn’t give up. There’s no result that we don’t feel we can get,” Fire midfielder Dax McCarty said. “We’re building character and hopefully we can improve on our quality to not dig these holes for ourselves in the future.”
The match teems with star power. Chicago has German World Cup champion Bastian Schweinsteiger, whose goal started the comeback vs. Montreal, and 2017 scoring champion Nemanja Nikolic.
His five goals this season trail only United teammates Almiron, the MLS Player of the Month for April, and Josef Martinez, who each have six.
“If you go into the game and you let those guys do what they want to do, give them time, give them space, give them opportunities to run at your backline, you’re in trouble,” McCarty said. “That’s a recipe for disaster.”
—Field Level Media