Orlando City SC and the Chicago Fire both hold out faint hopes of garnering a playoff berth heading into Sunday afternoon’s contest at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill.
Very faint hopes.
Both teams enter the contest on lengthy winless streaks and tied for last place with 24 points in the Eastern Conference heading into the final seven weeks of the season, 12 points behind the sixth-place Montreal Impact for the final playoff spot. But both teams aren’t quite ready to throw in the towel yet.
“We’re extremely motivated and eager to get back to a game,” Chicago midfielder Djordje Mihailovic told MLSsoccer.com. “I know we have a lot of ground to make up in the playoff run, but we’re really motivated and believe we can do it.”
The Fire (6-15-6) snapped an eight-game losing streak with a 1-1 draw with Columbus way back on Aug. 23, their last MLS match before the international break. The team did take a trip to Munich, Germany, where it lost 4-0 to Bayern Munich in a friendly what was billed as the Bastian Schweinsteiger testimonial match. The 34-year Fire midfielder and longtime Bayern star changed jerseys and played a half for each team during the contest.
“It was an unbelievable farewell,” Schweinsteiger, who leads Chicago with six assists, said. “It was an evening I will remember for a very long time and tell my family about in the future.”
Orlando City (7-17-3) comes in on an eight-game (0-6-2) winless streak, including a 1-0 loss at Sporting Kansas City on Sept. 8. The Lions are just 2-11-0 on the road this season and have allowed a MLS-high 62 goals, eight more than any other team.
“It’s been tough because we’ve lost games all types of ways this season,” midfielder Sacha Kljestan told Prosoccerusa.com. “From getting beat by good teams, to beating ourselves, to making mind-boggling plays that lose games ... every which way we have lost this season. I don’t know what it is, but we just have to find a way to win. We’ll see.”
Longtime MLS star Dom Dwyer leads Orlando City with 12 goals, while Peruvian midfielder Yoshimar Yotun has 10 assists, tying Kaka’s single-season team mark. Forward Nemanja Nikolic leads Chicago with 12 goals.
—Field Level Media