June 1, 2018 / 10:12 PM / 9 months ago

Earthquakes head to Chicago to face Fire team desperate for some home cooking

The Chicago Fire will look to get back on track on their home pitch when they square off against the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night at Toyota Park in southwest Chicago suburb of Bridgeview, Ill.

The Fire (4-7-2, 14 points) have lost three of their past four home matches after dropping just two home games all of last season. They seem to have the right team in front of them on Saturday to reverse that trend as San Jose has won just once away from home in seven matches in 2018 and has just one victory in its past 11 outings.

Chicago heads home after a 3-1 loss in Philadelphia on Wednesday in which it fell into a 2-0 hole.

Alan Gordon, who started at forward in place of the injured Nemanja Nikolic, scored in the 56th minute to give the Fire some life. Alas, that hope was snuffed when Philadelphia scored on a penalty kick in the 87th minute as the Fire dropped its third match in its last four outings overall.

“There are always mistakes in a game where we can have a little more awareness,” Chicago coach Veljko Paunovic said after the loss to the Union. “Sometimes we need to rest our defense and sometimes we need to be a little bit sharper, especially when we create more opportunities by having more clarity. We are focused on just always improving every detail of the game.”

Nikolic is listed as questionable for Saturday’s match.

The Earthquakes (2-7-3, 9 points) head to the outskirts of the Windy City after dropping their second straight game and extending their winless streak to three matches in a 1-0 loss at the LA Galaxy on May 25.

Earthquakes coach Mikael Stahre switched to a 4-4-2 formation and inserted Chris Wondolowski back into the starting lineup but the moves didn’t provide the needed dividends as San Jose lost the first California Clasico match of the season.

“We need to improve all parts, but tonight we were not dangerous enough in the last third of the field,” Stahre told MLSsoccer.com after the loss to the Galaxy. “We handled the buildup well, and did the defensive part quite well, too, but we were not dangerous enough in the last 30 yards of the field.”

San Jose is 4-16-4 on the road since the start of last season with a minus-30 goal differential. Only three teams have lost more league road games, and only two teams have a worse road goal differential over that stretch of action

Chicago has won three of its last five matches against San Jose as both teams have scored 10 goals in those five games.

Overall, the Fire own a 15-10 edge over San Jose, with 11 ties and a 9-2 advantage against the Earthquakes at home with six draws. Chicago beat San Jose 1-0 in the most recent home match between the two sides on July 1, 2016.

—Field Level Media

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