The Chicago Fire’s name definitely fits these days.
The Fire (6-7-5, 23 points) are red-hot as they take a five-game Major League Soccer unbeaten streak into Vancouver for Saturday’s game against the Whitecaps (6-7-5, 23).
“Finally, we passed that red line and then now we just stand above and in the group for the playoffs, but that doesn’t mean anything for one week,” Fire coach Veljko Paunovic told reporters. “We have to stay consistent.”
Midfielder Aleksandar Katai, who scored two goals in last weekend’s comeback win over New York City FC, said the Fire are succeeding with a collective approach rather than relying on a star.
“I just think that we are all players that are important for the team,” Katai told reporters. “It’s not one player, like we see in the World Cup, only (Argentina’s Lionel) Messi. (One player is) not enough.”
The Fire could be challenged by some backdraft Saturday, though. Defender Johan Kappelhof is questionable after he suffered minor injuries in a hit-and-run crash Thursday in Chicago. Kappelhof’s vehicle rolled over, but he emerged relatively unscathed.
Meanwhile, the Whitecaps are looking to regain their fire. The Caps have suffered two straight shutout losses, at home to Colorado last weekend and in Philadelphia a week earlier, after going unbeaten in six contests.
“We’ve created enough chances to win three games — never mind one game — and unfortunately we come out on the wrong end of some bad luck,” Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson told reporters.
Winger Cristian Techera will miss his second straight game as he continues to serve a three-game suspension for using abusive language in Philly. But midfielder Yordy Reyna and defender Jose Aja will return to the lineup after serving one-game suspensions for red cards.
Robinson called on his players Friday to start producing more goals. But midfielder Jordon Mutch is optimistic that they will if they continue to attack hard.
“It was disappointing not to get the three points at home, but we’ve just got to move on — and we’ve got another opportunity to get three points on Saturday,” Mutch told reporters.
—Field Level Media