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Preview: Fire, Sporting KC Clash Saturday at Toyota Park

March 8, 2018 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Chicago Fire News Release

The construction continues, although the preseason for the Chicago Fire is finally over after a Week 1 bye, while Sporting Kansas City are hoping to create a few more scoring chances than they did in a season-opening 2-0 home loss to New York City FC.

Will the home form hold serve Saturday? Sporting Kansas City won the lone encounter a year ago, 3-2, at Children's Mercy Park, their fourth straight in KC against Chicago. The Fire have three consecutive wins in Bridgeview, though, including 1-0 in 2016.

After a rare home loss in Week 1, SKC are looking to bounce back on the road, where they only had two wins a year ago. They were one of five MLS clubs to win two or fewer away games in 2017.

Chicago Fire

Chicago have been ravaged by injuries, with Djordje Mihailovic and Michael de Leeuw out following ACL surgery and Jonathan Campbell sidelined with a facial fracture. That has led to a late flurry of activity by the Fire, who added midfielder Tony Tchani from the Vancouver Whitecaps after signing Serbian international Aleksander Katai from Spain's Deportivo Alaves.

Does preseason form carry over to the regular season? The Fire certainly hope so after four wins and two draws in seven matches, including a 2-1 win over the Tulsa Roughnecks last weekend.

Suspended: None

Suspended after next caution: None

Injury Report: OUT: M - Djordje Mihailovic (right ACL surgery), F - Michael de Leeuw (left ACL surgery), D - Jonathan Campbell (facial fracture)

Projected Starting XI

(4-2-3-1, right to left)

GK: Stefan Cleveland - Brandon Vincent, Christian Dean, Johan Kappelhof, Matt Polster - Tony Tchani, Dax McCarty - Jon Bakero, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Aleksander Katai - Nemanja Nikolic

Notes: The Fire ended the 2017 season 2W-2L-2D at home after 10 wins and a draw in their first 11 games at Toyota Park. ... Chicago have scored at least one goal in 32 consecutive home matches, the longest streak in MLS since 2010. Sporting Kansas City

Peter Vermes will be hoping for more consistency from his team following a season-opening 2-0 loss to NYCFC Sunday evening. A disjointed first half was succeeded by a better effort in the attacking third, but that came after conceding a second goal as a result of a midfield turnover.

Lack of scoring isn't new for SKC, but Vermes vows he's not about to panic, liking what he saw from substitute Daniel Salloi on Sunday, while newcomers Johnny Russell, Yohan Croizet and Felipe Gutierrez are still tying to gel.

Suspended: None

Suspended after next caution: None

Injury Report: QUESTIONABLE: D/M - Brad Evans (lower back), F - Khiry Shelton (leg bruise)

Projected Starting XI

(4-3-3, right to left)

GK: Tim Melia - Graham Zusi, Ike Opara, Matt Besler, Cristian Lobato - Felipe Gutierrez, Ilie Sanchez, Roger Espinoza - Yohan Croizet, Daniel Salloi, Johnny Russell

Notes: Sporting Kansas City have conceded two goals in three of their last four regular season games, posting a 0W-3L-1D record over that span. All-Time Series

Overall: Fire 26 wins, 88 goals ... Sporting 15 wins, 62 goals ... Ties 11

At Chicago: Fire 18 wins, 48 goals ... Sporting 4 wins, 22 goals ... Ties 2

Last meeting at Chicago: Chicago Fire 1, Sporting Kansas City 0 (July 13, 2016) Referees

Referee: Jose Carlos Rivero

Assistant Referees: Jeremy Hanson, Logan Brown

4th Official: Fotis Bazakos

VAR: David Gantar

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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