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Fire-CF Montreal Preview
The Chicago Fire are enduring a difficult run in MLS, but CF Montreal coach Wilfried Nancy will not take them lightly on Sunday.
Chicago enter the weekend 12th in the Eastern Conference, now 10 points outside the playoff picture.
Their season appears to be all but over after consecutive defeats to Sporting Kansas City and DC United. They have lost four of their past five.
But Montreal, who are up in sixth, should not expect an easy ride against the Fire, Nancy insists.
"I watched their last game against DC United," he said. "Their 3-0 defeat was harsh, because they could have come back very quickly.
"Be careful, as I often say. They changed their system. They come to us to take points. We will stay focused to win this game at home."
Chicago has been surrounded by uncertainty since that DC game, however, with reports linking coach Raphael Wicky to FC Lugano.
The Swiss club is owned by Joe Mansueto, also the Fire owner, meaning a simple switch between the two outfits for Wicky.
However, Mansueto denied these claims.
"We will soon announce the name of the new coach with whom we want to build an even better team," he said. "We intend to continue investing."
For now, Chicago will hope Wicky can be the man to turn their fortunes around - starting against Montreal.
CF Montreal - Lassi Lappalainen
Lappalainen had been out for almost two months before returning from the bench against Orlando City last time out. He quickly scored his first goal of the season and will now hope to kick on.
Chicago Fire - Robert Beric
Beric dropped down to the bench in midweek with a tight turnaround between matches, but he is the only Chicago player to score in their past four games so will expect to be restored to the line-up and have an impact.
- The past 10 meetings between Montreal and Chicago have been split, with each side winning four times and drawing twice. Both teams have won home and away in that time and each side have scored 13 times against the other.
- Montreal have lost just one of their past six matches (W3 D2) following a 4-2 win at Orlando City on Wednesday. Montreal have just one winning streak since the start of last season, however, winning three in a row in July 2021.
- Chicago have lost four of five matches on their current road trip (W1) following a 3-0 loss at DC United on Wednesday. The Fire have just one win in 22 away matches since the start of last season (D6 L15).
- Rommel Quioto had a goal and two assists in Montreal's win over Orlando on Wednesday. It was the second time he has contributed to three goals in a match in his MLS career, also doing so with Houston against Toronto in April 2018.
- Ola Kamara scored a first-half hat-trick against the Fire on Wednesday. It was the second hat-trick scored in the first half of a match in MLS since the start of last season, with the other also coming against the Fire (Hany Mukhtar for Nashville on July 17, 2021).
Updated September 18, 2021