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New York City FC-Fire Preview
New York City FC must swiftly get over their derby defeat to New York Red Bulls, with a trip to Chicago Fire next on the cards for Ronny Deila's team.
NYCFC went down 1-0 in the second of two derbies last week. They sit third in the Eastern Conference, at the top of an eight-team pack that is separated by just nine points.
With the hunt for the playoffs hotting up, Deila knows how vital a win in Chicago will be.
"It's always a tough game, a different game, very high intensity pressing," said Deila after the defeat to the Red Bulls.
"We didn't get our play in-behind right and got counter-attacks against us. I think we played into their hands. Overall we didn't create enough. We had our chances in the end but we didn't take them and we're disappointed about the performance, we feel we can be better than this.
"We're disappointed, we lost three points, we need to understand that. We need to get back on the winning track again on Wednesday, get over it as quickly as possible, they're as a lot of disappointment in the dressing room but we work together now and we bounce back on Wednesday."
Chicago sit 12th, seemingly out of the playoff race, though they did hold Nashville SC to a goalless draw last time out.
"Yeah, I think your comments are good. I think it's a solid point against one of the best teams at the moment in the Eastern Conference, who have a lot of confidence," said coach Raphael Wicky.
"If you look at their results from the last two months, they are really, really good. So I think it's a solid point. We didn't concede many chances. We were defensively solid. We didn't run into counter attacks. That was all good."
Chicago Fire - Alvaro Medran
Alvaro Medran has found consistency his biggest hurdle so far. He created only one chance against Nashville, and Wicky will be looking for more from his playmaker against another of the league's stronger teams.
New York City FC - Maximiliano Moralez
Maximiliano Moralez created a team-high three chances against the Red Bills, while he also had two attempts, behind only striker Valentin Castellanos.
- NYCFC is unbeaten in six straight matches against the Fire (W4 D2), though the last meeting was a scoreless draw on August 4. That draw ended a club-record run of 26 straight matches with a goal for NYCFC.
- The Fire ended their four-match losing streak with a scoreless draw against Nashville on Sunday. Chicago has not kept consecutive clean sheets since wins over Houston and Atlanta in late September 2020.
- NYCFC has won only three of its last 11 games (D4 L4) since the beginning of August following a 1-0 derby defeat to the Red Bulls on Saturday. NYCFC has not gone consecutive games without a goal since September 2020 when it failed to score against New England and Toronto.
- The scoreless draw on Sunday marked the fifth time the Fire have failed to score in their last seven games. Chicago has failed to score 12 times this season, second-most in MLS (Austin - 13), and the most in a single season in club history.
- Valentin Castellanos has contributed to a goal in four straight away matches (three goals, one assist), equalling the longest streak in club history, previously achieved by Maximiliano Moralez (twice), Jesus Media and Frank Lampard.
Updated September 28, 2021