It’s been a busy week for the Chicago Fire, taking on Atlanta United last Sunday and defeating Chicago House in the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday, but the next MLS game is already right around the corner. Tomorrow night, the Fire will face off against the New York Red Bulls, a team in the midst of a five-game skid that’s seen them drop to near the foot of the Eastern Conference table. We spoke with Daniel Rebain to discuss the Fire’s next opponent.
Last season, Red Bull gave the Fire a difficult time, winning 2-1 at Soldier Field before stealing a 3-3 draw at Red Bull Arena. How has the team changed since last season?
With Dante Vanzeir suspended, the only difference in the XI has been Andres Reyes replacing Aaron Long. But Red Bull has been dealing with an injury bug to start this season. Last year’s leading goal scorer Lewis Morgan and key playmaker Luquinhas have been missing the past month, and they’ve been sourly missed
New York are 13th in the East. What’s gone wrong this season so far?
As I’ve said, injuries have hurt this team, but even before the injuries, Red Bull has been struggling to score. That’s the main issue, putting the ball in the back of the net.
Red Bull are winless in five, most recently losing 2-0 to CF Montréal. How will they likely approach the game against the Fire?
Red Bull, even if they’ve struggled, have been SOLID defensively. They’ve been lining up in a weird type of 3-4-2-1, or they’ll go back to the 4-2-3-1. But they’ll will look to attack through the wings and get crosses in or cut the ball back. They’ve been very successful with creating those chances, just not scoring from them
New York will, of course, be without their latest DP due to suspension, but which players should Fire fans keep an eye on this weekend?
Offensively, Cameron Harper. Harper has been a revelation this year. He started the season at right back, but with all the injuries in attack has moved back into an attacking role and has been excellent. His pace and dribbling ability is something Red Bull haven’t had in a while. A lot of the offense runs through him or Omir Fernandez at the moment. Defensively, Andres Reyes. He has one defensive mistake in him a game but has been a great replacement for Aaron Long this year. Top class in the air, good passing from the back, pace. Everything you’d want in a center back.