Thu, 22 Oct 2020

Fire look to slow surging Orlando City

Field Level Media
19 Sep 2020, 11:19 GMT+10

Orlando City will aim to extend its unbeaten streak to six consecutive matches on Saturday night when the Lions host the Chicago Fire.

Orlando City have been one of the league's most in-form teams going back to the MLS Is Back Tournament, which saw the club make a run to the final before losing to the Portland Timbers.

Since the resumption of the regular campaign, the Lions (5-2-4, 19 points) find themselves in fourth place in the East and within striking distance of Columbus for the top spot.

Last time out, Orlando secured a 2-1 win over Inter Miami on Saturday thank to a match-winner from Mauricio Pereyra in the 69th minute.

Orlando head coach Oscar Pareja was quick to point out the significance of beating an in-state rival.

"We scored the second goal, and after that it was just about the derby," Pareja said. "We want to dedicate this to the fans. We know how happy they are and it is a very important three points, but it gets magnified against Miami."

Chicago, meanwhile, is trying to put an end to a four-game winless run. Last time out, the Fire built a 2-0 lead inside of 15 minutes against Columbus thanks to goals from Djordje Mihailovic and Robert Beric. But the defense couldn't hold as the Crew's and Gyasi Zardes netted second-half goals for a 2-2 draw.

Chicago (2-6-3, nine points) finds itself 12th in the East, but only two points back of Atlanta United for the final playoff berth.

The Fire will be aiming for a full shift from forward C.J. Sapong, who came on for 11 minutes as a substitute against Columbus after missing five matches. He should boost the attack this weekend.

"(It felt) really good," Sapong said of his return to the pitch. "It was my first game at Soldier Field. Obviously with the buildup to that, it was good to hit that milestone. I felt good movement-wise, energy-wise. Obviously I want to always do what I can to help the team, so that's what I'm looking to build on for the next game."

Last time these teams met in Orlando, Chicago's Przemyslaw Frankowski scored a pair of goals as the Fire claimed a 5-2 win last October.

The Fire are unbeaten in their past eight matches against Orlando.

--Field Level Media

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