CHICAGO (July 28, 2022) - Chicago Fire FC II (4-8-4-1, 17 points) return to action this Saturday night at Rochester New York FC. The Fire will look for a better result on the road following a 4-3 home loss to Orlando City B before the bye week. The match marks the first time the Fire will travel to Western New York, and the second time the teams face each other after a 0-0 draw at SeatGeek Stadium in April 10. In that match, Rochester picked up an additional point with a 6-5 shootout victory. The match will start at 6:00 p.m. CT and will be streamed live on MLSNEXTPro.com.
Chicago is coming off a bye week that followed a 4-3 home loss to Orlando City B, in which the team saw Victor Bezerra score his first hat trick of the season. The hat trick gave Bezerra the team’s golden boot for the season with seven goals. Despite his effort, three late, unanswered goals gave Orlando a road victory in a rematch between both teams. The match also featured the final appearances for Luka Bezerra, Diegoarmando Alvarado and Christian Baumgartner in Fire colors before playing NCAA Division I soccer this upcoming fall.
Rochester NY FC (7-5-4-4, 29 points) also suffered a home loss in their last match, dropping a 2-0 result to FC Cincinnati 2 on July 22. Despite the result, Rochester currently sits in third place in the Eastern Conference, thanks to great goalkeeping from Caíque Luiz Santos da Purificação, better known as Caíque. The Brazilian goalkeeper currently leads MLS NEXT Pro in clean sheets with six in 16 matches. He and the Rochester defense have conceded only 17 goals in 16 matches, good for second in the league behind Columbus Crew 2’s 13.
PREVIOUS RESULT AGAINST ROCHESTER
The Fire hosted Rochester in their third match of the year, and only their second home match of the season, and came away with a 0-0 draw for their first point of the campaign. The match thus saw the Fire compete in a shootout for the first time in MLS NEXT Pro following a regulation draw. Rochester came away with the extra point following a 6-5 shootout win, but Chicago showed plenty of promise, leading the match in possession and enjoying an 18-3 advantage in shots.
KEYS TO THE MATCH
The Fire Golden Boot is Victor Bezerra’s to lose. After the Homegrown striker’s scintillating performance before the bye week, Bezerra now leads the chase for the boot with seven goals in the campaign. But this has given teammate Josh Penn a chip on his shoulder to reclaim the boot with five goals to his name. Alex Monis is only one goal behind, but he is more than capable of getting hot at any given moment.
Reinforcements are on the way. Chicago Fire FC II will welcome five members from the Academy. Michael Nesci, Christian Torres-Gale, Grant Kelner, Carlos Nevarez and goalkeeper Adrian Girón will join the Fire with the hopes of making an instant impact following the departure of other players to their respective NCAA soccer programs.
Omari Glasgow and Chris Brady are back. After being cleared from Health and Safety protocols, Brady and Glasgow should be ready to star as the Fire make their playoff push. Brady last had a clean sheet against FC Cincinnati 2 on July 10, while Glasgow looks to return to great form that had fans clamoring for his insertion in the starting XI.
HOW TO WATCH
Chicago Fire FC II will travel to Rochester, N.Y. to face Rochester New York FC on Saturday, July 30. First kick at MCC Soccer Stadium is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. CT. This and every other Chicago Fire FC II match can be streamed live on MLSNEXTPro.com.