Preview: Fire set to host Eastern Conference-leading Toronto FC

Johan Kappelhof

Chicago Fire vs. Toronto FC
2017 MLS Regular Season
Toyota Park – Bridgeview, Ill.
Saturday, August 19 – 7 pm CT
WATCH: CSN Chicago

Two teams with Supporters' Shield aspirations square off at Toyota Park on Saturday, as the Chicago Fire host Toronto FC. The Fire have been in fine form at home, so they'll be happy to be hosting, but they are in a slump, losing their last two (including a 3-0 road loss to Montreal on Wednesday) and winning just once in their last six games.

That puts the pressure squarely on Chicago, who sit six points behind TFC in the standings. In contrast to their opponents, Toronto haven't lost in six games and a win over the Fire would nearly put the Shield out of reach for Chicago, barring a shocking late-season Toronto collapse. This game may not have the same Top of the Table shine it would have in July, when both teams were jockeying for first place, but as Chicago head coach Veljko Paunovic noted midweek, this game is the most important one of the Fire's season, and could turn out to play a major role in the Supporters' Shield race in 2017.

Chicago Fire

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended next yellow card: None
  • International Duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: M John Goossens (ankle), GK Jorge Bava (elbow), D Brandon Vincent (quad), M Daniel Johnson (knee); QUESTIONABLE: D Michael Harrington (illness), M Juninho (knee), M/D Matt Polster (knee); D Joao Meira

Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1, left to right): Matt Lampson – Patrick Doody, Christian Dean, Jonathan Campbell, Johan Kappelhof – Dax McCarty, Bastian Schweinsteiger – David Accam, Michael de Leeuw, Luis Solignac – Nemanja Nikolic

Notes: Chicago have lost five straight league games to Toronto, but only one of those games has been played at home. Chicago’s 2-1 loss on September 10th of last year was the only loss they’ve had against Toronto in 12 MLS home games (6W-5D)... Chicago have won a franchise-record nine straight MLS home games, outscoring the opposition 27-3 along the way. This includes a 12-1 scoring difference in their last three home games.

Toronto FC

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended next yellow card: None
  • International Duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D Steven Beitashour (abdominal injury), M Benoit Cheyrou (calf), D Oyvind Alseth (laceration/puncture), D Nick Hagglund (knee)

Projected Starting XI (3-5-2, left to right): Alex Bono – Chris Mavinga, Drew Moor, Eriq Zavaleta – Justin Morrow, Victor Vazquez, Michael Bradley, Marky Delgado, Nicolas Hasler – Jozy Altidore, Sebastian Giovinco

Notes: This will be the second meeting of the year between the two teams. Sebastian Giovinco scored a brace, Victor Vasquez had two assists, and Michael Bradley completed 61 passes in a 3-1 Toronto home win over the Fire on April 21st...Marky Delgado’s goal against Portland was his second goal in his last seven MLS appearances. He had seven goals in his first 94 MLS games.

All-Time Series

  • Overall: Chicago 9 wins (40 goals); Toronto 8 wins (39 goals); 8 draws
  • At Chicago: Chicago 5 wins (16 goals); Toronto 1 win (11 goals); 5 draws


  • Referee: Jair Marrufo
  • Assistant Referees: Jose Da Silva, Danny Thornberry
  • Fourth Official: Jose Carlos Rivero
  • VAR: Ramy Touchan