Preview: Fire take on Quakes at Toyota Park Saturday night

Chicago Fire vs. San Jose Earthquakes
2018 MLS Regular Season – Week 14

Toyota Park — Bridgeview
June 2 - 7:30 pm CT

After playing three of their last four games on the road with one win in that span, the Chicago Fire are hoping for a change when they return to Toyota Park to face a San Jose Earthquakes side that is 1-4-2 away from Avaya Stadium and has just one win in their last 11 games.

The Fire couldn’t gain momentum from a 2-1 win or Orlando City SC and suffered a 3-1 defeat at Philadelphia on Wednesday, while the Quakes dropped their second straight game last Friday, in a 1-0 defeat at the LA Galaxy.

Chicago have won three of their last five games against San Jose (2L). Both teams have scored 10 goals over the five games, per Opta. 

Chicago Fire

A maddening season for Chicago (4-7-2) continued Wednesday night at Talen Energy Stadium as the Fire, which have road wins over the New York Red Bulls and Orlando, fell to the Union, 3-1.

Veljko Paunovic went with a 5-3-2 formation in Chester, with Brandt Bronico earning his first MLS start in a changed midfield, while Alan Gordon started in place of an injured Nemanja Nikolic. The Fire fell in a 2-0 hole before Gordon pulled them to within a goal in the 56th minute, but a Borek Dockal penalty kick three minutes from full time sealed Chicago’s fate.

“There are always mistakes in a game where we can have a little more awareness,” Paunovic said after the game. “Sometimes we need to rest our defense and sometimes being a little bit sharper especially when we create more opportunities having more clarity. Just always improving every detail of the game.”

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: D - Johan Kappelhof, D - Kevin Ellis
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: M - Djordje Mihailovic (right ACL surgery), F - Michael de Leeuw (left ACL surgery), D - Matt Polster (MCL surgery), M - Jon Bakero (right ankle) F - Elliot Collier (left gastroc); QUESTIONABLE: F - Luis Solignac (left quad), M - Dax McCarty (right hamstring), F - Nemanja Nikolic (right ankle injury)

Projected Starting XI
(3-4-3, right to left)
GK: Patrick McLain — Jonathan Campbell, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Kevin Ellis — Daniel Johnson, Johan Kappelhof, Mo Adams, Jorge Corrales — Diego Campos, Alan Gordon, Aleksandar Katai

  • Notes: Seven of the Fire's 18 goals this season have come from set pieces. Only Atlanta United (11) and the New York Red Bulls (eight) have more. … The Fire have lost three of their last four home games (1W). They lost just two home games all of last season.

San Jose Earthquakes

Mikael Stahre switched to a 4-4-2 formation and inserted Chris Wondolowski back into the starting XI, but it couldn’t produce the needed spark as San Jose (2-7-3) fell to the LA Galaxy in he first California Clasico of the season.

Shea Salinas also returned to the lineup at left back as the other change from the team that suffered a 3-1 home loss to D.C. United the previous week.

“I think we need to improve all parts actually, but tonight we were not dangerous enough in the last third of the field,” Stahre said. “I think we handled the buildup well, and did the defensive part quite well too tonight, but we were not dangerous enough in the last 30 yards of the field.”

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: M - Anibal Godoy
  • International duty: M - Anibal Godoy, D - Harold Cummings
  • Injury Report: OUT: M - Jahmir Hyka (ankle injury); QUESTIONABLE: D - Yeferson Quintana (ankle injury), M - Eric Calvillo (knee injury)

Projected Starting XI
(4-4-2, right to left)
GK: Andrew Tarbell — Nick Lima, Jimmy Ockford, Francois Affolter, Shea Salinas — Magnus Eriksson, Jackson Yueill, Florian Jungwirth, Vako — Danny Hoesen, Chris Wondolowski

  • Notes: The Earthquakes have conceded in 17 straight regular season MLS matches. They have not conceded in 18 straight since the 2009 season. … The Earthquakes are 4W-16L-4D on the road since the start of last season with a -30 goal differential. Only three teams have lost more league road games, and only two teams have a worse road goal differential.

All-Time Series

  • Overall: Chicago Fire 15 wins, 54 goals … San Jose Earthquakes 10 wins, 43 goals … 11 ties
  • At Chicago: Fire 9 wins, 31 goals … Earthquakes 2 wins, 17 goals … 6 ties
  • Last meeting at Chicago: Chicago Fire 1, San Jose Earthquakes 0 (July 1, 2016)


Referee: Ismail Elfath
Assistant Referees: Eduardo Mariscal, Matthew Nelson
4th Official: Christopher Penso
VAR: Matt Franz

Dylan Butler is a contributor to