It all comes down to Decision Day, where head coach Raphael Wicky and the Chicago Fire can punch their ticket to the 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs with a win against New York City FC on Sunday at Soldier Field.
Coming out of a 2-2 draw on the road at Minnesota United on Wednesday, the Fire are currently holding onto one of two remaining playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. NYCFC enter the match in fifth place in the East having already clinched a place in the postseason. They'll look to leapfrog Columbus Crew SC into fourth place with a win, earning the right to host a playoff game in the process.
Ahead of today's 2:30 kickoff on WGN and ESPN+, here's how Wicky will deploy his side with the Fire's postseason ambitions on the line:
- Wicky will begin with the same starting lineup from Wednesday night's 2-2 draw at Minnesota United.
- Forward Robert Berić scored his 11th goal of the season on Wednesday -- the second-highest total in MLS -- and will look to power the Fire attack to victory this afternoon.
- Defender Mauricio Pineda also got on the scoresheet on Wednesday for the third time this season. He starts his 23rd match of the season today, becoming the first Fire Homegrown player to start every regular season match for the Club in his rookie season. He'll slot into his usual role in central defense alongside captain Francisco Calvo.
- Alongside Pineda, midfielder Álvaro Medrán is the only other Fire player to start in every match this season, also earning his 23rd start today. He and Gastón Giménez will start alongside one another for the third straight time.
- Midfielder Przemysław Frankowski got his first assist of the season on Berić's goal Wednesday night, and makes his 50th regulars season appearance for the Fire as part of today's starting lineup. He'll man the wide areas of midfield opposite Djordje Mihailović.
- Fabian Herbers will hold things down in the center of the park, making his 38th appearance for the Fire today.
- Fullbacks Jonathan Bornstein and Boris Sekulić will lineup opposite one another defensively this afternoon.
- Goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth will man the net today, getting his 17th start of the season.
- Available to Wicky as substitutions tonight are midfielders Ignacio Aliseda, Brandt Bronico, Elliot Collier, and Brian Gutiérrez, defenders Johan Kappelhof, Miguel Navarro, Carlos Terán, Wyatt Omsberg, and goalkeeper Connor Sparrow.
- Forward CJ Sapong is unavailable for tonight's match, having been granted an excused absence to be with his newborn daughter.
- Goalkeeper Kenneth Kronholm and midfielder Luka Stojanović are not medically cleared for tonight's match.
Get a look at both team's starting lineups as they're available in the graphics below: