CHICAGO (Sept. 16, 2022) – Chicago Fire FC II will conclude the regular season against Inter Miami II as part of MLS NEXT Pro Decision Day 2022 on Sunday afternoon. The Fire will try and play spoiler against Miami, which needs a win and some favorable results elsewhere to make the playoffs. First kick at SeatGeek Stadium is scheduled concurrently with all other Eastern Conference matchups at 2 p.m. CT. Coverage of the match will begin five minutes prior on MLSNEXTPro.com.
The Fire have reeled off an impressive four victories in their last six matches, including a 2-0 shutout victory at FC Cincinnati 2 last Sunday. The Orange and Blue had several opportunities in the first half to take the lead, but Homegrown goalkeeper Chris Brady made some key saves to take a clean sheet into the halftime break. The Fire made some adjustments that paid off when Omari Glasgow opened the scoring in the 51st minute. Missael Rodríguez doubled the lead with a penalty kick goal in the 63rd, and Brady and the defense held on for Chicago’s season sweeping third victory over Cincinnati.
Inter Miami II got a crucial victory in Canada last Wednesday, defeating Toronto FC II 4-3 to keep its playoff hopes alive. Shaan Hundal scored twice, while Benjamin Cremaschi and the league’s fourth-best scorer Shanyder Borgelin (14) each added a second half goal to put the Herons three points closer to the playoff line. Miami will hope to have MLS NEXT Pro assist leader Romeo Beckham (10) match fit on Sunday. The injured midfielder had an assist on his side’s third goal against the Fire in their 3-1 victory in South Florida back in early July.
KEYS TO THE MATCH
Playoff implications galore. Inter Miami II has hovered around the Eastern Conference playoff line through most of the season, but their win in Toronto meant the Herons are one point behind Philadelphia for a final spot. A win would give Miami 39 points for the campaign, enough for the third seed in the East if both Philadelphia and Toronto lose on Sunday. But those two teams play a pair of eliminated teams in New England and Orlando, respectively. A draw and an additional point would be enough for fourth in the event of Philly losing; but the Fire are well aware of Miami’s situation and will hope to avenge a 3-1 loss to them on Sunday.
The Battle of the Boot Finale. Victor Bezerra has held on to the Fire’s golden boot with eight goals this year, but Josh Penn narrowed the gap in August to bring his total up to seven. Missael Rodríguez started off slow, but he has now scored five goals in the last seven matches to draw even with Penn. Omari Glasgow lurks within striking distance with five goals, including two in the last two matches – and he can score multiple goals in a flurry. This friendly competition could help add some fire to the team’s desire to play spoiler.
Golden Brady. Rochester’s Caíque and Columbus’ Patrick Schulte have garnered plenty of attention for their goalkeeping, leading the league clean sheet race in more matches played. But Chris Brady has a shot to finish the season having allowed less than one goal per match while saving over 80 percent of shots faced. No other goalkeeper can claim both figures going into the final week. For his part, Brady has downplayed any potential award conversation, quipping, “I’m not too excited about any awards like that. I don’t think that’s where I belong right now, but hopefully, sometime in the future.”
HOW TO WATCH
Chicago Fire FC II will conclude the 2022 MLS NEXT Pro regular season at home against Inter Miami FC II on Sunday, September 18 at 2 p.m. CT. Match entry and parking at SeatGeek Stadium is free of charge. Match entry and parking are free, and a stream will begin five minutes prior to first kick on MLSNEXTPro.com.