Fire-New York City FC Preview

National Sports

New York City FC head coach Ronny Deila wants his side to continue playing free-flowing attacking soccer as his team prepare to face Chicago Fire.

The Pigeons are back in playoff contention after a 6-0 thumping of DC United last time out, moving into fifth place in the Eastern Conference with three games remaining.

The hosts were without a goal in four matches before the thrashing of the Black-and-Red, though Deila insisted his men’s main interest is to attack from now on.

“It’s in our DNA, we want to attack all the time and we want to give the fans entertainment and something to remember,” Deila said.

“As we said before, this is the first time in club history we win by six goals so that’s something we have to take with us.

“We scored a lot of goals, and we have to take that confidence with us to the game in Chicago, but everybody knows that it’s all even now, so we have to just keep on performing, and if we do that we know what we are capable of doing as you can see today.”

However, the Fire are unbeaten in three games following a 1-0 victory over Real Salt Lake as they play for nothing but pride and Chicago’s interim head coach Frank Klopas wants his side to build on their recent improvements.

“It’s not just, you know, you look at the way we kind of finished and I think even though I think it’s important to finish strong,” Klopas started.

“And I think when you look at the players I think it’s important, the way they finish, you have to evaluate the whole season and make some tough decisions and then obviously, look how we can improve with the players that do come in.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

New York City FC – Valentin Castellanos

Valentin Castellanos notched a brace against DC United and now has 15 goals in the year for New York.

Chicago Fire – Robert Beric

Robert Beric scored his eighth goal for Chicago to help them defeat Salt Lake, his second in as many matches, putting him into a tie with Luka Stojanovic for the most on the team.

KEY OPTA FACTS

– New York City FC has collected just one point in two matches against the Fire this season, both in Chicago. NYCFC has never lost a home match to the Fire (W5 D2), winning the last five in a row, the club’s longest-ever regular season home winning streak against a single opponent.

– New York City FC set club records for goals and margin of victory in its 6-0 win over D.C. United on Saturday. NYCFC has scored at least four goals in four different home matches this season. No other team has done so more than twice in 2021.

– Chicago has picked up back-to-back wins for the third time this season after beating FC Cincinnati and Real Salt Lake in the last week. The Fire haven’t won three straight matches since a four-match winning streak in June-July 2017.

– New York City FC hit 15 shots on target against D.C. United on Saturday, the second time its managed that this season (15 vs. Orlando City on July 25). No other team has managed 15 or more shots on target in a match in the last two MLS seasons.

– Robert Beric has scored five goals in his last five games, including the winner against Real Salt Lake on Saturday. Beric had scored just two goals in his previous 26 MLS appearances dating back to late April.

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