Chicago Fire coach Raphael Wicky says his side are clearly underperforming in terms of points, but he believes the team are on the right path for development.
The Fire host New York Red Bulls on Sunday, and have taken just three points from the last 15 on offer.
They had a man advantage for the last 20 minutes against New York City FC last time out, but could only manage a 1-1 draw – while Wicky’s team have registered just three wins all season.
“We are obviously not happy with the amount of points we have, that’s for sure,” Wicky said.
“That’s for sure, we expected more. We have higher expectations so with that we aren’t happy. I still think this team is developing. I still think there is a curve, we see a curve that is going upwards, that the team is growing together.”
Despite Chicago’s struggles, a win would see them move to within two points of the Red Bulls, who are on a five-game winless run.
The Red Bulls have this week added to their squad, though, bringing in young defender Lucas Monzon.
“With Lucas, we found a big talent from Uruguay,” Gerhard Struber said. “He’s a player with the abilities to create, in our style of play, some very, very good moments.”
“I am very happy with this transfer. He is a young kid with big hunger — and I think I have a good picture in my mind that he can help us very quickly, in our typical way of football.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Chicago Fire – Gabriel Slonina
Gabriel Slonina became the youngest goalkeeper to start a match in MLS history (17 years, 81 days) on Wednesday against NYCFC.
New York Red Bulls – Fabio
NYRB dominated against FC Cincinnati, but could only draw 0-0. Forward Fabio created three chances and had five attempts, but only one was on target.
KEY OPTA FACTS
· The Red Bulls have won eight of their last 13 matches against the Fire (D3 L2, including playoffs) dating back to September 2015. The Fire have managed just one clean sheet in those games, a 1-0 home win in March 2019.
· The Fire kept their third clean sheet of the season, and their first since early July, in a scoreless draw against NYCFC on Wednesday. Chicago has lost just two of its last eight matches (W2 D4) after losing seven of the previous eight (W1).
· The Red Bulls winless run extended to five games with a scoreless draw against FC Cincinnati on Wednesday (D3 L2). New York hasn’t gone consecutive matches without a goal since early September 2020.
·Before Slonina, the previous youngest goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet in an MLS match was Bill Hamid at 19 years, 270 days in August 2010.
· The Red Bulls attempted 23 shots in its scoreless draw with Cincinnati on Wednesday, the most shots New York has attempted in a match without scoring since taking 24 shots in a 1-0 loss to D.C. United in March 2013.