MLS

Chicago Fire v New England Revolution: Acosta says composure key for misfiring hosts

By Sports Desk May 03, 2024

Kellyn Acosta says the Chicago Fire need to be more precise with their ball progression if they are to end their barren run and begin to climb the MLS standings.

Frank Klopas' team sit 12th in the Eastern Conference and have failed to win – or even find the net – in three matches ahead of Saturday's clash with the New England Revolution. 

Chicago scored nine goals in their first five MLS matches in 2024 but have since netted two in their last five, and midfielder Acosta says composure is the key to improving their attacking output.

"It's a combination of moving the ball back to front and finding our forwards," Acosta said. 

"I feel like we've got to get them the ball in dangerous areas where they are bringing out their qualities, and I think we have not done a good job of progressing the ball to them."

The Revs, meanwhile, sit bottom of the East with just four points through their first nine matches under Caleb Porter, being thrashed 4-1 by a Lionel Messi-inspired Inter Miami side last time out.

Nacho Gil has joined several other New England players on a lengthy injury list, and Porter says the team must be cautious as they navigate a route through a testing spell. 

"If we're good with our planning… you can't avoid some injuries, but with soft tissue injuries, you can avoid a mistake," Porter said. 

"The medical staff, the sports science staff, they'll have a plan to reintegrate these guys where they can hit the ground running."

PLAYERS TO WATCH 

Chicago Fire – Brian Gutierrez

The Fire failed to record a shot on target in last week's goalless draw at home to Atlanta United, the third time they have done so since the start of the 2022 campaign. No other team has done so more than once in that time.

Gutierrez was limited to the role of substitute for that game, but as Chicago's leading scorer with three league goals this year, he will surely come in to start this one.

New England Revolution – Carles Gil

Carles Gil leads all Revs players for goals (three) and chances created (27) so far this season. None of his team-mates have laid on more than 11 chances this term (Tomas Chancalay). 

MATCH PREDICTION – DRAW

New England are winless in 17 MLS away matches (five draws, 12 defeats, including playoffs), in a run dating back to May 2023. Their longest ever winless run on the road in MLS is 18 matches between September 2016 to September 2017.

However, they may fancy their chances of taking something from Saturday's match, with Chicago only having two wins through their first 10 games of the season.

This is the sixth straight season in which they have failed to win at least three of their first 10 games of an MLS campaign. No other team in MLS history has done so in more than three straight years.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Chicago Fire – 37.7%

New England Revolution – 33.4%

Draw – 28.9%

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