The New York Red Bulls are so close they can taste it. All that is standing between them and their first piece of hardware is Mike Magee and the pesky Chicago Fire.
New York comes into the match riding a seven-game unbeaten streak in which they have collected 17 of a possible 21 points, and they have quite possibly the strongest team in MLS. It’s very hard to find a weak spot in the Starting XI; Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill lead the attack, while the midfield is anchored by Jonny Steele and Dax McCarty. On defense, there is Jamison Olave, Markus Holgersson and Brandon Barklage with a very solid Luis Robles in goal.
The Red Bull machine is turning; it has its sights set on a Supporters’ Shield and an MLS Cup. At kickoff, New York will know exactly what they need to do in order in win the Supporters’ Shield as they will be the last of the contenders to play. Ideally, they would like to go out with a win, but if Sporting Kansas City fails to win against Philadelphia Union on Saturday, then all New York would need is a draw as Portland Timbers could still tie them on points, but the Red Bulls would win the first tiebreaker of wins.
Chicago is not going to be an easy task, though, as they still are very much alive for a playoff spot and find themselves needing a win to ensure their playoff life. Although Chicago can still clinch a playoff berth if Houston Dynamo and New England Revolution do what Chicago do on Sunday, whether it be a draw or a loss. Chicago is on a good stretch of form, as well — they are unbeaten in the last four matches and have lost just two of their last 10.
Chicago is led by MVP front-runner McGee, who was acquired via trade with Los Angeles Galaxy at mid-season. Since joining Chicago, McGee has scored 14 goals in 21 matches including four goals during this current unbeaten streak. McGee really is the pulse that keeps Chicago alive, but they will need to rely on the back four to keep New York’s potent attack in check.
The Fire travel to Harrison, N.J. to take on the Red Bulls on Sunday, Oct. 27 at 5 p.m. EST; this match can be seen on UniMas.
Prediction: Chicago Fire 2, New York Red Bulls 2.
If there is one thing that you can count on going into this match, it’s that there is bound to be a late goal or more. New York has scored 18 goals in the last 15 minutes of the match while Chicago has scored 10. On the flip side, New York has allowed 16 goals in the last fifteen while Chicago has allowed 11. No matter how this game ends, it will be exciting to the finish, but in the end, the New York faithful will have to wait a little longer for their first trophy.