When Charlotte FC hosts Chicago Fire in the MLS on Wednesday, they will be looking to win their fourth straight game overall.
Chicago, on the other hand, comes into this game off two victories over St. Louis in the previous week.
Charlotte will be looking to advance and make the playoffs for the first time in their history this season after finishing ninth in their maiden season as the MLS’s 28th franchise club.
Christian Lattanzio, a former assistant manager of Nice and New York City FC, has been retained as the club’s head coach. The 51 years old is beginning to find his footing after leading The Crown to three straight victories in recent weeks.
Over the weekend, Charlotte took advantage of Andrew Gutman’s dismissal to take the lead after Justin Meram had given his team an early 1-0 advantage against Atlanta United. Karol Swiderski converted his penalty and Justin Meram completed his hat trick before the hour mark.
As a result, Charlotte is only separated from the Eastern Conference playoff berths by goal differential before playing Chicago Fire in midweek, but if they want to challenge for them in the later stages of the season, they must continue their great recent form.
The Chicago Fire, on the other hand, decided earlier this month to fire manager Ezra Hendrickson. The 51 years old leaves the team with a dismal win percentage of 28.26% from his 46 games in command since being appointed in November 2021.
For the second time in recent years, Frank Klopas, a former AEK Athens forward who made 45 league games for The Fire before leading them between 2011 and 2013, has been appointed as temporary manager. During his first week in charge, Klopas has already had a significant influence.
Last week, Chicago Fire easily defeated St Louis 2-1 in the US Open Cup. Miguel Perez’s 93rd minute goal was merely a consolation for St Louis’s opponents. The following weekend, Rafael Czichos’ goal eliminated the same team from the MLS.
Chicago Fire have definitely come a long way since the days of their domestic double in 1998, the team has missed the playoffs in each of the last four seasons, but they will be looking for little signs of improvement under Klopas’ direction over the next several weeks.
George Marks, Kerwin Vargas, Bill Tuiloma, Joseph Mora, and Guzman Corujo, who are all injured, seem destined to be out of Charlotte’s lineup until at least next month.
Lattanzio is unlikely to make any changes to his starting XI, which will include former Burnley midfielder Ashley Westwood, after their convincing victory away to Atlanta in their most recent game.
While Victor Bezerra (leg) and Justin Reynolds (ankle) are unlikely to travel with the Chicago Fire, they should resume first team training within the next few weeks.
Like his upcoming opponent, Klopas may decide to start with the same lineup that helped his team get back on track in the MLS at the weekend. Switzerland midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri will likely carry the most of the visitors’ offensive load.
Possible starting lineup for Charlotte FC
Kahlina, Lindsey, Malanda, Sobocinski, Byrne, Westwood, Bronico, Bender, Jozwiak, Swiderski and Meram.
Possible starting lineup for Chicago Fire
Brady, Souquet, Teran, Pineda, M. Navarro, F. Navarro, Gimenez, Herbers, Shaqiri, Gutierrez and Kamara.
We predict: Charlotte FC 1-1 Chicago Fire
Both clubs will be quite confident after their recent triumphs as they try to get a good result and move back into the playoff spots.
Both sides have some extremely talented players, so we can envision a shared victory on Wednesday at the Bank of America Stadium.