Chicago Fire is coming off a 4-3 opening-weekend loss to New York City FC at Toyota Park. Here's our scouting report on Orlando City's next Eastern Conference foe.
The formation is very similar to what Orlando City ran last year. Chicago's central attacking midfielder will handle the attack. They are young on the back line, and they looked inconsistent and out of shape a lot in their opener. The question you have to ask is this: Is it because of the youth? My opinion is that their back line is extremely vulnerable and needs to be exploited. They will attack down the center and look for gaps between the outside back and center back. If that is not available to play, the Fire will use its speedy outside midfielder to exploit the flanks.
Gilberto - CF
Fresh of his loan from Vasco da Gama in Brazil, Gilberto was able to find his form. He is a hard worker, he will look to show in space and was dangerous in his time at Toronto. His issue was injury-related, and he was subbed in the NYCFC match.
David Accam - CF
David Accam is the most dangerous player on the field for Chicago Fire, and he's arguably the fastest player in MLS. He had a small injury problem early on in preseason that makes him questionable for the first few games. He will receive balls and attack the back four right between the center backs. If Chicago doesn't have him, its attack is less-than-exciting. He is right-footed and looks to get inside the penalty area for opportunities. He is average in the air but looks to get beyond the defense. Your best defender needs to account for where he is on the field at all times.
Kennedy Igboananike - CM
More speed from Chicago Fire. Igboananike will look to get the ball in the midfield and attack the outside defenders. He is dangerous on the counter -- if the outside backs get caught up the field, he will exploit the space and use his speed. He is a smart player and will look to take balls straight to goal after beating the outside back. He delivers excellent crosses into the box, where sometimes his passes were not met by Fire attackers.
Players to take advantage of:
Goalkeeper: There seems to be a goalkeeper battle between Matt Lampson and Sean Johnson. Johnson hasn't shown much confidence in the preseason and Lampson got hit for four goals against NYCFC. If Orlando can provide early pressure, it could rattle these goalkeepers.
Outside Back: If it's Brandon Vincent on one side, you have youth and inexperience. He's a talented player, but he will make mistakes starting off in MLS. The other outside back, Michael Harrington, is the more experienced of the two. Harrington lacks much pace and can make poor decisions.