San Jose presents problems for Chicago Fire
The Chicago Fire seems to have found its happy place.
Not only is the Fire playing soccer again, but the team is feeling good about itself after opening the MLS is Back tournament with a win against defending MLS Cup champion Seattle on Tuesday.
"We have a lot of confidence now, of course, to win against the champion," goalkeeper Kenneth Kronholm told the media via Zoom from Orlando on Friday.
"It's very positive for us because we had already faced them in the first game, and you already know what happened," added midfielder Alvaro Medran. "We lost in the last minute. So we had that kind of nagging at us."
Having scratched that itch, the Fire turns its attention to Sunday's game (7 p.m., FS1) against San Jose. The Earthquakes' man-marking style is unusual and presents some problems.
"When you have the ball you will constantly be in a challenge," Fire coach Raphael Wicky said. "You will constantly have a guy who is going to hit you, who is going to try to steal the ball."
"We expect a difficult game. We saw that they're an intense team that runs a lot all the way through the game up until the last minute," Medran added.
With a win and a draw in its first two Group B games, San Jose can clinch the group with another win Sunday. The Fire would clinch the group if it picks up another 3 points and Vancouver ties or loses to Seattle.
Wicky said he's unsure of changes to his lineup, preferring to see how his players have recovered from the Seattle match. It wouldn't be a surprise to see some changes given the short rest since Tuesday's game and the heat and humidity of Orlando.
"It was very, very hot. The guys were very, very tired after that game," Wicky said.