Chicago Fire

Without Xherdan Shaqiri, the Fire look to build on their win against New England

Chicago Fire

The Fire are coming off a dramatic first win last weekend, coming from behind to beat CF Montreal 4-3.

Despite it being the international break, the MLS season rolls on as the Chicago Fire travel to New England to take on the Revolution at Gillette Stadium.

Chicago will be looking to pick up its second win in a row. To do so, they’ll have to do it without their captain Xherdan Shaqiri who was called up by Switzerland. While some may wonder whether his absence may actually be a good thing, Frank Klopas isn’t overly concerned with Shaqiri’s performances so far this season.

“I think it can always be better, just like everyone else. It can always be better,” Klopas said. “I think there are moments when he is in good spots in the final third and I think you can see his ability, I think even in the Columbus match, his ability to provide that final pass that he can.

“But we expect a lot more from him and from the rest of the guys. Our expectations are high. They know that. So it’s a bit early on in the season. It’s hard. We can talk after 10 games.”

Shaqiri won’t be the only player missing for the Fire as starting goalkeeper Chris Brady is also set to miss the match as he is off with the United States Olympic Team. Spencer Richey will get the nod against New England.

“Spencer [Richey] is an experienced guy, and you know, he always has to be ready because you just never know,” Klopas said. “But he’s an experienced player and I have confidence that he can step in and do a good job.”

The Fire have conceded nine goals in four games. An average of more than two goals a game is going to make things difficult regardless of who’s in goal. Improving defensively is something the Fire are going to need to do not only if they want to beat New England, but have a successful season.

They’ve also scored eight goals in four games which means the team is creating opportunities and converting. But they need to cut down on the goals against.

Against New England, the Fire will be facing a team mired in last place, having scored only three goals while conceding 10. The Revolution have yet to win a game and have yet to pick up a single point.

Even without Chris Brady, the Fire should be solid enough defensively to not allow the Revolution too many goal scoring opportunities. At the same time, it should be an opportunity for Hugo Cuypers to add to his goal tally. He scored his first in the win over Montreal.

The Fire need to take advantage of a struggling New England side and continue their climb up the league table. The match may not be as straightforward as it looks on paper, however, as last season they met twice and drew both matches, 3-3 and 2-2, respectively.

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