DC United vs. Chicago Fire Prediction, Preview and Odds - 5/13/21
Two frustrated MLS clubs will square off on Thursday night when DC United hosts Chicago. The Fire have dropped their last three matches, including a 2-0 shutout loss to Philadelphia on Saturday. DC United has also lost three in a row and is dealing with multiple key injuries.
Chicago coming off a tough loss
Chicago is in its second season under new ownership and new pieces/leadership on the field. The Fire exceeded expectations during the first year of what many expected to be a re-build in 2020, contending for a playoff spot until the final week of the season. They have not been able to build on their 2020 campaign, though. Chicago has lost three of its first four matches under second-year head coach Raphael Wicky. The 2-0 loss to Philadelphia over the weekend was the worst of them all, as the Union have also struggled to open the season.
That setback marked the second consecutive shutout after having lost a road tilt to the Red Bulls in a 2-0 final the previous week. Chicago is in a three-way tie for last place in the Eastern Conference standings, with its lone point coming in a season-opening draw. It has not won a match since beating DC United last season. The Fire have now been outscored 9-1 since the first 15 minutes of their match against New England and did not generate many chances until the waning moments of the loss to Philadelphia. Wicky says he still believes in his roster, but things are going to need to change in a hurry.
DC United in a major slump
DC United opened the season with a quality 2-1 win over New York City, but it has now dropped three consecutive matches since then. It fell to New England in a 1-0 final to close out April and has been blown out in its last two outings. San Jose picked up a 4-1 win on May 1 and Columbus tallied its first win of the season in a 3-1 final last week. The Crew had not scored a goal in their first two matches, but they netted one on a free kick and DC United added a pair of own goals.
The most frustrating part for DC United might be the injury situation. It has not been able to field a full team over the last few weeks, which has certainly contributed to the dip in competitive level. DC United was without eight starters last week and had no depth, so playing on the road against the defending champions was always going to be a tall order. For now, the team is forced to defend and hope for counterattack opportunities. It has 30 players on its roster, but only 16 dressed out for the match against Columbus. The single-season MLS record for own goals is four—DC United already have conceded three in four games.
Spread (Chicago PK -117)
It’s extremely difficult to predict what DC United it going to be able to do until the injury situation starts to resolve itself. This club has been hit harder than probably any team in MLS history to open a season. Chicago is not exactly an ideal team to bet on, but this is more of a fade of DC United than anything. The Fire at least have depth and starters available, even if they have not been playing well. The longer DC United has to play with limited subs, the worse things are going to get. Chicago should be able to get a result simply from a players-available standpoint.
Total (Under 2.75)
Chicago has only scored one goal since the first 15 minutes of the season, so I am not interested in taking any overs in matches that involve them. DC United has had to completely change its playing style based on all the injury issues, playing more of a defensive press at this point. It has given up three own goals, which has been unlucky and has led to higher-scoring games than expected. This should be a low-scoring contest where Chicago capitalizes on one or two of its opportunities. I have low expectations for the DC United attack.