NYCFC Attempts to Distinguish Chicago Fire
Wednesday’s Major League Soccer schedule features an Eastern Conference showdown between New York City FC and the Chicago Fire. With the stretch run of the season upon us, NYCFC is trying to hold onto one of the seven playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.
Meanwhile, the Fire sits toward the bottom of the standings and is running out of time to make a serious playoff push.
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Betting Odds & Betting Lines
According to BetUS, NYCFC is favored on the road with a moneyline of +120 compared to Chicago’s +230 moneyline. There is also a moneyline of +250 for a draw. Also, BetUS lists an over/under of 2.5 goals being scored in the game.
Bovada have pretty similar odds with NYCFC at +120, the draw at +255, and with CF at +220 to take the W. As for the totals market, they have the line set at 2.75 goals, with under being priced -105 and over at -115.
With just seven games left in the season, Chicago has 24 points, putting them 13 points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Fire has managed just six wins in 27 matches, which is a trend that needs to turn around.
There are just 21 points left on the table, so Chicago needs to earn three points on Wednesday night.
There is a little less urgency for New York City FC, which is currently third in the Eastern Conference with 39 points. However, there are just two points separating third place from the final playoff spot. In fact, there are nine teams within nine points of NYCFC, which means the Pigeons can’t afford to drop too many points.
Signs of Trouble
A few weeks ago, NYCFC looked a little more comfortable as far as the playoffs are concerned. The Pigeons have managed just one win, and two draws over their last six league games, including a frustrating loss to the New York Red Bulls last weekend.
The team’s defensive struggles have been a big reason for the struggles, as the Pigeons have given up 11 goals over those six matches despite having one of the better defensive records in the league.
The attacking third of the field hasn’t been much of an issue this season, with NYCFC tied for the third-most goals in the league this year. Valentin Castellanos is still going strong, as the 22-year-old has three goals and an assist in his last five games despite the team’s struggles.
The Pigeons are also getting consistent goals from Jesus Medina and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, while Argentine veteran Maxi Moralez has racked up nine assists.
Fire Dies Down
Based on the last handful of matches, the Fire doesn’t have a late-season playoff push in them. Over Chicago’s last five matches, the Fire has recorded four losses and one draw. The most frustrating part is that the Fire has scored just two goals in those five matches while getting shut out five times in its last seven matches.
Luka Stojanovic is the only player on Chicago’s roster who has scored more than three goals this season. Unfortunately, it’s been more than a month since his last goal. Likewise, top assist man Alvaro Medran has been held off the score sheet for more than a month, making it difficult for the Fire to generate serious scoring chances.
Ugly But Effective
New York City FC catches a break in this game, as they are playing a team with little offensive prowess at the peak of their defensive struggles. Even if the Pigeons are struggling to keep teams from scoring, the Fire isn’t likely to take advantage. Meanwhile, NYCFC should have enough quality in the final third to take all three points.
In addition to betting on NYCFC to win, the under on 2.5 goals is also a good bet for this match. Obviously, there isn’t much margin for error with that number. But Chicago’s lack of attacking talent means there’s a strong possibility that no more than two goals are scored in this game.