Chicago Fire Hoping to Torch NYCFC’s Playoff hopes

With three games left in the regular season, New York City FC currently occupies one of the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. But that could change quickly with the Pigeons set to host the Chicago Fire in a critical game on Wednesday night. While the Fire is out of playoff contention, it can play the role of spoiler for NYCFC on Wednesday.

According to BetUS, NYCFC is a heavy favorite with a Moneyline of -230 compared to Chicago’s Moneyline of +625. There is also a Moneyline of +375 if the match ends in a draw. Finally, BetUS lists an over/under of three total goals scored in this match.

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What’s the Situation?

For NYCFC, the opportunity is there for the Pigeons to play their way into the MLS Playoffs. They are currently fifth in the Eastern Conference with 44 points, although three teams are behind them with 43 points each. With only seven teams reaching the playoffs, there is no margin for error over the season’s final three games, as NYCFC could be out of a playoff spot by the end of Wednesday night if they don’t win.

As mentioned, the Fire is already out of contention for a playoff spot. Chicago has just two games left in the season, and with just 34 points, they can’t catch up to the seventh-place teams with 43 points. However, the Fire could still leapfrog a couple of teams in the standings and finish a little closer to the middle of the pack with a strong finish.

Still Raging

The Fire is not going down without a fight despite being out of the playoff race. Chicago has taken points from five of its last six matches, including back-to-back wins over Real Salt Lake and FC Cincinnati, as well as a draw with New England, which is running away with the Eastern Conference regular-season title. Chicago also has a 2-0 win over NYCFC during that six-game stretch.

Chicago has become much better on the attack late in the season, scoring ten goals in the team’s last five matches. Robert Beric has almost come out of nowhere to score five of those ten goals in five games, giving him eight goals on the season. Luka Stojanovic scored eight goals for the Fire this season, giving Chicago two genuine threats in the attacking third to help make up for a defense that can be sloppy at times.

A Sign of Things to Come?

NYCFC is coming off arguably its best game of the season, a 6-0 victor over DC United last weekend. It was a massive change of fortune for the Pigeons, who had previously lost four of their previous five games, including that 2-0 loss to Chicago. More importantly, after scoring just once in those five matches, the Pigeons were able to wake up offensively and put six balls in the back of the net.

Five players contributed to the team’s six goals against DC United, including Valentin Castellanos, who leads the club with 15 goals this season. Castellanos had hit a goal-scoring slump before scoring two goals on Saturday, which is excellent news for the Pigeons. Despite their recent recession, NYCFC is tied for the third-most goals in MLS this season, so if that six-goal performance wakes them up, there could be a lot more goals in the team’s future.

Ride the Wave

After scoring six goals on Saturday, it’d be surprising to see the Pigeons go silent again. As mentioned, the Chicago defense can be vulnerable, so look for NYCFC to score some goals in this game. Even if the Fire gets one or two, bet on New York City FC to beat Chicago on Wednesday night.

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