Postseason action will be at stake on Wednesday evening when the Chicago Fire hosts Inter Miami in the direct clash between playoff hopefuls at Soldier Field.
The Chicago Fire jumped to 11th place in the East with an important 1-0 road win at New York Red Bulls on Saturday. They are now level on points with Montreal in 9th position and only one point shy of New York City in 8th.
On the other side, Inter Miami rescued a massive point in the weekend’s 1-1 stalemate against New York City. The Herons are three points short of Chicago Fire and Montreal with a game in hand on both sides.
Below is everything you need to know about the crunch game in Florida, our favorite betting predictions, and where to find the best MLS betting odds at US sportsbooks.
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The Fire is Struggling for Goals
The Chicago Fire finally ended their unpleasant nine-game winless streak on Saturday evening by edging past the short-handed New York Red Bulls 1-0 in Harrison, New Jersey. The Men in Red did not shine on the occasion, as they found the winning goal against the run of play. Hassan Ndam’s second yellow card (62nd minute) became the turning point of the affair as Chicago’s Georgios Koutsias headed in a beautiful Xherdan Shaqiri cross into the back of the net shortly after.
The Fire still owns the third-worst offensive record in the East, with 35 goals in 31 games this season. They did notch three goals in the last two games, but only after failing to find the net in five subsequent MLS ties. They are also winless in four successive home outings, conceding at least once in each along the way.
No Messi, No Party for the Herons
Inter Miami will continue their daunting schedule on Wednesday to play their sixth game since September 16. Florida fans are anxiously trying to find out about Lionel Messi’s injury status, but the Argentine superstar will most likely miss the important trip to Illinois.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner was not on the roster in the team’s last three matches, and the Herons have won none in the process. The run includes a disappointing 2-1 loss to Houston Dynamo in last week’s US Open Cup final in Fort Lauderdale.
On a positive note, Tata Martino’s men earned a huge point on Saturday night against direct playoff rivals in New York City. Teenager Tomas Aviles finished a terrific sequence from a corner kick in the fifth minute of stoppage time to find the much-needed equalizer and celebrate his inaugural MLS goal.
Best Pick — Under 2.5 goals (+130) with BetMGM
The stakes are as high as they can be for both outfits at this phase of the season. With three games to spare, there is no room for errors, which is why we expect neither coach to take unnecessary risks from the strategic perspective. Both sides have been struggling in the final third these days. You can easily see why Wednesday’s Under 2.5 goals pick has to be the way to go.
Lionel Messi was not on the roster in Miami’s weekend stalemate against New York City, and we would be shocked to see the Argentine on the pitch at Soldier Field. Inter Miami registered just a single shot on target four days ago against NYC (and it came in the fifth minute of added time). That says enough about the visitors and their current form, while the Chicago Fire failed to score in five of their last seven league affairs.
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