The Chicago Fire begin their 2021 MLS campaign by hosting the New England Revolution at Soldier Field on Saturday night.

Fans. In the stands. As it should be.

– Chicago Fire FC (@ChicagoFire) 7. April 2021

The highly anticipated season opener will be the first time fans have returned to the stadium since the KOVID-19 pandemic. What’s even more special is that fans will see the Fire at Soldier Field for the first time since 2006.

Although Saturday’s game will be monumental for the fans and the club, the Fire need to be focused, as the test that awaits them will not be easy to pass. For more on the Revolution’s appearance in the 2020 Eastern Conference finals, I spoke with Greg Johnstone of the Revolution Recap Podcast.

High expectations in north-east

We believe that if we are healthy, the team we had such high hopes for will once again be the team we look forward to [this season].

Johnstone believes the team we all saw in the playoffs – the team that reached the Eastern Conference Final in eighth place – is the team MLS fans should be watching in the 2021 season.

The Revs fan is indeed right. While New England did not perform well for most of the 2020 regular season, they redoubled their efforts at the right time during the playoffs. It was no coincidence that the Revolution’s best player, Karls Gil, was back just in time to go the distance.

Gil’s return from injury (hamstring) was a huge boost for the Revs, who showed their full potential in the playoffs last year. They defeated the Montreal Impact in the playoff round before overtaking Philadelphia Union and Orlando City in the battle for first place, losing to eventual champions Columbus Crew.

The significance of Carl Gil

A healthy Guillemot for the entire season will make a huge difference for the Revolution and will certainly make the team one of the best in the Eastern Conference. That’s our Tom Brady, says Johnstone. Without him, there was a black hole on the left wing with a rotating cast of characters….. He is expected to become one of the best players in MLS. If the Revs finish in the top 3 in the East this season, expect him to get votes for MVP.

But one player can’t carry a team for an entire season. So, who should join the Reverends with Gil? For Johnstone, it’s definitely Adam Buxa.

He had a tough first year. He hasn’t scored in a long time and has fallen out of favor with many fans. Johnstone continued: Many people wondered if this was a waste of a designated player spot.

But the Polish striker has had a good pre-season, scoring three goals, and this season he will need to maintain that scoring streak.

How can a fire start?

The Fire was one of the best offensive teams in the league last season. The club’s expected goal difference was +3.5, which was good enough for fifth place in the East last season. But it’s a story that will sound all too familiar to Fire fans: Constantly squandered chances in front of goal, combined with poor defensive errors.

It will always be important to make the most of your chances, but it’s even more important against a team whose main weakness is defence. Johnstone said there are questions about the Revs’ cooperation in midfield, including Andrew Farrell and Henry Kessler. It has short breaks. In addition, Johnstone questions the depth of the position.

The Revolution have given up a lot of goals and have had trouble with balls in the box, which worries Johnstone when it comes to the Fire’s top scorer, Robert Bericha. It is by far the biggest concern. I think he could score a goal against our central defenders at any time.

Expected composition

The New England Revolution: 4-2-3-1

  • Goalie: Matt Turner.
  • Defender: DeJuan Jones to Andrew Farrell to Henry Kessler to Brandon Poke.
  • Midfield : Maciel – Mat cushion
  • Intruders: Carl’s Gil – Gustavo Boo – Teal Bunbury.
  • Stryker: Adam Buxa

Chicago Fire: 4-2-3-1

  • Goalie: Bobby Shuttleworth.
  • Defender: Jonathan Bornstein – Maurizio Pineda – Francisco Calvo – Boris Sekulic
  • Midfield : Gaston Gimenez to Alvaro Medran
  • Intruders: Ignacio Aliceda – Luka Stojanovic
  • Stryker: Robert Beric

Compliance forecasts

Greg: 2-1 Revolution

Justin: 2-1 Revolution

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