Match Preview: Chicago Fire vs. Atlanta United Saturday, July 30 at 5 p.m.

Atlanta United travels to Soldier Field to face Chicago Fire FC on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. ET.

It’s the second straight away match for Atlanta United. Last weekend, the club fell to L.A. Galaxy at Dignity Health Sports Park. Now, it heads to the Windy City to take on a surging Chicago Fire side.

Atlanta United heads into the Eastern Conference matchup looking to cover some ground in the standings. The club is currently in 12th place with a 6-9-6 record. But in a crowded table, a win could launch Atlanta closer to the playoff line, so a win on Saturday could be huge for the 5-Stripes.

“We need to start winning now, so the time to change things is right now,” forward Luiz Araújo said on Thursday. “We’re in second to last place in the conference, but the teams around us don’t have a lot more points than we do. So, this is the time. We need to start winning games and moving up.”

Luiz-Araujo_Training_Chicago-July-30

Matchday Conditions   

The conditions in Chicago are expected to be quite nice on Saturday. The forecast is sunny with temperatures around 78 degrees Fahrenheit at kickoff and winds around 7-8 MPH. 

Catching Fire 

Last time the clubs met, Chicago Fire was in 13th place in the Eastern Conference table. On May 7, Atlanta United made an easy task out of Chicago’s defense and routed the visitors 4-1

But 12 weeks later, Chicago Fire is on a hot streak. The Fire have strung together three consecutive wins for the first time since 2017 and outscored opponents 6-1 in that span. The club picked up nine points with wins over Toronto FC, Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps, a greater total than what Chicago earned in their previous 14 MLS matches. 

“We know this game is going to be difficult, but we just need to keep working and try to do everything we can to get the points,” Araújo said. 

Soldier Field Advantage

This will be the 11th all-time meeting between the two clubs. Atlanta United has a slight edge in MLS play, owning the series 6-5-0. 

The home side usually has the advantage in this series, winning nine of 10 MLS meetings including the last seven in a row. The last meeting between Atlanta United and Chicago Fire FC in May, and the home side won that match as well 4-1 behind a hat trick from striker Ronaldo Cisneros.  

Winning on the road is incredibly tough in MLS, and Atlanta United has faced the struggles the same way as other clubs. Atlanta United hasn’t won on the road in eight games, and the last result the club earned away from Mercedes-Benz Stadium was the 2-2 draw against New York City FC on July 3.

Only two points currently separate Atlanta United and Chicago FC in the conference standings. However, Atlanta United is in 12th place and Chicago Fire is in ninth, which shows how tightly the Eastern Conference has been in 2022.  

“That’s the cool thing about this league is there’s usually not many teams that run away with it,” defender Aiden McFadden said on Thursday. “Anybody can beat anyone on any day because the rosters are deep and there’s a lot of talent across it. So, it’s showing up, doing our thing and playing them on the day.”

Key 2022 Stats and League Ranking
Chicago Fire
Atlanta United
Pass Percentage
78.4% (24th)
85.3% (1st)
Headed Duel Percentage
53.4% (5th)
49.6% (8th)
Key Passes
200 (5th)
233 (1st)
Goals Scored In Last Three Matches
6
3

Players To Watch 

Ronaldo Cisneros – The striker on loan from Chivas Guadalajara has to like playing Chicago. In the last matchup between the sides, Cisneros got off to a quick start, scoring a hat trick in the first half. And Cisneros has a penchant for scoring multiple goals. Last time he scored for Atlanta United was a brace in the 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake. Does Cisneros have another multi-goal game in him? We’ll find out on Saturday.

ATLvsCHI-May-2022-Ronaldo-Cisneros

Xherdan Shaqiri – The most expensive signing in club history for the Chicago Fire is paying dividends. The midfielder for the Swiss national team leads the Fire in goals (4) and assists (8) this season. He’s coming off recording one goal and one assist in the club’s 3-1 win on the road against Vancouver, a performance worthy of Team of the Week.

Other Tidbits

  • Atlanta United midfielder Matheus Rossetto ranks third in MLS in passing accuracy at 92% among players with a minimum of 750 passes
  • Atlanta United will be wearing the BLVCK Kit on Saturday.

It’s a 5:00 p.m. ET kickoff for Atlanta United and Chicago Fire FC on Saturday. Click here to learn all the ways to watch, listen and live stream the match.