Our prediction for this MLS match:
Sunday’s football game at Soldier Field pits together Chicago Fire and Philadelphia Union, the two teams who are almost level on points in the Eastern Conference. Chicago Fire aim to build on a 2-1 win over Minnesota United, but this game will be anything but a walk in the park for the home side. Star midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri remains in the recovery room alongside the likes of Victor Bezerra, Justin Reynolds, Federico Navarro, and Jairo Torres.
The U’s, meanwhile, are eager to put an end to their four-game winless run. Philadelphia have been underperforming at the start of the season, but they are surely capable of holding Shaqiri-less Chicago to a draw. Defender Kai Wagner remains on the sidelines with a hamstring problem, but he should be the only absentee in the visiting team. Hungary international Daniel Gazdag is pushing for a start.
Highlighted Player (Xherdan Shaqiri):
Another impressive player who emigrated to Switzerland, Xherdan Shaqiri is a midfielder with excellent technical qualities, very strong in taking players on and creating chances for his teammates, while also being a danger from set pieces. The Serbian-born footballer formed an excellent midfielder pairing with Granit Xhaka at FC Basel, before making a high-profile move to Bayern Munich in the summer of 2012.
Shaqiri went on to prove a great deal of potential at Allianz Arena, scoring 11 goals in 52 Bundesliga matches, but he decided to leave in search of first team football, first joining Inter Milan and then moving to Stoke City. It was at Britannia Stadium that the attacking midfielder rediscovered his form and if he continues playing at such a high level, it won’t be long before he returns to the biggest stage.
Even when he was not playing regularly at club level, Shaqiri would always reserve his best performances for the national team, as witnessed by 17 goals in first 50 caps. The midfielder was especially impressive at the 2014 World Cup finals, where he scored no fewer than three goals.
Highlighted Team (Philadelphia Union):
Based in Chester, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Union is an American soccer club that compete in Major League Soccer. The U have been participating in MLS since 2010, but they have yet to win the domestic trophy. Philadelphia welcome their opponents at Talen Energy Stadium, the venue that was opened on June 27, 2010 and current capacity of the stadium is 18.500.
The U made it to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final on two occasions (2014, 2015), but they were beaten by Seattle Sounders and Sporting Kansas City respectively in the title games. The likes of D.C. United and New York Red Bulls are regarded as the club’s fiercest rivals, but they share a rivalry with Seattle Sounders as well.
Philadelphia’s colors are navy blue and gold, but they wear white shirts and white socks when playing on the road. USA international Freddy Adu is one of the most notable footballers who player for the U in the past. The former Benfica man scored seven goals in 37 appearances for Philadelphia Union in MLS.