Our football match prediction:
Columbus Crew welcome Chicago Fire at their MAPFRE Stadium in the opening match of the season. The Crew failed to impress in the 2016 MLS campaign, with the team finishing the season in 18th place in the overall table. Coach Gregg Berhalter, though, managed to keep his job and he is certainly eager to help the team record a good result in the forthcoming season. The club chiefs did not make too many changes to the squad in winter and it remains to be seen if the hosts are capable of picking up all three points from Saturday’s football match against Chicago Fire. Veljko Paunovic’s troops failed to impress in the 2016 season as well, with the team collecting only 31 points from possible 102 in the regular season. Chicago are not regarded as good travelers and, taking everything into account, we predict that the Crew will kick off the new season with a victory.
Highlighted Player (Nemanja Nikolic):
Serbian-born 28-year-old striker Nemanja Nikolic is the Hungarian international currently playing Legia Warsaw. Nikolic began his career at Serbian side FK Senta, but his professional debut came in Hungarian club Barcs where he spent one year before he moved to Kaposvoglye. His career took a turn upwards upon the arrival to Kaposvar in 2008. Nikolic managed to notch thirty goals in just 49 appearances, attracting attention from Hungarian biggest sides. His fine form earned him a transfer to heavyweights Videoton in 2010. Almost 150 matches later and 87 goals to hi name, Nemanja Nikolic joined Polish giants Legia, where he continued his fine form by finishing the 2015-16 Ekstraklasa season as the league’s top scorer with 28 goals in 37 matches. Hungarian striker has been linked with a move away from Legia with Premier League sides such as Hull City expressing interest in acquiring his services, but Nikolic remained with his club to take part in Legia’s Champions League campaign.
Highlighted Team (Chicago Fire):
Based in the suburb of Bridgeview, Illinois, Chicago Fire are a professional soccer club who compete in Major League Soccer. Chicago Fire were founded on October 8, 1997 and one year later they won the MLS Cup by beating D.C. United (2-0) in the title game. The club play their home games at Toyota Park, the venue that was opened on June 11, 2006. Chicago Fire won four U.S. Open Cups (1998, 2000, 2003 and 2006) and in 2009 they were beaten by UANL Tigres in the North American Superliga final. The likes of Chris Armas, DeMarcus Beasley, Brian McBride, Eric Wynalda and Frank Klopas are some of the notable footballers who played for Chicago Fire in the past. It has to be noted that a number of veterans were part of the club as well: Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Pavel Pardo, Piotr Nowak, Hristo Stoichkov and Lubos Kubik. The club’s official coloures are red and white and they are nicknamed Men in Red. Veljko Paunovic, who won the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup with Serbia, is one of the club’s most famous coaches.