Our prediction for this MLS match:
Orlando City will be aiming to stay in the playoffs berth when they take on Chicago Fire at Exploria Stadium. The Lions failed to win the previous three league fixtures, but the bookies still see them as favourites to win Sunday’s encounter. Both Adam Grinwis and Abdi Salim continue to miss out through injuries, but there are no suspended players in the home team.
Chicago Fire, meanwhile, proved their worth in back-to-back wins over Portland Timbers and Sporting Kansas City, but beating Orlando City on the road is easier said than done. Taking everything into account, the share of spoils is on the cards at Exploria Stadium. You should bear in mind that under 2.5 goals have been netted in each of the previous three meetings between the two sides in the Major League Soccer. Both Javier Casas Jr. and Chris Mueller should be the only absentees in the away team.
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 (Orlando City):
Orlando City are a member of the Eastern Conference in Major League Soccer. The Lions have been participating in the major league since 2015 and they host their rivals at Orlando City Stadium. The venue was opened in February, 2017 and the construction of the stadium cost $155 million. Orlando City finished the 2015 MLS season in seventh place in the Eastern Conference and they failed to make it to the play-offs in the 2016 season as well (8th place).
Brazilian ace Kaka is undisputedly the club’s most famous player and the former Real Madrid and Milan man became the highest-paid player in MLS history. His base salary was $6.6 million per year and it has to be noted that the Brazilian superstar found the net on his Orlando City debut against FC Dallas (friendly). Orlando City’s home kit is violet, while they wear white and violet shirts and white socks on the travels. The club’s official mascot is Kingston the Lion.