Two underachieving sides will face off then the San Jose Earthquakes host the Chicago Fire at the Avaya Stadium on Saturday.
San Jose are in the ninth spot in the Western Conference. They have won just three games all season, and they are two points adrift of a playoff spot. The start of the season was a nightmare for them. They lost their first four games, conceding 14 goals in the process. In reply, they managed to score just twice. They were sitting in the last spot then. Since then, the form has improved somewhat.
The Earthquakes have lost just once in the last five games. That loss came last week as New England beat them 3-1. It was a comprehensive defeat, and San Jose were thoroughly outplayed. The game before that they beat Cincinnati 1-0 to claim their third win of the season. A win on Saturday could put San Jose into the playoff spots if other results go their way in the meantime.
San Jose have conceded 22 goals this season, which is the second-most in the Western Conference. Only last-placed Colorado have conceded more this season. They have kept just two clean sheets all season, but two of them have come in the last three games. Winger Shea Salinas is their top scorer with four goals, and he will be crucial to their chances against Chicago.
Chicago are in a similar situation to San Jose, albeit in the Eastern Conference. They are in the eighth spot, outside the playoff spots on the tie-breaker. The Fire have 16 points, which is the same as Toronto and Columbus. Seventh place is the last one for playoff qualification, and Chicago will be hoping to get there in the end. After a poor start to the season, their performances have improved drastically.
Chicago are unbeaten in their last three games, winning two of them. Last week they played Minnesota United and won 2-0. The week before that, they handed a 5-0 mauling to New England. Nemanja Nikolic scored twice in that game, which took his tally to 5 for the season. The Hungarian international is their top scorer this season. Aside from Nikolic, C. J. Sapong has scored four goals this campaign.
Chicago dominates the head to head record. They have won the last three meetings between these sides. The previous meeting was in June 2018, when Chicago prevailed 2-1. Chicago are the better side in terms of recent form as well. But their away form is a worry. Chicago have failed to find the back of the net in their last three away games. They have scored four away goals all season.
San Jose Earthquakes vs Chicago Fire Prediction
It will be a close game, but Chicago will go as slight favorites. The game will see few goals, and expect to see less than 2.5 goals in total. Chicago is in great form, and the odds are on them to secure a narrow win.