FC Cincinnati travel to the Windy City to take on Chicago Fire FC this Saturday, May 14 from Soldier Field. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT as the Orange and Blue look to continue on the momentum of the club’s first MLS three-game win streak.
Chicago’s young goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina has been a standout for the Fire, earning both national and international attention since breaking onto the scene last season. At 17 years, 81 days last year on August 4 vs. New York City FC, he became the youngest goalkeeper in MLS history to appear in a game.
Slonina has been as good as advertised this season, his five clean sheets are tied with LA Galaxy’s Jonathan Bond and Orlando City’s Pedro Gallese for the most in MLS.
Chicago has been shown four red cards this season, the most in MLS. Jhon Durán and Rafael Czichos each received red cards in a four-minute span against the New York Red Bulls on April 30, and are available for selection after missing last Saturday’s game at Atlanta United FC.
According to StatsPerform, FC Cincinnati midfielder Acosta leads MLS in expected assists by a significant margin. He enters Saturday at 6.32 xA, well ahead of Columbus midfielder Lucas Zelarayán, who is second in the category in MLS, at 3.72 xA.
For as strong as Slonina and the Chicago defense has been, as the Fire have conceded just 11 goals this season, their offense has been lacking. The Fire’s seven goals scored this season are tied with Vancouver for the fewest scored in MLS in 2022. That’s less than one-third of what LAFC, the league-leaders in goals scored this season, have scored so far (23).
Chicago defender Miguel Navarro is tied for the league-lead in interceptions at 29 along with Philadelphia’s Nathan Harriel. However, FC Cincinnati will not have to face him on Saturday. The 23-year-old Venezuelan picked up his fifth yellow card of the season last week at Atlanta, which means he will have to serve a one-game suspension as a result.
FC Cincinnati lead MLS in creating chances this season, with 107 key passes distributed. That’s three more than Atlanta United, whose 104 chances created ranks second. Key in the key passes category for FC Cincinnati has been the captain, Luciano Acosta. His 42 chances created this season ranks atop the leaderboard in MLS, nine more than the 33 key passes New England’s Carles Gil has distributed.
By The Numbers is presented by CTI.