A Toronto FC side with a new lease of life goes in search of another much-needed win on Sunday. They play host to the Chicago Fire at BMO Field, where they’ve now won three on the spin in all competitions.
This will be the second renewal of this fixture this season. Back in July, the Canadians picked up a rare win, beating the Fire by two goals to one on the road. Now back on their own patch, they’ll be looking to double up.
Toronto FC – Resurgent hosts
For Toronto FC, a place in the postseason seems highly unlikely, though Sunday’s hosts have started to get their act together of late. Beating Nashville at home in recent weeks was certainly a positive step, as was their draw on the road against the Colorado Rapids, who’ve been very strong at times, especially on their own patch.
TFC’s move towards a more flattering Eastern Conference position continued last time out when they beat Cincinnati at this venue, scoring no less than three goals in the process. Five goals scored in their last two Major League Soccer fixtures at BMO Field signals progress for a side that has, at times, struggled offensively this season.
Expected Line-Up: Pending
with best odds
Chicago Fire – Visitors bouncing back?
As is the case for TFC, it’s probably a little too late for the Fire to do much this season, but they have at last taken a couple of steps in the right direction. In their penultimate fixture, Sunday’s visitors held Nashville SC to a draw, which isn’t the worst result in the world, while they went one better last time out, beating New York City on home soil. Those two results, against top-four opposition, should have, at the very least, increased the confidence in the Chicago camp.
The worrying thing, as has been the case for a while, is their rather terrible away form. The Fire have lost three on the spin away from home, picking up points in just one of their last six.
Expected Line-Up: Pending
Expert Pick #1 – Toronto FC to Win @+120
Both teams have picked up better results of late, so a case could be made for both, though if we examine everything, it’s hard to look beyond a home win, especially at the prices.
Yes, TFC haven’t been anywhere near the required level for most of the campaign, but they come here off the back of some solid results against decent sides, while their overall home efforts far surpass those of the visitors, who’ve been the worst travelling team in all of Major League Soccer this season.
The Chicago Fire have collected just four points away from home all campaign, losing ten out of 12. They’re average of 0.33 points per away game doesn’t really match up to Toronto’s average of 1.17 at home. Moreover, while far from excellent, Toronto’s average expected goal difference of +0.11 is far superior to the Fire’s average xG difference of -0.54, which is enough to support the hosts at the current odds.
Expert Pick #2 – Toronto FC to Score Over 1.5 Goals @+100
The scoring form of TFC has picked up of late, that’s for sure. They notched twice at home to Nashville, while they scored three against Cincinnati last time out, both of whom have more away points to their names than the Fire. Sunday’s hosts have also scored two or more in three of their last five at BMO Field, averaging a very pleasing 1.86 expected goals for.
Meanwhile, the visitors have surrendered more than two goals per game on average away from home this season, conceding two or more in defeat in each of their last three, as well as in nine out of 12 overall this term.
Expert Pick #3 – Jacob Shaffelburg to Score @+275
Youngster Jacob Shaffelburg comes into this fixture having enjoyed himself of late. He notched last time out, while he’s now scored two in his last five, and now that he’s receiving more game time, the Canadian is really starting to offer a threat. Against a weak Fire defense, the attack-minded midfielder looks a much better price to score than some of his peers. With an average of 0.39 expected goals per 90 minutes, Shaffelburg rates as TFC’s biggest threat right now, so if you’re looking for a player prop ahead of this one, look no further than a small play on the 21-year-old.
As mentioned in the preview, both teams have found some form of late, but it is the hosts that ought to be favoured here. Everything they’ve done at home has outweighed that of the visitors on the road, while they’ve picked up some encouraging home results of late against sides better than the Fire, whose overall away from points towards another tough night.