Group B of the MLS is Back Tournament ends Thursday with a 9:00 a.m. ET kickoff between the Chicago Fire and Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Both teams lost on Sunday night but Chicago can still finish second place in the group and advance to the knockout round with a win. The Fire would be in great position to advance as one of the top-four third place teams with a draw while Vancouver likely needs to win by three or more goals to have any chance to advance.
Being in opposite conferences these teams typically play just once a season and last year they drew in Chicago 1-1. The teams alternated wins in 2018 and 2017 whiel Vancouver took back-to-back wins in 2015 and 2016.
Chicago Fire Outlook: Go For Broke
Chicago fell flat Sunday night against San Jose in a 2-0 loss in which they had just 37% of the possession. Robert Beric and Luka Stojanovic both had shots on goal but the Fire didn’t appear as loose and confident as they were against Seattle Suonders earlier in the week. Kenneth Konholm made onesave in goal on three shots faced in the loss.
In their first tournament game Chicago upset Seattle 2-1 to move into second place in the group. Beric scored the opener in the 52nd minute and after Seattle equalized, Mauricio Pineda scored the game winner for the Fire in the 84th minute.
Chicago was originally supposed to be in Group A in this tournament before Nashville SC and FC Dallas withdrew with COVID outbreaks. In Group A they had +175 odds to qualify for the knockout round which were the fifth best odds in the original group. A win would give the Fire a second-place finish behind San Jose and a likely round of 16 matchup against Portland or LAFC.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC Outlook: Breakthrough
Vancouver had a fantastic first 70 minute of this tournament with a 3-1 lead over San Jose. In the 110 minutes since they have been outscored 6-0 with a 4-3 loss to San Jose and a 3-0 loss to Seattle. Those results leave Vancouver in last place in the group with zero points and a -4 goal differential, meaning they need a big win against Chicago and a lot of help to advance.
On Sunday night Vancouver was outshot by Seattle 17-8 and put just two shots on target. David Milinkovic had one of those shots and substitute Theo Bair had the other. Keeper Maxime Crepeau allowed three goals in the first 58 minutes and was removed for backup Thomas Hasal who made one save in the final half hour.
Vancouver benefitted from an own goal in the San Jose game while Ali Adnan Kadhim and Cristian Dajome also scored. Crepeau has allowed 10 goals in the Whitecaps four games this season with 11 saves. When the tournament began and FC Dallas was still in Group B, Vancouver was last of the four in odds to win the group at +750 and last in odds to qualify for the knockout round at +100.
Chicago Fire/Vancouver Whitecaps FC Betting Lines By Scoresandstats
Chicago Fire -158 to win
Vancouver Whitecaps +338 to win
Over/Under 2.5 goals (O -121, U -108)
Neither team looked good on Sunday night but the Fire have everything to play for in the Thursday morning tilt. They can surprise the league and the group by advancing to the knockout round and should be playing under a lot less pressure after falling to San Jose on Sunday.
Go to PayPerHead247.com and bet Chicago Fire to win (-158)