Cristian Espinoza - Team of the Week
SJEarthquakes.com

MATCH PREVIEW: Quakes face shorthanded Chicago Fire on Saturday

The San Jose Earthquakes welcome the Chicago Fire to Avaya Stadium on Saturday afternoon. How well the Quakes have fared against the Windy City side depends on which statistics you look at. San Jose has dropped each of its last three matches to the Fire, being outscored 7-2. However, the Earthquakes have lost just one of their last five home matches in this series (3-1-1).

The Fire have had an up-and-down season but are riding high on a three-game unbeaten streak heading into Saturday. The impressive run includes a surprising 0-0 road draw at LAFC and confident home wins over New England (5-0) and Minnesota (2-0). Chicago hasn’t allowed a goal since the 83rd minute on April 28, a span of 277 minutes.

Despite their sudden turnaround, the Fire have had mixed results on the road in 2019, going 0-3-2 through five matches so far. However, all five road matches to date have come against current playoff sides.

The Fire will be without two of their veteran leaders on Saturday. Bastian Schweinsteiger, a FIFA World Cup champion with Germany in 2014, will be serving a one-match suspension stemming from yellow card accumulation. Argentine midfielder Nicolas Gaitan, who is the reigning MLS Player of the Week, suffered a hamstring injury on Saturday and is expected to miss a few weeks.

Keep an eye on forward Nemanja Nikolic, who scored 39 goals from 2017-18, and won the 2017 MLS Golden Boot with 24. He has scored a team-high five goals this season.

Saturday’s match kicks off at 12:30 p.m. PT and will be broadcast live on Univision, KNBR 1050 and 1370 KZSF.

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