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Keeping the Dream Alive: Toronto FC vs Chicago Fire

Gilberto is back in town, and even though the Fire sacked their coach barely a week ago - they're still pretty bad, surprisingly.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

TFC's win against Colorado was a much-needed shot in the arm. Things aren't exactly smooth sailing from here on out, but there's no need to sound the alarm either. The Reds have 6 games remaining, and taking 5 more points from those games could very well see TFC into the playoffs. Scraping in isn't exactly the dream, but it's better than dropping out of the race entirely.

Match Talking Points

Strikers who leave BMO field invariably improve, and when they come back to Toronto, they score goals. See Gordon, Alan; Barrett, Chad; Amarikwa, Quincy and many more for further proof. Now, Ol' Gil is coming back to where he got his MLS start. Odds are, he makes us pay for letting him go.

TFC still have some pretty good DP's though. Sebastian Giovinco could very well set an MLS record for the best offensive output (combined goals/assists) in a single season. He's two goals away from sole possession TFC's second leading goal scorer. Of all time.

That says something about our historical offensive output, but also about the man himself. He's also likely to be the first MLS player to post 20 goals and 10 assists in a season. I know we sometimes lament our institutionalized lack of success, but we've brought the best player in MLS to BMO field. That's definitely something.

In TFC's incredible favour, Chicago are coming off a tough loss to Montreal on Wednesday night. TFC are also likely to get some players back from injury, including Jackson - who before his injury looked like a possible long-term solution at right back.

TFC XI

football formations

My guess is TFC return to the flat 4-4-2, look to exploit Chicago's mistake-prone backline and rampaging fullback in Joevin Jones. Findley and Jackson will get up the field and swing balls into the middle - that width could provide the impetus TFC need to get 3 points.

Keys to the Game

Putting pressure on Chicago from the early moments will be important for the Reds. When Michael Bradley has those willing runners - Robbie Findley on the right and Sebastian Giovinco flaring out to the left - good things happen. Taking advantage of Chicago's weak backline is a must.

TFC must also beware of the speed that Chicago have. Igboananike, David Accam, and Patrick Nyarko all have pace to burn - something TFC don't exactly have. The counter attack must be stopped - and the central midfield pairing will have work to do to stop it.

The game kicks off at 2 PM on TSN. Be sure to check out Know Your Enemy and put your predictions in to Are you Smarter than Ryan Nelsen.