Club de Foot Montreal play host to the Chicago Fire at Saputo Stadium on Sunday (1pm ET), as they go in search of a second win in as many games. The visitors, on the other hand, will be looking to bounce back after consecutive defeats. So how will this game unfold? Keep reading for our full MLS matchup preview with picks and betting predictions.
It has been a pretty good month for the Montreal boys, who arrive here having won two of their last three, losing just one of their last six. Such a run of results has allowed the Canadian franchise to move up to sixth in the Eastern Conference standings, though their position inside the play-off spots is far from guaranteed, so this is no time for complacency.
Unlike their hosts, the Chicago Fire haven’t been enjoying themselves of late, while their chances of making the postseason already seem to be slim. Sunday’s visitors find themselves down in 12th position, while they’ve won just one of their last five, the other four of which they’ve lost. In recent matches both defensive frailties and a lack of firepower have proved costly.
Strong at home
The key to CF Montreal’s relative success has been solid home form. When surrounded by the comforts of home, Olivier Renard’s men have generally picked up positive results, winning six, tying three and losing just two of their 11 matches at Saputo Stadium, where until recently they were unbeaten in seven. They did lose at home to Nashville recently, but they shouldn’t be judged too harshly for that. After all, it was a very tight game, one that could’ve gone either way, but one that really should’ve ended all-square.
In general, Sunday’s hosts have looked the part in their own backyard, winning five of their last seven. They are also the fourth best Western Conference team in terms of expected goals for having created an average of 1.9, while only four teams have a better average expected goal difference.
Road rage for Chicago
While playing at home has suited Sunday’s hosts, playing on the road has been disastrous for the Chicago Fire, who in terms of points accumulated, with a rather sorry average of just 0.36 points per 90, have the worst travelling record not just in the Eastern Conference but in the whole of Major League soccer.
The Fire have won just one of their 11 road games this season, while they have only managed to tie one of the other ten. Offensively, they’ve been somewhat non-existent, scoring only six times, failing to find the net on no fewer than six occasions, while their defensive resistance has been absent far too often as well. Sunday’s visitors have shipped 23 goals on the road, which though not the most in the east, is far from acceptable given their attacking troubles.
This will be the second time that the pair have come across each other this season. Earlier in the campaign (in late May), the Montreal boys travelled to Chicago, and they returned with all three points thanks to an 87th minute goal from Mason Toye. On that occasion, the Fire’s offensive weaknesses were once again exposed. They played on the front foot, created chances, fired off no less than 19 shots but a lack of end-product once again got in the way. It would be great to say that such worries were a thing of the past, but just once goal in four games ahead of this fixture shows that, if anything, things have got worse.
Side with the hosts
They may not be a huge price, but even at odds of -110 on the moneyline with the leading oddsmakers for American bettors, the hosts look a good bet. We are talking about a Montreal side that can put teams to the sword at home. They are certainly not short of goals, while they can get results. In contrast, the Fire are massively short of goals, and they’ve shown little evidence that they can grind out results on the road.
In truth, everything points towards a home win, but more than that, it points towards the hosts being a decent price. For example, Montreal boasts a pleasing average expected goal difference of +0.59 at home. The visitors have an average expected goal difference of -0.53 on their travels. There’s a 27-goal disparity (in the home team’s favour) between the goal differences of Montreal at home and Chicago on the road, and while the hosts score nearly two goals on average per home fixture, the visitors score a measly average of 0.54 away from home.
Quito to deliver
Honduran international Romell Quioto recently recovered from injury and is already starting to look as good as ever in a Montreal shirt. The forward notched last time out, while he now has two goals in his last 134 minutes for the Canadian franchise. Having found the net on his first start back last time out, the 30-year-old should be in from the start again on Sunday, and with his direct approach, an approach that yields 2.91 shots per 90 minutes, he’s backed to get on the scoresheet. After all, he’s going up against a weak visiting defence, which bodes well, as does the fact that he’s averaging 0.61 expected goals per 90 minutes in MLS this season.
So, to conclude this preview, here are USA Betting’s predictions and betting picks for this MLS game: