In May the Chicago Fire faced a three-game road trip over the span of eight days involving flights to both coasts.
The Fire lost all three games. Losses at Vancouver (2-1), New England (2-0) and the New York Red Bulls (1-0) resulted in no points on the trip for Chicago.
Starting Friday at New York City FC (12-9-9, 45 points), the Fire (6-13-9, 27 points) begin a similar road trip. This time it will be three games in nine days with the opener being on a Friday in Yankee Stadium. A midweek trip to Seattle follows on Wednesday and the road trip closes at Columbus next Saturday.
The Fire had a more limited roster in May. That was before Michael de Leeuw, Luis Solignac or David Arshakyan arrived to add much-needed depth to the team’s attack. David Accam missed the Vancouver game due to injury and didn’t play 90 minutes for any of the three games while returning from a knee injury. Midfielder Khaly Thiam debuted in the second game of that road trip.
John Goossens missed that May road trip due to a knee injury. He will also miss Friday’s game due to a back injury.
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This upcoming road trip will start against a team that the Fire have already played twice this season. New York won the season opener 4-3 at Toyota Park. Just over a month later the teams played to a scoreless draw in Yankee Stadium.
“Of course they are a very good team,” Fire coach Veljko Paunovic said. “They are in a very good spot in the league so it’s going to be tough. They have very important, very good players, experienced guys playing together a long time, for a couple of seasons. The momentum they are leaving is actually very good. Against all these adversities we have to work and prepare and then perform. I believe we will do that. I believe we can win the game."
NYCFC is two points behind Eastern Conference leader Toronto, but Toronto has a game in hand. Frank Lampard, who has 12 goals in 18 appearances this season, will be out with a calf injury. Lampard also missed the two previous meetings with the Fire.
“We know that everyone in this league so far we can see that everyone in this league is beatable," Paunovic said.
In addition to Goossens, goalkeeper Matt Lampson is out with a toe injury. De Leeuw is still listed as questionable due to the ankle sprain that kept him out last week against D.C.