Orlando City earned a win in their midweek match against D.C United, but they won’t have much time to process their success. They return to the pitch on Sunday to face off against the Chicago Fire, one of the best teams in MLS at the moment. But the Lions aren’t intimidated and they plan to carry the momentum from their win on Wednesday into Sunday’s match.
Taking down the Chicago Fire will not be easy. The team is undefeated in their last five matches and they have an impressive roster that includes players like Bastian Schweinsteiger, Nemanja Nikolic, and David Accam. But Giles Barnes said the team isn’t afraid.
“They’re a rejuvenated team from the past couple of seasons. They’ve got a really good midfield, they’ve got something really going there. They work hard, they possess the ball, and they’re a team playing with confidence. But we should have no fear of anyone,” Barnes said. “We feel we’re good enough to compete and beat anyone in the league, and that’s the attitude we have to take.”
“Very, very dangerous team, I think in really good form at the moment, feeling good about themselves, a couple of really strong results in the past couple of games. Schweinsteiger in the midfield, probably Juninho as well with McCarty with the national team, so strength in the center of the midfield and guys that can score goals and make plays up top,” Head Coach Jason Kreis said after training this week. “So, really dangerous opponent for us and a difficult situation with us having played a midweek game and them not.”
One name that keeps coming up is Schweinsteiger. The decorated midfielder has had a long career with the German National Team, Bayern Munich, and most recently, Manchester United. The Fire acquired Schweinsteiger earlier in the season, something that was huge not only for their team, but for the league.
“He’s a great player, there’s not really much else you can say,” Barnes said. “We have to get in and around him, don’t let him have time, don’t let him have space. Make sure our midfielders are locked on. But I think we’ll be fine.”
Orlando City has never lost the Chicago Fire. In their two years in MLS, the Lions have faced the Fire five times, earning two wins and three draws. For Kreis, the momentum that they gained from the midweek win is important. And they have to continue to build on it as they head into the summer.
“We need to. We need to. It’s not enough just to win one game and go away,” Kreis said. “We have to build on that. We have to build on all the positives we had there, correct some of the negatives. If we do that, we’ll have a good chance.”