Chicago Fire vs. Nashville SC – MLS, September 26, 2021
Remember what happened when Nashville hosted Chicago back in July? That’s right, Gary Smith’s men crushed the Fire 5-1, with Hany Mukhtar netting the fastest hat-trick in Major League Soccer history.
Funnily enough, the team from Tennessee claimed another 5-1 thrashing on Wednesday. Mukhtar stole the show once again, bagging a brace in the midweek rout of Inter Miami.
Talk about omens!
Chicago welcomes Nashville to Soldier Field on Sunday, September 26, with a colossal 21-point gap between the two sides. While Chicago is languishing at the bottom end of the Eastern Conference, Nashville is sitting pretty in second place.
In this betting preview, I discuss the odds for Sunday’s showdown before analyzing the teams. I then share my Chicago Fire vs. Nashville SC prediction, along with a betting pick.
Chicago Fire vs. Nashville SC Odds
Although the MLS betting sites think this will be a tight encounter, there is no hiding from the fact that Nashville (2.40) is miles ahead of Chicago (2.80) at the moment.
Sure, the bookies still expect Smith’s side to claim all three points, but they also believe the Fire will put up a decent fight.
Considering what happened the last time these two sides met, the handicap markets are definitely worth considering here. Nashville ripped Chicago to shreds back in July, so we could see plenty of goals on Sunday.
Can Chicago Avoid Another Defeat?
On Wednesday, Raphael Wicky’s men suffered their fourth straight defeat, going down 3-2 to the Revs. Having also lost to Sporting KC, DC United, and CF Montreal this month, things are looking pretty bleak for Chicago.
Ultimately, Chicago isn’t scoring enough goals. Luka Stojanovic has netted seven times this season, but his nearest challengers – Robert Beric and Ignacio Aliseda – have only managed to score three goals apiece.
At the opposite end of the field, Wicky’s men can’t stop conceding. They have let in 43 goals across 26 games this year, meaning they have the third-worst defensive record in the conference.
Will Nashville Win Big Again?
There is no denying, of course, that New England has been the best team in Major League Soccer this season. Yet, when it comes to discussing the second-best side, Nashville has to be in the conversation.
Following Wednesday’s thrashing of Inter Miami, Smith’s men have now won four of their last five matches. They have also lost just two of their previous 17, underlining their relentless efforts at both ends of the pitch.
Since netting that six-minute hat-trick against Chicago, Mukhtar has been electric. The German scored a double against the Herons in midweek, taking his tally to 12 goals and eight assists across 24 MLS outings this year.
With CJ Sapong (10 goals, 4 assists) and Randall Leal (4 goals, 5 assists) also in red-hot form, Nashville could enjoy a field day in Chicago.
My Prediction for Chicago vs. Nashville
Nashville totally humiliated Chicago in July – and I expect a similar outcome this time around.
Since their previous meeting, the Boys in Gold haven’t stopped dominating their opponents. The Fire, meanwhile, have continued to lose games and fall down the standings.
I can see the team from Tennessee recording another high-scoring victory in Illinois, with Mukhtar playing a starring role. The Nashville forward will surely be licking his lips at the prospect of exposing Chicago’s leaky backline once again.
Chicago Fire vs. Nashville SC Betting Pick
Nashville SC (-1)5.00
If you’re looking for a safe bet, backing Nashville at 2.40 still offers good value. But if you feel like making a serious profit this weekend, I recommend going with the handicap win.
As well as crushing Chicago 5-1 last time around, Smith’s men did exactly the same thing to Inter Miami on Wednesday. They shouldn’t struggle to win by two clear goals on Sunday.