First place in Group F is on the line this Sunday night when the Chicago Fire take on the San Jose Earthquakes. The winner of this match will guarantee themselves a spot in the knockout rounds since both clubs have a victory already, and a draw would likely be enough to send both teams through to the Round of 16 as well. That was very unexpected considering the defending MLS Cup champion Seattle Sounders were in this group, but the Sounders are 0-1-1 and unlikely to make it out of the Group Stage.
Don't miss the Major League Soccer action starting at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 19, 2020. Catch every moment of the match live on FS1
MLS Betting Odds at BookMaker.eu
San Jose Earthquakes +260
Chicago Fire FC +115
Over/Under 2.5 and 3
Chicago stunned Seattle in its opener on Tuesday morning. The Fire were heavy underdogs to the Sounders, but they punished Seattle for their defensive mistakes. Robert Beric made the most of an error from Xavier Arreaga to put the Fire ahead 1-0, and Mauricio Pineda buried a cross off a corner kick into the back of the net to give this team a 2-1 victory. Those three points were massive, and that could give Chicago a path to the knockout rounds. This club hasn’t won a postseason game since 2009, so they are itching at the chance to end that streak.
It would be something if Chicago went on to win the MLS is Back Tournament given the huge turnover this roster underwent in the offseason. Fan favorite Bastian Schweinsteiger retired, and Nemanja Nikolic, Dax McCarty, Grant Lillard, Nicolas Gaitan, and Aleksandar Katai all left in the offseason.
San Jose played Seattle to a draw in its opener, as both clubs were unable to find the back of the net despite a myriad of opportunities. However, the Earthquakes pulled off a stunning victory over Vancouver on Wednesday to take control of the group.
The Quakes didn’t lead until the last possible moment. They fell behind 2-0 early in the match, but Andy Rios’ goal just before halftime gave them some life. The Whitecaps scored to extend their lead to 3-1 once more, but then San Jose took things to the next level. Chris Wondolowski and Oswaldo Alanis scored to draw even with Vancouver before Shea Salinas won it nine minutes into added time. San Jose outshot Vancouver 25-6 and put 13 shots on frame compared to two for the Whitecaps, but they had a difficult time getting the win.
Marcos Lopez will miss this match as he recovers from an appendectomy he underwent at the beginning of the month. However, neither side has other injuries to report given the time off, and they will look to stay injury free on Sunday night.
Player to Watch
Wondolowski became the all-time leading scorer in MLS history last season, and nearly all of his goals have come as a member of San Jose. He has notched at least 10 goals in ten straight seasons, so it’s a shame that streak will come to an end due to the nature of this tournament. Although Wondo is 37, he has shown he still has what it takes to succeed in this league, and he looked rejuvenated in 2019. He can score in a variety of ways, so Chicago must be wary of him no matter where he is on the pitch.
Free Soccer Betting Pick
This match will likely be a bit more defensive as both teams will play cautiously. San Jose is a nice play at this price though.
Major League Soccer Odds: San Jose Earthquakes 2, Chicago Fire FC 1
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