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Fire put shutout streak on line at Earthquakes

(Image: Twitter/@chicagofire)

The Chicago Fire will try to extend their unbeaten streak to four games with a third straight win when they play at the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.

Chicago goalkeeper David Ousted, who has three consecutive shutouts, will need to be strong again in the absence of German World Cup champion Bastian Schweinsteiger and midfielder Nicolas Gaitan.

Schweinsteiger, who moved from midfield to the backline earlier this season, will serve a suspension for yellow card accumulation. Gaitan had two goals and two assists in the past two matches but is out with a thigh injury.

“We’ve got more options,” said Fire defender Johan Kappelhof.

“(Schweinsteiger) is out now, but we’ve got quality to replace him. That’s a good strength we have this year. Even with injuries and suspensions, we can solve that. It’s on the coach what he’s going to do, but whoever is on the field, we’re all able to play and we all have quality.”

The Fire (4-4-4, 16 points) have not allowed a goal in 277 minutes for the eighth-longest streak in team history. They can match the franchise record of four straight shutouts set in 2009.

Prior to falling 3-1 to New England on Saturday, the Earthquakes (3-6-2, 11 points) were 2-0-2 in their previous four games and seemed to be on the right track after opening the season with four losses.

San Jose coach Matias Almeyda remained optimistic after the match against the Revolution.

“We committed the same mistakes we made at the beginning of the season, but we still played a great match,” he said.

Earthquakes midfielder Jackson Yueill said the key against Chicago is the counterattack.

“When we are able to stop them, we then need to be able to deliver it to our attackers because they’re also very dangerous,” he said. “We need to go from our half to their half much quicker and under control.”

REUTERS/Field Level Media

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