Chicago Fire Might Need to Run the Table to Make MLS Postseason


chicago fire

The proverbial “run in” for the Chicago Fire is now here and it begins Saturday. The 10th place Fire (8-12-10, 34 points) currently sit within five points of a playoff position with just four games remaining in the 2019 regular season. However, the team they’re chasing, the seventh place New England Revolution, also have a game in hand on them. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that the Fire have a very favorable goal differential on the season (+1) versus the two teams sandwiched between them and the Revs: the eighth place Montreal Impact (-14) and ninth place Orlando City SC (-4). However, given the small margin for error, it’s clear that #cf97 can only afford to drop points in one of their four remaining matches.

chicago fire

They really need to get 10+ of the remaining 12 points possible in order to sneak into the 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs. If they’re ever going to win anything with a nucleus based around Bastian Schweinsteiger and Dax McCarty (arguably the two most talented players currently on the roster) it has to be right now.

Schweinsteiger is 35 and McCarty will be 33 next spring.

With the team moving back into Soldier Field next season, with greater capacity available, well, there is no better marketing device than winning. And with the MLS Cup playoffs expanded this season, even mediocre teams can get in to the dance.

So let’s look at the four games that remain for the Chicago Fire this season, and size them up.

dax mccarty

FC Dallas Sept 14

Entering the match against the Fire, FC Dallas (12-10-7, 43 points) is winless in its last three away matches. The club’s last road win occurred on July 20 in a 2-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City.

@ FC Cincinnati Sept 21

The worst team in all of Major League Soccer, and in the basement by a comfortable margin, the Chicago Fire have to do a lot more than just win this game. The Fire need to run up the score on this expansion team here. They inexcusably lost at home to Cincinnati on July 13th. 

Toronto FC Sept 29

The last game ever in Toyota Park, we’ll see if the fans turn up for this one, as attendance had been very down all season long. Maybe the Chicago Fire can give the supporters a reason to get excited? And with it maybe a deep playoff run that would bring another game or two to the stadium this fall?

bastian schweinsteiger

@ Orlando City Oct 6

Basically, this could be a de facto play-in game, like your typical game 163 in baseball. You already know how awful the Fire have been on the road this season.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No,  I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC and Chicago on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link.

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