The Chicago Fire came into the weekend as one of only two teams in the conference already assured a spot in the playoffs, but with a chance to move into a tie atop the East if they could pull out a road win against New England and Sporting KC lost to the Red Bulls.
The Revolution found the only strike of the match in the 17th minute as Fagundez latched onto a feed from Kelyn Rowe in the middle of the park. The Uruguayan-born, Massachusetts-bred forward dribbled into space and lashed a driven shot that beat Sean Johnson at the far post to give the Revs a 1-0 advantage over the Men in Red.
New England nearly doubled its lead in the 20th minute as a corner kick bounced around the 18-yard box before rookie Fire defender Austin Berry cleared the ball from danger.
The Fire went into the break trailing 1-0 and emerged from the locker room in search of an equalizer. The Fire found an opportunity in the 60th minute on the counter when Flaco Fernandez picked up a loose ball in the middle of the park. The Uruguayan midfielder sprinted into space and fed Rolfe on his left, however, the Revs recovered and knocked the ball out for a Fire corner kick.
In the 72nd minute the Fire nearly found the elusive goal. Fernandez played a simple through ball to Segares inside the 18-yard box. The Costa Rican defender was in on goal but his left-footed shot sprayed wide of frame.
The result, combined with D.C. United’s stoppage time go-ahead goal over the Crew, pushed Chicago down to third place in the standings with United leapfrogging them by a point into second, at least for one week.
The stage is now set for a showdown in next Saturday’s regular season finale between the Fire and United for that coveted second seed. But with only four points separating 2-5 in the standings, seeding is totally up for grabs as the final weekend looms.
One thing is clear: the Fire control their own destiny. United, unbeaten in its last 6 matches, will be a tough task coming off a flat performance and disappointing loss, but the Fire have only lost three at home this season and the stakes are high. A win will move them back into second with home field advantage in the semifinals. A draw will at least keep them out of the bottom two and the opening knockout round of the playoffs.
This quote from Logan Pause sums it up from here on out:
“The rest of the games now are going to be a dogfight. Sometimes it’s not the prettiest soccer, but you’ve got to fight and claw and know that every point. Every possession matters, every point matters, and you know it’s going to be no different next Saturday against D.C.”