With only two games remaining in the 2009 regular season, the second-place Chicago Fire is heading into this Saturday's match at the New England Revolution with one goal in mind: win, and clinch a spot in the MLS Cup playoffs.
"The important thing is if we can get that little asterisk next to our name that means we've qualified for the playoffs," said Fire Head Coach Denis Hamlett. "We control our own destiny. We're not relying on anybody else and we know the importance of getting a good result this Saturday."
But the Fire, who has gone 1-0-1 in two previous meetings with the Revolution, can still qualify for the playoffs without getting a win in New England. Here's a full breakdown of their playoff situation.
**If the Fire wins -**
If the Fire wins the scenario is plain and simple - they qualify for the playoffs in second place in the Eastern Conference. Qualifying for the playoffs as the Eastern Conference runners-up would mean that the Fire would face off against the Eastern Conference's third seed - currently New England - in the first round of the postseason.
**If the Fire ties -**
If the Fire plays the Revolution to a draw on Saturday evening, they will need a little help to clinch their spot in the playoffs. The team will clinch with a draw if all of the following occur:
1) D.C. United fails to win against league-leading Columbus
2) FC Dallas fails to win against Colorado
3) Real Salt Lake fails to win at Toronto FC
**If the Fire lose -**
If the Fire falls to the Revolution they will be unable to clinch a spot in the playoffs this weekend. Should the Fire falter in New England, their final chance to clinch would come next Thursday when the club takes on Chivas USA at Toyota Park in the regular season finale.
I'll be back a little later in the day with a full Fire vs. New England match preview, so stay tuned for that.