The two teams immediately ahead of the Fire in the Eastern Conference standings faced off tonight in New York. The Red Bulls defeated Toronto FC 1-0 to move 10 points ahead of the Fire. New York, however has played three more matches than Chicago. By the time the Fire kicks off next Wednesday against New England the Red Bulls would have played four more matches. New York hosts the Galaxy on Saturday night.
Toronto is currently only 5 points ahead of the Fire having played three more matches. While Toronto will also be involved in CONCACAF Champion's League play their remaining MLS matches include a rematch with New York followed by Real Salt Lake, at Dallas, at Fire, DC, at Houston, San Jose, at Seattle, at Chivas, Columbus, and at DC.
If the Fire pick up all three points next Wednesday the pressure will be on TFC to begin earning results quickly to avoid being overrun by the Western Conference sides. Only the first two finishers in each conference table are guaranteed playoff spots. Columbus is too far ahead to seriously consider the Fire as a first place threat.