Fire's Final Playoff Gasp Begins Tonight

The Fire aren't in action on the playing field tonight but the match between the Portland Timbers and DC United in Washington this evening will play a part in deciding whether or not the Fire's playoff hopes will still be alive after the final whistle against the Crew on Saturday night.

The expansion Timbers are tied on points with the Fire at 40 but trail in goal differential with a minus 8 total.  DC United is currently sitting on 38 points and a minus 2 goal differential.  Both clubs have one final match this weekend.  Portland will travel to Utah to face Real Salt Lake while DC hosts Sporting Kansas City on Saturday night.  The best possible result tonight would probably be a draw since both sides can max out at a point total higher than the Fire's maximum of 43 points.

A draw tonight coupled with a multiple goal Red Bulls loss in Philadelphia would put the Fire in position to claim the tenth playoff spot with a multiple goal win against the Crew.  Chicago must overcome a goal differential lead of 5  6 in order to surpass New York.

If all of that miraculously happens Fire supporters will sit and hope that Portland doesn't come up with a road victory at Rio Tinto once the Columbus match has concluded.

Wednesday Notes

Cuauhtemoc Blanco is back in the US tonight as Irapuato faces NASL side Atlanta Silverbacks in a friendly.

Here are the early injury reports for the Columbus match:

CHICAGO FIRE -- OUT: MF Gabriel Ferrari (L knee ACL reconstruction); DF Steven Kinney (sports hernia); DOUBTFUL: FW Cristian Nazarit (L quad strain); MF Michael Videira (L groin strain)

COLUMBUS CREW -- DOUBTFUL: MF Tony Tchani (R knee surgery); QUESTIONABLE: MF Robbie Rogers (R hamstring strain); PROBABLE: FW Tommy Heinemann (lower back strain); MF Danny O'Rourke (L knee tightness); DF Rich Balchan (abdominal strain)

I'm pleased to announce that Jeff Krause will be joining Fire Confidential as a contributor this week.  Jeff writes about the Fire at Total-mls.com and you know him here as DFBJeff.  I won't be able to attend this weekend and Jeff will be providing the post game coverage of the Columbus match.  Welcome Jeff!

Comments

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  • GD against Portland doesn't matter, the Fire lose that tiebreak by losing the head to head series.

    We must make up a 6 goal differential against NY because we lose the goals scored tiebreak.

  • In reply to iron81:

    You're right......Fire will lose a tie on points against Portland because of the head to head tie-breaker.

    Fire also can't tie New York in goal differential...they will indeed need to pick up 6 goals in differential.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    That's 6 goals if Philly doesn't win, right? If they loose, that GD can go up. Let's hope Philly wins by 5!

  • In reply to dustbin:

    If Philly doesn't win it's all over. If Philly beats New York by 5 all the Fire need to do to is beat Columbus 1-0 and hope the Timbers don't win one of their remaining two games.

  • MLS expansion draft set for November 23......

    http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2011/10/19/mls-releases-details-montreal-expansion-draft

  • Hey GR, been reading for awhile. Decieded to join the conversation. They expansion draft scares me, I feel that the Fire accually have a good amount of young talent. I know that Gen Adidas players dont need to be protected, I was wondering if Sean Johnson is still a Gen Adidas player.

    Also I personally feel that Orr Barouch can be a solid player. Any word on how long his loan is, or if they will have an option to keep him after the loan is up?

    Thanks

  • In reply to KChance:

    Thanks for joining in KChance. Sean Johnson is still GA but there's no doubt he will graduate from the program after this season due to minutes played. Barouch's loan expires at the end of the season but the Fire have the option to buy.

  • Grazzzini is still struggling with a hamstring problem and could miss Saturday's game according to Sam........

    http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2011/10/19/fire-notebook-grazzini-hurt-may-not-play-season-finale

  • The Fire get the result they wanted!

    DC and Portland play to a 1-1 draw. DC United is eliminated in the process.

  • part one is complete - DC and portland drew 1-1, best result possible for the Fire

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    Improbably events falling into place. Hmm.... IF the Fire, IFFFF... they get a second life in the playoffs. We better make the best of it. lol.

  • Hard to believe DC didn't fold after conceding a goal in the first half. If Philly can clobber NYRB who will be without Henry due to his red catd last Saturday, Saturday night could be very fun.

  • Still an uphill battle, but I'm glad to see our hopes aren't dashed going into Saturday night. With Philly playing for 1st in the East and NYRB fighting for a playoff spot, I'm guessing we're going to see a pretty intense game tonight. Looking forward to it, and *gulp*.....rooting on the Union.

    Big thanks to Guillermo for the introduction and opportunity as well. Looking forward to contributing to Fire Confidential and adding to the already-great content GR provides.

  • I'm wondering who will the Fire protect in the draft, I see 13 must keep players, Anibaba, Barouch, Chaves, Gargan, Gibbs, Grazzini, Johnson, Nyarko, Oduro, Pappa, Pardo, Pause, and Segares.
    I imagine that all are subject to the draft, so it looks like the Fire may lose one of it's starters. They probably could lose a defender, with Cuesta and Mikulic in the mix. Hopefully they won't protect Banner or any other lightweight, like last year when they protected Banner and let go of Lowry. That move alone probably cost the Fire a playoff spot, not that Lowry's that great, but he's better than any other of the Fire's second string mid-fielders, which probably cost a point or two in the standings. If they let go of Barouch, the F.O. should be hung, burned and castrated

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    Haha, Agreed. I think that Barouch could have a huge future with the Fire. Of those players i think that Chaves would be one of the ones taken off the list. I'm also not sure if we need to protect Pardo bc he seems like he only wants to play here, and you'd wonder how much Montreal would be interested in such an old player. I would be disappointed as well to see MIkulic go.

  • In reply to colton:

    That's a good point. Some of the strategy involved in deciding who's protected includes guessing which players Montreal won't be interested in for whatever reason.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    Totally agree with protecting Lowry over Banner last season.

    I haven't thought about the protected list yet but those decisions will need to be made very soon.

  • barouch is on loan and his loan expires at the end of the season so we will probably not have to protect him unless frankie pays a transfer to keep him.

  • Each team can protect 11 plus its Gen Addidas and DPs right? Is there a limit in the number of players the Impact can take from each team? It seems to me the Fire have been very unwise in their expansion protection lists in the past. Maybe they will learn a lesson this year?

  • In reply to Krasov:

    Each team can protect 11 plus GA and homegrown players are automatically protected. DP's don't have to be protected unless they have on trade clauses.

    Each team can only lose one player to Montreal.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    to be fair, the fire made a great choice in not protecting thorrington last year. how many matches did he actually play in this season?

  • MLS re-entry draft set for December 5 and 12......

    http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2011/10/20/mls-announces-re-entry-draft-set-dec-5-and-12

    Fire acquired Cory Gibbs through this process last year.

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