MLS has scaled down the schedule this weekeend in light of international fixtures but the Fire have returned to training ahead of their upcoming match on Wednesday against FC Dallas. With the US Open Cup Final behind them the Fire can focus on winning their last three matches, a likely requirement for MLS playoff qualification.
The Brimstone Cup will also be at stake after a 1-1 draw to start the season against the Hoops. Dallas has held possession of the Cup since 2002 but a recent run of bad form threatens a return to Chicago. More importantly, a win against Dallas on Wednesday will move the Fire back to within three points of New York and Houston.
In the only match of playoff consequnce this weekend Philadelphia travels to Seattle on Saturday. The Union can retake first place in the East with a win and essentially cement a playoff berth although I think a win in Seattle isn't likely. A loss will keep Philadelphia within reach of the chasers. Here's a look at what the competitors for playoff positioning have left along with the current standing of each:
Sporting Kansas City - 45 points, first place in the East, +7 goal differential
Remaining matches: New York, @DC United
Philadelphia - 44 points, second in the East, +7 goal differential
Remaining matches: @Seattle, Toronto FC, @New York
Columbus Crew - 44 points, third in the East, -3 goal differential
Remaining matches: @New England, @Chicago
FC Dallas - 46 points, #7 playoff seed, +2 goal differential
Remaining matches: @Chicago, Vancouver, @San Jose
Colorado - 45 points, #8 playoff seed, +2 goal differential
Remaining matches: Real Salt Lake, @Vancouver
Houston - 43 points, #9 playoff seed, 0 goal differential
Remaining matches: @Portland, Los Angeles
New York - 43 points, #10 playoff seed, +7 goal differential
Remaining matches: @Sporting KC, Philadelphia
Portland - 40 points, currently team #11, -6 goal differential
Remaining matches: Houston, @DC United, @Real Salt Lake
DC United - 38 points, currently team #12, 0 goal differential
Remaining matches: @Vancouver, Chicago, Portland, Sporting KC
Chicago - 37 points, currently team #13, 0 goal differential
Remaining matches: FC Dallas, @DC United, Columbus
There are some plausible scenarios that could see the Fire working their way into the playoffs but they will need some help. Of course, it all depends on their ability to win on Wednesday, pick up all three points, and recapture the Brimstone Cup.
CF97 Anniversary This Weekend
The Chicago Fire and Section 8 Chicago are celebrating the anniversary date of the club's introduction at the Toyota Park stadium club on Saturday 8 at 5:00 p.m. The event will include a lamb roast provided by Greek Islands, a live DJ, classic Fire games on DVD and fun and games for all ages. Entrance to the event, which includes the buffet, is $15 and will serve as a fundraiser for the Chicago Fire Foundation. For tickets click here.