5 Things You Should Know About Wednesday's Game vs. Philadelphia
1) Logan turns 300 – If he steps on the field tonight, Fire captain Logan Pause will continue to chip away at C.J. Brown’s Fire record 372 competitive appearances, fittingly making his 300th in the Anniversary Game vs. Philadelphia.
One of the fittest players to ever suit up for the Men in Red, Pause has to this point averaged 29.9 competitive appearances since 2003, with tonight’s game putting him at an even 30 average over his 10 game career.
The second-year captain set a personal record of 34 appearances just last season. Sitting at 28 on the season heading into Wednesday night’s game, Pause could still break that record before the end of the year.
The Breakdown: 255 in Major League Soccer (2nd all-time), 13 in MLS Cup Playoffs (tied 12th all-time), 23 in U.S. Open Cup (third all-time), four in the CONCACAF Champions Cup and four in SuperLiga.
Asked this week about making his 300th appearance, the Fire captain said, "It’s a long time and a lot of games. I don’t harp on too many of those numbers but I’m honored to have been able to represent this club for so long. This place is a big part of me and so something like that means a lot."
2) Playoff Scenarios - Unfortunately there isn’t a way for the team to clinch playoff qualification tonight but a win against the Union would go a long to set the Fire up for a chance to seal the deal in multiple scenarios on Saturday. Below are all the possible scenarios for the Fire to move to the postseason by the end of the week.\
- Defeat Philadelphia (Wednesday) and New York (Saturday)
- Earn a win and draw over the two matches AND a Columbus Crew loss OR draw vs. Sporting KC (Saturday)
- Earn a win and draw over two matches AND a Houston Dynamo loss vs. Montreal (Saturday)
- Earn a win over two matches AND a Columbus Crew loss OR draw OR a Houston Dynamo loss
- Draw both games AND a Columbus Crew loss
3) Three Legends Return – As part of the club’s 15th Anniversary celebration, three of the #Fire15 Players, Chris Armas, Cuauhtemoc Blanco and Peter Nowak have returned to Chicago and will be honored at halftime of tonight’s game.
Together, the group amassed a combined nine championships, 11 appearances in championship matches, 496 games, 61 goals and 141 assists.
4) Two that won’t be on the field – Are Fire head coach Frank Klopas and defender Gonzalo Segares, both of whom were sent off in last Friday’s match at Sporting KC. The one-match bans are the second for both player and coach this season but thankfully the Fire have come away victorious when each were unable to take part.
The replacements? Assistants Mike Matkovich and Leo Percovich will serve as co-head coaches for the night like they did when Klopas was suspended for the team’s 2-1 victory on May 4 at Chivas. Its likely Dan Gargan will deputize for Segares at left back as he did when Segares was suspended in a 1-0 win on June 29 at Sporting KC and injured in a 1-1 draw July 28 at San Jose.
5) Score First – Hat tip to my boss, Brendan Hannan for the research on this stat but since head coach Frank Klopas took the helm at the end of May last season, the Fire have never lost a game when scoring first, going 16-0-4 overall and 9-0-1 when hitting the back of the net first in 2012.
Even though Klopas will not be on the bench, whatever result the Fire end up with will go towards his coaching record which is an impressive 24-14-15 all-time.