Fire Host D.C. United With MLS Cup Playoff Implications On The Line

A look at the week ahead for the Men In Red

Alvaro Fernandez

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

The Chicago Fire (17-11-5; 56 points) host D.C. United (17-10-6; 57 points) in the regular season finale at Toyota Park on Saturday, Oct. 27 at 3:00 p.m. CT (NBC Sports Network/97.5 ESPN Deportes). The Fire currently sit in third place, just one point behind D.C. With a victory, the Men in Red would secure second place in the Eastern Conference, ensuring home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
 
Saturday’s match is the second and final game between the Fire and D.C. United this season. In the first leg of the series, goals from Daniel Paladini and Gonzalo Segares were not enough as the Fire fell 4-2 at RFK Stadium Aug. 22.
 
D.C. United enter the match after a late 91st minute goal by Lewis Neal gave D.C. United a 3-2 victory over the Columbus Crew, clinching their first playoff berth since 2007.
 
CHICAGO FIRE TRAINING SCHEDULE: Oct. 22 – Oct. 27
 
Monday, Oct. 22: Off
Tuesday, Oct. 23: Training 9:30 a.m. CT*^
Wednesday, Oct. 24: Training 9:30 a.m. CT*^ - Toyota Park Stadium Field
Thursday, Oct. 25: Training 9:30 a.m. CT*^
Friday, Oct. 26: Training 9:30 a.m. CT*^
Saturday, Oct. 27: Chicago Fire vs. D.C. United – Toyota Park – 3:00 p.m. CT (NBC Sports Network/97.5 ESPN Deportes)
 
*Training is open to the media. Fire players and coaches will be made available immediately following training.
^Training times are subject to change. Please contact Brendan Hannan at 720.937.8962 for media requests.
 
CHICAGO FIRE vs. D.C. United
 

  • The Fire hold a 15-17-10 regular season record against D.C. United, including a 8-6-6 record in matches played at home.
  • The Men in Red are 11-3-2 at home this season.
  • The Fire are 13-5-3 against the MLS Eastern Conference in 2012 and 9-1-1 at home.
  • Head Coach Frank Klopas has led the Fire to a 17-11-5 record this season and third place in the Eastern Conference with 56 points, just 1 point behind second place D.C. United.
  • The Men in Red are 9-4-1 all time in regular season finales. The Fire haven’t lost their final regular season game since falling 1-0 to the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium Oct. 15, 2005.
  • Four members of the D.C. United squad have previously spent time with the Fire. Josh Wolff, currently serving as a player/assistant coach for United, was assigned to the Fire as a Project-40 player in 1998 and spent five seasons from 1998-2002 with the Men in Red. Wolff made 84 regular season appearances, scored 32 goals and added 15 assists. While with the Fire, Wolff won one MLS Cup and two Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup trophies. Defender Daniel Woolard spent three seasons with the Fire. Selected 47th in the 2007 MLS Supplemental Draft, Woolard made 16 regular season appearances for the Fire and scored one goal. Midfielder Stephen King was drafted in the 3rd round (40th overall) of the 2008 MLS SuperDraft and made 20 appearances for the Fire in his rookie season, scoring two goals and added one assist. Goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra signed with the Fire in June 2009 after going undrafted out of college, and made 17 regular season appearances for the Fire in 2010, recording five shutouts and a 1.28 goals-against average.
  • Under Frank Klopas, the Fire have never lost when scoring the first goal. The Men in Red are 17-0-4 under Klopas when finding the net first.
  • Arne Friedrich was a healthy scratch to the Fire starting lineup Saturday evening. Frank Klopas withheld the German defender from the match based on the artificial surface at Gillette Stadium.
  • Mexican International Guillermo Franco will be available for selection by head coach Frank Klopas Saturday afternoon. Franco recently served a two-game suspension for a tackle on the Philadelphia Union’s Brian Carroll Oct. 3.

CHICAGO FIRE HOLD BEST PLAYOFF QUALIFICATION PERCENTAGE IN CHICAGO
The Chicago Fire have qualified for the playoffs in 12 out of their 15 seasons. The Men in Red have made three appearances in the MLS Cup Final, winning the title in 1998, their inaugural year. No other sports team in Chicago has been able to replicate the success that the Fire have found since 1998. Below are the postseason qualification percentages for professional sports teams in Chicago:
 
             First 15 Seasons                         Last 15 Seasons
Fire       12/15 = 80% (1998-2012)            12/15 = 80% (1998-2012)
Bulls     10/15 = 66% (1966-1980)             8/15 = 53% (1998-2012)
Hawks  10/15 = 66% (1926-1941)             5/15 = 33% (1997-2012)
Bears    8/15 = 53% (1932-1946)              4/15 = 26% (1997-2011)
Cubs     4/15 = 26% (1902-1916)              5/15 = 33% (1998-2012)                
Sox       2/15 = 13% (1904-1918)              3/15 = 20%(1998-2012)
 
CHICAGO FIRE MLS CUP PLAYOFF SCENARIOS
With spots in the MLS Cup Playoffs secured, the Chicago Fire vs. D.C. United match has numerous playoff seeding implications for the Men in Red. The Fire will welcome their long-time Eastern Conference rivals to Toyota Park in a battle for 2012 MLS Cup Playoff seeding. The math is simple - should the Fire defeat D.C. United the Men in Red would lock-up second place in the tightly contested Eastern Conference. Below are the seeding scenarios for the Fire.  
 
Finish Second
Defeat D.C. United Saturday
 
Finish Third
Draw DC AND New York draw/loss vs. Philadelphia
-or-
Lose to DC AND New York loss/draw vs. Philadelphia AND Houston draw/loss to Colorado
 
Finish Fourth
Draw DC AND New York win vs. Philadelphia
-or-
Lose to DC AND New York win vs. Philadelphia AND Houston draw/loss to Colorado
 
Finish Fifth
Lose to DC AND New York win vs. Philadelphia AND Houston win vs. Colorado
 
TICKETS ON SALE FOR THE 2012 MLS CUP PLAYOFFS
With the Fire making their return to the postseason, the club has announced that tickets are now on sale for the 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs.
 
Fire supporters can lock-in 2012 MLS Cup Playoff tickets by purchasing new, or renewing, Season Tickets for the 2013 season. Group tickets are available by calling 888-MLS-Fire or by visiting www.Chicago-Fire.com.
 
The Fire have participated in the playoffs 11 times in their history, reaching the MLS Cup Final in 1998, 2000 and 2003. The Fire made history as the first and only MLS expansion side to win the Domestic Double in 1998 with victories in both the MLS Cup Final and the U.S. Open Cup Final.
 
The Fire will host their first MLS Cup Playoff match at Toyota Park on a date that will be determined based on where the Fire finish in the final MLS Regular Season standings.
 
Individual tickets are now available at www.Ticketmaster.com.
                  
CHICAGO FIRE DROP 1-0 RESULT TO NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
The Chicago Fire (17-11-5; 56 points) gave up a 17th minute goal to Diego Fagundez and were unable to rally in a hard-fought 1-0 defeat at the hands of the New England Revolution (8-17-8, 32 points) at Gillette Stadium Saturday night.
 
A drab start to the match, both teams used the opening minutes to get a feel for one another. In the 5th minute Dan Gargan sent a ball through the Revolution backline finding a charging Sherjill MacDonald open in the space, however, the Dutch striker was adjudged offside.
 
The Revolution found the only strike of the match in the 17th minute as Fagundez latched onto a feed from Kelyn Rowe in the middle of the park. The Uruguayan-born, Massachusetts-bred forward dribbled into space and lashed a driven shot that beat Sean Johnson at the far post to give the Revs a 1-0 advantage over the Men in Red.
 
New England nearly doubled its lead in the 20th minute as a corner kick bounced around the 18-yard box before rookie Fire defender Austin Berry cleared the ball from danger.
 
The Fire went into the break trailing 1-0 and emerged from the locker room in search of an equalizer. The Fire found an opportunity in the 60th minute on the counter when Flaco Fernandez picked up a loose ball in the middle of the park. The Uruguayan midfielder sprinted into space and fed Rolfe on his left, however, the Revs recovered and knocked the ball out for a Fire corner kick.
 
In the 72nd minute the Fire nearly found the elusive goal. Fernandez played a simple through ball to Segares inside the 18-yard box. The Costa Rican defender was in on goal but his left-footed shot sprayed wide of frame.
 
Frank Klopas opted to sit Fire veteran defender Arne Friedrich as a healthy scratch but the Fire defense was sturdy on the night, allowing only one shot on goal in 90 minutes of play.
 
Late game substitutes Alex and Dominic Oduro were brought on to provide an offensive spark in the second interval. The Brazilian midfielder sent in a hopeful cross in the 86th minute that fell to Nyarko, but the Ghanaian’s shot bounced right to Revs ‘keeper Bobby Shuttleworth.
 
FIRE IN THE NEWS
 
MacDonald quickly adapts to new home - Jack McCarthy - Chicago Tribune - October 14, 2012
http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/soccer/ct-spt-1014-fire-chicago--20...
 
For Fire's Pineda, things are looking up - Orrin Schwarz - Daily Herald - October 16, 2012
http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20121016/sports/710169656/
 
El Fire pondria acostarse este sabado como lider del Este - Jose Luis Sanchez Pando - Hoy  - October 18, 2012

http://www.vivelohoy.com/deportes/8146502/el-fire-podria-acostarse-este-...
 
Fire Notes: Anibaba still learning finer points of right back - Anthony Zilis - MLSsoccer.com - October 17, 2012
http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2012/10/17/fire-anibaba-still-lear...
 
CHICAGO FIRE TEAM WRITER, JEFF CRANDALL FEATURES ON CHICAGO-FIRE.COM
 
Playoff Math: The More Second, Less Fifth Edition – October 21, 2012
http://www.chicago-fire.com/blog/post/2012/10/21/playoff-math-final-2012...
 
After Golazo in Houston, Pineda Debut Might Not Be Far Off – October 18, 2012
http://www.chicago-fire.com/blog/post/2012/10/18/after-golazo-houston-pi...
 
All-In Podcast with Jalil Anibaba – October 17, 2012

http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2012/10/all-podcast-jalil-anibaba
 
Fire Players Talk Turf Ahead of New England Visit Saturday – October 16, 2012
http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2012/10/fire-players-talk-turf-ahead-ne...