Five Things You Should Know About Wednesday's Game vs. Houston

Playoffs mean extra time and shootouts could loom large...

Well folks, tonight is the beginning of what you play the whole year for… Here are Five Things You Should Know heading into Wednesday’s Knockout Match vs. Houston (LIVE 8pm CT on ESPN 2/ESPN Deportes)…

1)      IT’S BEEN 1082 DAYS since the Chicago Fire last took part in an MLS Cup playoff match, playing to a scoreless draw before falling 5-4 on penalty kicks to eventual 2009 MLS Cup champs Real Salt Lake. This marks the longest gap between playoff matches in club history…It’s good to be back…

WATCH:  Players Preview Houston

 

2)      IT’S ALSO GOOD to be at home tonight. Why? The Fire are 16-1-3 all-time in home playoff matches with the only defeat coming with a 2-1 extra time loss to the LA Galaxy on October 17, 2001.

3)      AS FOR HOUSTON, being away from BBVA Compass Stadium hasn’t been kind to the Dynamo’s form, going 3-9-5 in those matches and 1-9-5 in their last 15. The only win came in a 2-0 victory against 2012 MLS Wooden Spoon winner Toronto FC on July 28. The Dynamo have gone 0-4-1 on the road since then…

4)      A ONE-GAME KNOCKOUT means there is potential for 30 minutes of extra time should the teams be tied at the end of regulation. Historically in the instances of traditional extra time (not the old 10 minutes that MLS had in place during the early part of the millennium), the Fire are 6-1-6 all-time.

5)      IF THEY CAN’T GET IT DONE after 120 minutes, the game will move to penalty kicks.  The team is 3-5 all-time in penalty shootouts, with Fire fans likely best remembering the heartbreaking loss to RSL back in 2009. In fact, the Fire have lost their last three shootouts at Toyota Park, with that instance sandwiched between the 2009 SuperLiga final loss to Tigres and the 2010 U.S. Open Cup loss to Charleston.

However the team was victorious the last time they went to penalties, defeating the San Jose Earthquakes 5-4 to qualify for the 2011 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup last May.

To be clear, if penalties are to happen, it will be the referee’s decision on which end of the field they’ll be taken. Cross your fingers its in front of The Harlem End…

Dress warm, get in early, scream loud. This #IsPlayoffs… GO FIRE