Last Wednesday’s 4-2 defeat at DC United was a game most would like to forget. Riding high on a four-match unbeaten run, the team was soundly defeated by a United side desperate for a win to keep pace in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
While the loss seemed like a lost opportunity, the weekend’s other Eastern Conference results pretty much allowed the team to hit the reset button.
HIGHLIGHTS: SKC 1, NY 1
“It turned out to be a pretty good weekend for us,” midfielder Patrick Nyarko told Chicago-Fire.com Monday.
“After losing to DC, we sat back and thought we had blown a chance to open up the gap but we still held onto hope. Things went our way this weekend with Houston, New York and KC only getting one point and D.C. losing, we couldn’t have asked for much more in terms of who’s right around us.”
While the five teams in the Eastern playoff race remained the same, the gap just below the line tightened with Montreal (defeating DC 3-0) and Columbus (defeating New England 4-3) earning three points in their weekend matches.
Just over two weeks out from suffering two broken ribs, Fire captain Logan Pause warned against depending too much on other results to decide the team’s playoff fate.
“At the end of the day you can’t rely on other people to do your work for you,” said the Fire captain. “A lot of the teams that we saw in important games this weekend are ones we’re going to be facing over the next few weeks. We can’t sit there with our fingers crossed. When things go your way it’s nice but we’re the ones that control how we finish the season.”
Sherjill MacDonald goes 90
One of the bright spots from Wednesday’s loss was seeing Fire forward Sherjill MacDonald go the full 90 minutes for the first time since joining the club last month.
The Dutch Designated Player extended his streak of providing a goal or assist to three matches but still contends he has room for improvement.
“[My fitness is] getting better but I still feel I have work to do,” said the Dutch striker. “I have another week to train and hopefully next game I’ll feel better. The last game I was a bit tired because of the game on the weekend. I gave everything and I can’t do more than that.”
Among other Fire players, MacDonald admitted the weekend off was a nice respite as the team heads into the home stretch of the regular season.
“The days off were good for all of us,” he said. “I’m feeling better now and we have our eyes on our next game [Sunday vs. Houston].”