BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Chicago Fire coach Frank Klopas normally doesn’t get an overhead view of warm-ups, but he was forced to watch from afar when he was suspended for the Fire’s game against Philadelphia on Oct. 3.
The Fire coach liked what he saw, and he received positive reviews from his deputy coaches, Mike Matkovich and Leo Percovich.
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“I felt that it was one of the better warm-ups that we’ve had,” Klopas said.
The result was one of the Fire’s worst of the season, falling 3-1 to a Union team that has floundered this season.
The Fire redeemed themselves with a 2-0 win over New York three days later and clinched a playoff berth later that weekend, but they’ll have to prevent another hiccup when they head to New England on Saturday.
“You always have it in the back of your mind when teams aren’t doing well and you feel too overconfident,” Segares told MLSsoccer.com. “We felt that everyone was a little bit too relaxed [against Philadelphia], and you just deal with that trying to get everybody mentally ready. You cannot let the guys relax.”
The Fire have had their fair share of surprising wins this season, including the aforementioned New York win, but they’ve also had a few head-scratchers, like the 2-0 loss they suffered the last time they headed to Gillette Stadium on June 2.
Just three points ahead of the fourth-place Red Bulls, the Fire still have a bye to play for in their last two games, so another letdown won’t be acceptable.
While Klopas denied that any overconfidence was evident during that loss to Philadelphia, a few players admitted that the team may have been too comfortable with their playoff standing.
On Saturday, the Fire can’t let their guaranteed playoff berth give way to laziness.
“We made a lot of mistakes [against Philadelphia,” midfielder Patrick Nyarko said. “We knew we were better than that … We just need to go in there basic, stick to the game plan and not leave any loopholes to go down a goal and try to come back.”