5 THINGS: Fire aim to be back above the red line by Sunday

How do the Fire wind back up in playoff position this weekend?

The Fire go into Friday night’s match vs. D.C. with their backs against the wall and admittedly little to no room for error left in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Sitting in eighth place, it doesn’t seem as though the team could even find itself back into the top five by the end of the weekend but, there is a chance.

The Scenario…

Chicago Fire wins at D.C. United (duh)

New York wins or draws vs. New England
Sporting KC wins or draws at Columbus
Toronto wins or draws at Philadelphia

You can see a world in which the first two results happen on Saturday but asking Toronto to get points at Philly may be a tall order. Still if the first three results happen, the Fire are at the very least back in sixth place and at most, two points out of a playoff position.

Caution Watch

It may be a broken record but at this point of the season, the caution watch is important.

Bakary Soumare, Gonzalo Segares, Jeff Larentowicz and Daniel Paladini were joined on the list this week by Fire leading scorer Mike Magee.

If Segares can get through Friday night’s game unscathed, he’ll take advantage of the MLS “Good Behavior Incentive” and see one of his cautions erased with three games remaining in the season.

Soumare and Magee both have to go three games without another card for the same to happen while Larentowicz and Paladini have already taken advantage of the rule this year.

How do teams fare after an Open Cup win?

With D.C. coming off an historic U.S. Open Cup victory Tuesday, I looked to see how teams did in their immediate league game after winning the final since the tournament began to end before the MLS regular season.

The answer: Open Cup winners are 6-4-0 in their next match after lifting the trophy. Nothing too conclusive here except for the fact that two of the four losses came from the Fire in 2006 (falling 1-0 at New York) and D.C. United in 2008 (falling 2-1 at San Jose).

Chris Rolfe Moving Up.

Chris Rolfe has seen a slight dip in playing time over the last month but proved quite effective in the second half of Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Montreal.

Whether it’s on the wing or up top, should he appear tonight the 30-year-old Fire attacker will tie former teammate Justin Mapp at 174 MLS regular season appearances, good enough for seventh on the club’s all-time list.

Listen to the StrongCast

Tonight’s match will be called nationally on NBC Sports Network by John Strong and Brian Dunseth.

Since Dunny appeared on the All-In Podcast earlier this season, we hit up Mr. Strong to talk his transition into being the network’s lead MLS announcer and to preview Friday night’s game.

Have a listen before 7pm