The Chicago Fire arrive at Buck Shaw Stadium on Wednesday night (Watch live at 10:30pm ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra) for a clash with the San Jose Earthquakes as both sides look to get back to their winning ways.
Fresh off Saturday evening’s 1-1 home draw with Philadelphia Union, the Fire enter the match knowing that three points here will put them level for the final playoff position in the Eastern Conference. For the Quakes, they too are coming off a 1-1 draw last weekend but will look to use that point against the New York Red Bulls as a stepping stone to break their five match winless streak.
At eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 20 points from 18 games, the Fire will be licking their chops at the prospect of taking on the Quakes. Adding to that will be motivation from the Union match, where a Jeff Larentowicz 60th minute opener was erased by a late equalizer.
The result was disappointing but had the Fire thinking positive. “I think that we’re going to have to really look at the positive side of things. We don’t have time to dwell on a decision that was made or points that were lost. For me, we played well, you can only do what you can on the field,” said goalkeeper Sean Johnson.
Fire head coach, Frank Yallop, echoed his keeper’s sentiments: “I wanted a lot of interchanging of positions. I thought, to be honest, if you look at the game, I thought we did enough to win the match. I thought our defenders and our defending was excellent.”
Meanwhile, the Quakes found themselves on the opposite side of the table having gone down early to the Red Bulls before finding the fortitude to fight back and grab a late winner through Steven Lenhart, his first goal in MLS since scoring a brace against Real Salt Lake last September.
The goal had Quakes coach Mark Watson hoping it was the beginning of more things to come. “It is going to important for us and for him. With goal scoring, sometimes you score a bunch and sometimes you can’t score at all,” Watson said. “Hopefully he has a bunch more in him in the upcoming games. He does a lot of work for us and he deserved a goal.”
Tonight the two sides face off in what promises to be an intriguing encounter.
San Jose: Busch, Francis, Bernardez, Hernandez, Stewart, Harris, Cronin, Pierazzi, Salinas, Wondo, Djalo
Chicago: Johnson; Palmer, Hurtado, Soumare, Segares; Alex, Watson, Larentowicz ©, Shipp; Amarikwa, Magee