One of the biggest factors (at least in my opinion) of the Fire's sporadic play recently has been the absence of Pavel Pardo
While it may seem odd that a defensive midfielder could have this big of an impact, Fire fans know very well how valuable Pardo is to the team. Apart from his stout defensive work in shutting down opposing teams' attacks, he can also contribute offensively. Pavel is a threat on free kicks and corners, as well as setting up teammates with beautiful passes and service.
Although the first part of the week has been a bit slow in terms of Fire news, I just checked the Fire website and had my spirits lifted. While it's not 100% certain, signs appear that Pardo may be able to take the pitch again this weekend vs. DC. This would be a MASSIVE lift for the team in what is the biggest game of the season so far. The Men in Red have played big, high pressure games many times this season to be sure. But the DC matchup has too many implications for the playoffs for us to again shoot ourselves in the foot, so to speak.
While we may have missed our chance to lock up our spot due to the Philly and New England games, we have one more chance to win the big game when needed. And I can't think of a better boost of confidence heading into the postseason than a win along with the return of Pavel Pardo. And remember, show up early and sing your hearts out Saturday for the Fire.