Well, it's that time again folks. Every game is big now. Especially when a game involves 2 teams from the East that are in the playoff race. There are 2 games tonight (they can be viewed if you have MLS Live or are resourceful at finding streams) that have a huge impact in terms of the Fire. Follow me after the break for the full Eastern Conference Table and some insight on top of that...
|1||Sporting Kansas City||51||28||1.82||15||7||6||35||25||10||18||7||17||3|
|3||New York Red Bulls||49||28||1.75||14||7||7||49||40||9||30||17||19||-8|
|8||New England Revolution||28||29||0.97||7||15||7||36||40||-4||21||7||15||-11|
The first huge matchup tonight is New York vs. SKC at 6:00 PM CST. This is massive in terms of playoff implications and seeding heading into the final few matches. A win and SKC widens the gap over the Fire. A New York win and they jump ahead of us, at least temporarily. New York has another game this weekend vs. New England while our very own Men in Red have a showdown with the hated Crew. It would be great if both NY and SKC could somehow lost tonight, but that is not a result that is in the cards of the soccer gods.
Other than points, goals scored becomes more important too with the new playoff tiebreakers should we end the season tied on points with another team. As you can see, the Red Bulls have a big enough gap that we probably don't catch them before the end of the season barring a huge offensive outburst by the Fire. The New York offense would also have to go into hiding the last few games and I just don't see it happening. SKC on the other hand is 5 goals scored behind us, so as long as we continue to bang 2-3 goals into the net per game, we should be fine. That could be huge come the end of the season. Should Houston or DC push up the standings, goals for will be nearly identical with the Fire and will make things extremely interesting. Let's hope that doesn't happen and the Fire continue to take care of business like we have been.
Although a draw tonight between these two foes would minimize gains on the Fire, it would also push Chicago back to 3rd as NYRB would jump ahead of us on tiebreaker. Given the two options, I think an SKC win tonight would be the best option if a draw does not take place. Other on Twitter this morning also echoed the sentiment that they would rather face an SKC team (even in Livestrong Park) than a New York team with a deadly attack.
The other game to keep an eye on is Columbus/Chivas tonight at 6:30 CST. Obviously we will all be rooting for Chivas. If they can somehow pull out a win or even a draw, it would be very helpful for the Fire. It gets even better since the Men in Red will have a whole week of rest heading into the Columbus clash, while the Crew will be coming off what will hopefully be a tough midweek game tonight. A tense, chippy game with a lot of physical play and yellow/red cards sounds like a fantastic recipe to me.
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