Well, this is truly a tough day and match for Fire fans. As Merwin lamented in his post game recap of the Dallas match, not only is the door pretty much slammed on the Fire's playoff hopes, but they played a pretty poor game Wednesday night to boot. While the Men in Red certainly have the talent to beat DC United tonight, one has to wonder how much is left in the tank and if they can overcome the heartbreak that has been the past 11 days or so. Join me after the break for a few brief thoughts, and lineups once they are announced. Please also join us tonight on the gamethread below to talk all things Fire during the match.
Of course it all started with the Open Cup final. Despite being outplayed for much of the first 60 or so minutes, the Fire found a way to hang in there. The defense answered the call time after time, and Sean Johnson showed Jurgen Klinsmann what he is missing by not calling him up to the USMNT roster. Wouldn't it be great tonight to see the Fire put up about 5 goals on Hamid, and have Sean post a clean sheet with some big saves? I'll take that certainly. It would be a final bright point on what has been a dismal recent stretch. Getting back on topic, Seattle finally broke through, and without Grazzini leading the orchestra from midfield and Oduro and Nyarko not tearing down the wings like they usually do, it was too much for the Fire to overcome. The Sounders would add another late goal, and just like that the Fire's impressive Open Cup run had been halted.
As hard as it was to swallow, the Fire were still in the playoff hunt going into last Wednesday's match against the hated Dallas side. Although the playoffs weren't a shoe-in, the Fire certainly would have been in the picture with 3 points. Again, it was not to be. The Fire just looked plain bad, and couldn't get anything going at all. Dominic Oduro was still not over a 105 degree fever he had a couple of days before, and some questionable lineup and substitution decisions by Frank Klopas did not help either. Despite finally notching a goal late, the Fire couldn't find the equalizer and just like that, back to back heartbreaks were complete.
Although it is still mathematically possible to make the playoffs, most Fire fans will see the season is pretty much over. I still want to see heart and fire (pun intended) from the Men in Red these last two games. They didn't lay down a couple of months ago when they were threatening to finish with the worst point total and had draw after draw after draw. No, instead they picked their heads up, and made a strong playoff and Open Cup push. Although it was not meant to be in either case this season, the very words Tradition, Honor, and Passion are what the Fire should be displaying these last two matches of the season. And then we have to be hopeful that we can fill the gaps we need to in the offseason and our owner is committed and lets us spend some money. But that will be another article for another day at the end of this season.
One last thing, I do want to apologize for no game thread the other night. Have no fear though, tonight's thread will hopefully be full of the shenanigans and banter that only Ruben Tisch can provide. I unfortunately will not be able to be on the thread much tonight, but I will be getting lineups posted up when announced and looking for our esteemed Hot Time In Old Town leader, Tweed Thornton, on tv. He will be attending the match in DC, and hopefully the extra noise and ruckus he bring will spur the men from the Windy City on to victory.
Despite the hardships of the past couple of weeks, we still get to unite as Fire fans 2 more times this season before the long, hard, cruel break that is the winter. Let's go Fire!!