The stage is pretty much set for the Chicago Fire. With the Philadelphia Union losing to the Montreal Impact earlier today, two more things need to happen for the Fire to clinch a playoff spot: 1) the New England Revolution must lose or draw against the Columbus Crew and 2) The Chicago Fire must win against Toronto FC.
The Crew are rolling right now and have won 4 of their last 6 games. Both of their two loses in that stretch have been to Sporting Kansas City. Meanwhile, New England's momentum has stalled as they have only won 2 of their last 6 games with wins against D.C. United and Montreal. It's very possible that the Crew can go to Gillette Stadium and pull out a favorable result for Fire fans. Go! You yellow f-ing team, go!
The game in Massachusetts aside, the Fire need to take care of business. Philly's loss was a bigger piece to the playoff puzzle for the Fire, so the Men in Red will know ahead of kick-off that they have a golden opportunity tonight. Their playoff fate is in their hands. A loss tonight would not be the end of the Fire's playoff contention, but anything short of a win would be a colossal disappointment. Winners are closers, right Panama?
If anyone needs a guide to any of the playoff qualification scenarios, the MLS website has a them all laid out here. If you like to reference the game guides, the Fire v. TFC game guide can be found here. Adam's preview for tonight's game can be found here.
Also, as I write this, the Seattle Sounders just kissed their Supporters' Shield chances good-by. They lost 2-0 to FC Dallas. Huzzah! Today is shaping up to be pretty wonderful.
Line-ups to follow.