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Hoping for Relevance: Fire Vs. New England, preview

Chicago hopes to continue its form from Wednesday's Open Cup game as the Men in Red return to MLS play

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

As the Fire sit waiting on the fickle decision making process of the MLS over the Drogba decision (#DrogbaWatch) the Men in red prepare to face the club that last pulled the wool over their eyes in the Jermaine Jones fiasco, the New England Revolution. While hoping that the Fire do not get blooded in another  blind draw fans prepare to cheer against a club by many favored to win the Eastern Conference at the start of the season. The Chicago Fire hold a long seeded rivalry with the New England Revolution so there certainly an element of a grudge match today.

The Chicago Fire and the New England Revolution meet in a match-up to determine whether the Revolution can hold on to a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference while the Fire seek to once again achieve relevance in MLS play. The two clubs square off for a second time this season on The gloriously groomed grass at Toyota Park. The Revolution are tied for fourth place in the conference, but are coming off of a five-game losing streak that was snapped last week against NYCFC.

The Fire sit in dead last after dropping the last two league matches to  rivals the Columbus Crew.  The red and white (and sometimes blue and black)  team remains six points out of the final playoff spot in the conference, coming off two losses to Columbus Crew in a five day run of play. However, the Fire come off of a high point after knocking Orlando City out of the U.S. Open Cup this past Wednesday night in a 3-1 win at Toyota Park in the quarter finals of the tournament. Widely thought to be some of the most aggressive and dynamic football the Fire have played all year, it stands to reason the Fire will want to continue the run of exciting football that was begun on Wednesday.

Watch for Kennedy Igboananike, the Nigerian striker to make the start after putting two balls in net in less than 10 minute after being subbed on. The Brace assured the Fire’s place in the Semi-finals and the possibility to play for silverware this season. Igboananike along with teammate David Acam  were both subbed on in the cup match and effectively turned up the heat on the Lions although they struggled to finish many of their opportunities. If the Fire can find a way to finish their chances against Revolution the Fire faithful may just leave Toyota Park happy this afternoon.

Fire fans will also want to keep an eye on Razvan Cocis this evening. The Romanian international has shaped himself into a key play maker over the last few weeks , putting out fires when needed and setting up plays to the attacking team. With Shaun Maloney back working with Harry Shipp collecting balls and finding creative ways into the box this could be an exciting match indeed..

The Fire will have to watch out for the dangerous attack by Revolution’s star Lee Nugyen who scored the only goal against NYCFC last week to snap their losing streak. His dynamic approach will have to be interrupted by an organized Fire Defense. Also prepare to prevent the influence of Chris Tierney who was recently named to the MLS All-star team. The Revolution, once thought to be a front runner for the conference, have something to prove and will not be rolled over easily in the night time competition.

Kick off is slated for 7:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast on CSN Chicago and streamed through MLS Live.