With four matches to go—and three of those on the road—FiveThirtyEight gives the Chicago Fire a 48-percent chance to make the MLS playoffs. It’s easy to see why. Beginning Wednesday, the Fire visit the best team in the East (Philadelphia Union), a surging Nashville SC team, the fifth best team in the West (Minnesota United), before finishing at home against a quality New York City FC side.
The Fire sit in 11th, tied on points with 10th place Inter Miami at 21. It’s both frustrating and somewhat encouraging to think about the razor-thin margins that got the Fire here. What if the ball doesn’t bounce off Gyasi Zardes’ legs, and they hold on to beat Columbus Crew at Soldier Field? Same with the ball that caromed off Mauricio Pineda’s back on Saturday against the New York Red Bulls? Or, what if the Fire finish some of their missed chances away at FC Cincinnati or at MLS is Back against the Vancouver Whitecaps?
If any of those matches resulted in a full three points, the Fire would be in much better shape. If all of them result in wins, they’re already safely in the playoffs.
“I said it from the beginning and it shows, the whole league shows it again this season, I think anyone can beat anyone here, which is very, very unique,” Fire Head Coach Raphael Wicky explained. “I think that doesn’t happen in that amount of repetitions like it happens in this league, it doesn’t happen in other big leagues. So, yeah, we know that we can go away from home and we know that we can win games. We know that we have a good team and we can beat these teams.”
A match we’ll be watching tonight...
Montreal Impact “hosts” Nashville SC tonight at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ. At the moment, Nashville sits in eighth on 25 points, and Montreal is in ninth on 23. A Nashville win tonight could put them out of reach, especially if the Fire can’t win in Tennessee on Halloween.