Revolution-Fire Preview

The Chicago Fire have maintained their very slim playoff hopes

thanks to improved play at home.

The Fire will try to pick up some much-needed points Sunday when

they host the New England Revolution and win their fourth straight

at home.

Chicago (5-8-15) is running out of time to make a move in the

standings. The Fire, who have six games remaining, need to jump

five teams to move into the final wild-card spot, but they remain

optimistic.

“We have six games left and we need all six, that’s our

attitude,” goalkeeper Sean Johnson told the Fire’s official

website. “We can’t afford any more ties or losses and I think

everybody understands that and is ready to get after these final

six games.”

The Fire are 3-1-2 in their last six games and are 4-2-8 at

Toyota Park after beating Chivas USA 3-2 on Sept. 17 despite

playing most of the match with 10 men.

Dominic Oduro scored in the 85th minute to break a 2-all tie –

his team-leading 10th goal and seventh in the last seven games.

Oduro has scored the winning goal in Chicago’s last three

victories.

Cory Gibbs opened the scoring but was ejected after getting a

red card in the 37th minute. He will miss this match due to

suspension and is the third Fire defender in as many weeks to be

out due to suspension.

“We will miss Cory with the red card. He brings so much

leadership on the field,” coach Frank Klopas said.

The Fire will try to gain some important points against lowly

New England (5-12-12), which is in last place in the Eastern

Conference.

The Revolution suffered a 3-0 loss at Portland on Sept. 16 to

drop to 1-8-6 on the road. They have lost five of nine overall.

New England never recovered from conceding a goal in the ninth

minute as the Timbers controlled the run of play and put eight of

their 20 shots on goal.

The Revolution’s own attack was hurt when Rajko Lekic – second

on the team with six goals – was forced out before the half with an

ankle sprain that is expected to keep him sidelined for perhaps a

month.

A.J. Soares is also out after suffering a groin injury in the

second half.

Despite their slim playoff chances, New England isn’t giving up

until it is officially eliminated.

“Our season is on the line, pretty much,” defender Darrius

Barnes said. “We know we have to pretty much win out. … Chicago’s

going to be a difficult place to go, but they’re right there, neck

and neck with us. Pretty much the winner of that game is going to

have a chance to go on and make a push for the playoffs.”

Chicago and New England played to a 1-all draw June 18, with

Lekic’s goal in the 48th minute canceling out Oduro’s first-half

tally. The Fire are 7-0-1 in their last eight home games against

the Revolution, outscoring them 16-3.