Chicago Fire Win Big Over D.C. United as Playoffs Approach

The Chicago Fire managed to collect a vital three points Saturday night at Toyota Park when they defeated lowly D.C. United 3-0. The Men In Red won comfortably against hapless DCU despite fielding an extremely thin squad. The main highlights of Saturday’s encounter came from the goalkeepers, as well as a diving header goal from Chicago’s Brandon Vincent.

DCU provided little resistance after a lively start. Goalkeeper Bill Hamid was their top performer again, making a number of key saves. The Fire continue to steady their ship after a disastrous stretch in the season’s second half. In addition to the three points, Chicago head coach Veljko Paunovic saw solid performances from his squad players, especially from veteran Arturo Alvarez, who set up the Fire’s second goal of the night.

Chicago Fire Win Big Over D.C. United as Playoffs Approach

The majority of the Fire’s Eastern Conference rivals dropped points over the weekend, making Saturday’s win all the more sweeter. The Men In Red will be relieved at how the scoreboard has treated them this weekend but shouldn’t read too far into this 3-0 result. The game was essentially decided by an astonishing and comically bad own goal from D.C. rookie Ian Harkes. The English born 22-year-old headed a seemingly harmless throw-in past a shocked Bill Hamid (0:40 in video below).

After the opening goal, the league original club had little to no impact on the remainder of the game. A wide open Brandon Vincent diving through the air to score the second Fire goal was amongst the game’s only moments of quality. But to be fair though, neither Vincent nor the pass supplying Alvarez were defended. Nemanja Nikolic tying the Fire’s club record for goals in a single season (18) when he buried his late penalty will likely be the match’s lasting footnote. Getting the Hungarian International striker back into the habit of scoring goals is as important to the Fire as getting players healthy.

Chicago Needs to Get Healthy

The Fire have five games remaining in the 2017 regular season with just two at home. The road to the playoffs became a little easier with this past weekend’s results around the league. Despite the Men In Red facing Philadelphia twice, the remaining schedule appears to be challenging. A trip out to San Jose September 27th will be quickly followed by the remaining marquee matchup against Eastern Conference power NYCFC on the 30th. The 2017 MLS regular season then concluded for the Fire with a trip to Houston, who has an impressive 9-1-3 record at home this year. The Fire need to get healthy and get on some good form during the next five games if they want to make some postseason noise. Without key players like Bastian Schweinsteiger, Juninho, Joao Meira and others, the Fire could find the end of their 2017 season conclude in quiet fashion.

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