Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011
Posted: 1:00 p.m.
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, thats our attitude, goalkeeper Sean Johnson told the Fires official website. We cant 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 tiehis team-leading 10th goal and seventh in the last seven games. Oduro has scored the winning goal in Chicagos 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 Revolutions own attack was hurt when Rajko Lekicsecond on the team with six goalswas 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 isnt 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. Chicagos going to be a difficult place to go, but theyre 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 Lekics goal in the 48th minute canceling out Oduros first-half tally. The Fire are 7-0-1 in their last eight home games against the Revolution, outscoring them 16-3.
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