Chicago Fire look to keep slim playoff hopes alive
Here we are in September and for the Chicago Fire it is Déjà Vu all over again. Chicago’s Major League Soccer team heads into this Saturdays’s match against Inter Miami in 13th place in the Eastern conference and once again playing in Bridgeview at SeatGeek stadium. With only five games remaining in the 2022 season the Chicago Fire are 8-8-13 and sitting on 32 points, 7 points out of the last playoff position. So is there any hope? FiveThirtyEight has the Fire at at a 4% chance of making the postseason.
But even 4% looks hopeful in light of the Chicago Fire’s recent on field performances. With that said hope burns eternal in the hearts of all true fans, and Fire fans are no different. So if the Chicago Fire want to defy the odds to be able to play meaningful games later this Fall they will need to start with a victory tonight against David Beckham’s pink warriors.
— Chicago Fire FC (@ChicagoFire) September 10, 2022
Inter Miami FC started the season in poor form and with a clearly frustrated DP in Gonzalo Higuan. While it seemed that Miami was headed towards another disappointing run they have somewhat turned things around and now sit in 9th place just 2 points out of the playoff picture.
Part of Miami’s success is due to their mid season signing 2020 MLS MVP Alejandro Pozuelo from Toronto. Since signing with Miami Pozuelo has provided a much needed spark to their offense. Miami coach Phill Neville also appears to have regained the locker room after benching a sulky Higuan earlier in the season, a move that perhaps reminded the club that the team is larger than any player.
When the Fire last met Inter Miami at the beginning of the season the two sides drew to a 0-0 tie. Tonight a Fire team that has gone scoreless in their last 4 matches will have to manufacture some sort of offensive creativity if they want to keep any embers of a playoff dream alive. This task will be even more difficult as the team is once again shorthanded with Fabian Herbers, Stanislov Ivanov, Kacper Przybylko and Jaro Torres all out with injuries.
In Major League Soccer this is the time of year and the type of game where you hope the highly paid designated players will step up. With the only healthy DP on the Fire being Xerdan Shaqiri there is a lot of pressure on the former Liverpool man to show he can live up to his record breaking salary. Unfortunately Shaqiri has yet to make much of an impact this season and is known more for asking to be subbed out in key games than choosing to step up in them.
Nothing is impossible, but there are a lot of things that are unlikely. The Fire winning tonight and going on to make the postseason are unfortunately one of those things. If that reality there will be a lot of questions for this club and their billionaire owner Joe Monsueto to answer. Chief among them for Fire fans is should sporting director Georg Hietz be allowed to stay with club after three years of declining results and despite record salaries and investment.