The road to the MLS playoffs hit a speed bump for the Chicago Fire following the 2-0 loss to Charlotte on October 7.
Had the Fire won that game, they’d have 43 points, sitting in eighth place with their fate in their own hands. Instead they sit in 11th place, tied at 40 points with four other teams. To get into the postseason, they now need certain results to go their way.
The following are the scenarios the Fire need in order to make the playoffs:
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A Fire win:
- New York Red Bulls and Montreal to either lose or draw (this would result in the Fire finishing in eighth place)
- New York Red Bulls lose and Montreal draw (Fire finish in eight place)
A Fire draw:
- New York Red Bulls and Charlotte to lose (Fire finish in ninth place)
New York City FC is only two points behind Chicago but is who the Fire face on Decision Day.
The Fire caught a break on Wednesday as Charlotte, who had two games in hand, drew with Inter Miami. More good news for the Fire is Charlotte play Inter Miami again on Saturday which could see the return of Lionel Messi.
Again, the loss to Charlotte at Soldier Field not only allowed them back in the playoff picture, it also made things more difficult for the Fire on multiple fronts. A draw, while not ideal, wouldn’t have been the worst thing for the Fire.
The Fire can only focus on themselves and try to get a win in New York. It’s the one thing they can control. The rest is out of their hands.
“For us we just have to go and try and take care of business and then we’ll see what happens with the rest,” said head coach Frank Klopas in his pre-match press conference. “But we have to control our situation first and then hopefully some things go our way."
Given the scenarios, it isn’t impossible to see the Fire making the playoffs. But results need to go their way if they want to be back in the playoffs for the first time since 2017.