Chicago continues title chase against Philadelphia
Bridgeview, IL (Sports Network) - Chicago missed a chance to overtake Sporting Kansas City for first place in the Eastern Conference on Friday, but the Fire have not given up on reaching the summit.
Five points off the lead with a match in hand, Chicago will turn the page from a 2-0 loss at Kansas City and try to close the gap to two points when it hosts the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday.
"We've got a chance to get right back on track and it's in front of our home fans and we've done really well at home this year. It's a tough one but we are going to put this loss behind us," said Fire midfielder Patrick Nyarko said on Friday.
"We've got a game in hand - we can catch up to Kansas City."
Chicago (16-9-5) still has not clinched a playoff berth with the top six teams in the East separated by just 10 points, but with the top in sight and woeful Philadelphia (8-15-6) in town, three points seem like a formality.
Prior to the loss at Sporting, which has the second-best overall mark in MLS, Chicago had won seven of its previous eight games. So, coach Frank Klopas was ready to turn the page from the recent loss and focus on the rest of the year.
"Yes, this was an important game, but it's over now and we obviously need to learn from it. We have got to make sure that what we feel right now stays with us tonight, but tomorrow is a new day and there is a new team coming," Klopas said Friday.
"We need to refocus, regroup, and get ready for the next match."
Chicago has been in great form all year at home, going 11-2-2 at Toyota Park. But with a match at Red Bull New York on Saturday, it is important not to look past Philadelphia.
Philadelphia is just 2-8-4 on the road and, although it has played well during parts of games, has showed no signs of putting together a complete performance late in the season.
Eliminated from postseason contention with a 3-2 loss to the Columbus Crew on Saturday, the Union hope to use their last five matches of the season to build for next year.
"We've got to continue to improve and build toward next year. Obviously, we're out of (the MLS Cup Playoffs race) at this point," Union coach john Hackworth said. "Hopefully (we) build some momentum going into next year."
10/02 16:23:17 ET