Now or Never for Chicago Fire

Now or Never for Chicago Fire

Attention turns back to MLS as World Cup ends. Critical stretch ahead for Chicago Fire.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup ended on Sunday afternoon after Germany defeated Argentina 1-0 in a thrilling finale. Twenty-two year old Mario Gotze scored the game winner in extra time with a brilliant goal to prevent the agony of penalty kicks and cemented himself in the history books forever. It was Germany’s fourth World Cup title putting them only one win behind the leader, Brazil.

The excitement surrounding the month long event was palpable. Television ratings and viewership numbers were at an all time high and viewing events, like the Soldier Field event for the final U.S. Game, attracted thousands. Now, local fans looking to continue to get their soccer fix have a great place to turn: Major League Soccer and the Chicago Fire. All twenty-two MLS players that represented their respective countries in the World Cup are back in action and the league is gearing up for an exciting second half run to the playoffs.

Sean Johnson makes save vs. Revolution. Photo: Chicago Fire Website

Sean Johnson makes save vs. Revolution. Photo: Official Chicago Fire Blog

Opportunity beckons for the Chicago Fire (3-4-10). Their most recent win over the New England Revolution put them right back into the thick of things in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.In the Eastern Conference, only five points separate the third place them from the eighth place team, the Fire. The Fire are optimistic about their chances, as they have not lost since June 6th, a span of six games

With three important matches on the horizon, it is crucial that the Fire continue their strong play. This Saturday (7/19) the Fire welcome the Philadelphia Union to Toyota Park. The Union boast a strong squad and currently sit a place above the Fire in the standings. In order to get back into the playoffs, the Fire will have to win games like these and their stars need to show up. Reigning MVP (turned actor *) Mike Magee has formed a strong partnership with fellow striker Quincy Amarikwa of late. This dynamic strike force has combined for eleven goals on the year.

Harrison Shipp escapes trouble. Photo: Official Chicago Fire Blog

Leading the Fire in goals, however, is rookie Harrison Shipp (6 goals). The rookie of the year candidate and dynamic midfielder has turned heads with his play this season. Shipp and standout goalkeeper Sean Johnson will need all of their skills when one of the leading teams in the English Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur, comes to Toyota Park July 26th.  Although the game is an International Friendly, it will serve as an important benchmark to gauge the Fire’s progress.

The Fire will then welcome the Vancouver Whitecaps to town to close out the month of July (7/30).  The match will serve as a must win for the Fire if they want to be one of the five teams in the Eastern Conference that makes the playoffs. Now is the time to get your soccer fix by rooting on the Fire and heading out to Toyota Park to check out some fantastic games!

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Photo Source: Official Chicago Fire Blog
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