The Chicago Fire will face the Houston Dynamo on Oct. 31, 2012, in the first elimination round of the MLS playoffs. The Fire, who are fourth in the Eastern Conference standings, will play at Toyota Park for the knockout match. The winner on Oct. 31 will advance to play Sporting Kansas City on Nov. 4.
The Knockout Game
Despite their efforts to avoid the MLS knockout game for the playoffs, the Chicago Fire's disappointing performances in the last games of the regular season destroyed their chances. The losses also raised doubts about the team's ability to advance in the MLS playoffs. Although the Fire have finally reached the playoffs after an absence of two years, it is not certain if they can become true contenders for the Cup.
The Oct. 31 match with the Houston Dynamo will be the first time that the Chicago Fire have played on Halloween. A win at this single elimination game is crucial if the team wants to remain in the 2012 MLS playoffs. The Chicago Fire have faced the Houston Dynamo three times this season and won once, but this is not a guarantee of a better performance on Oct. 31.
Chicago Fire vs. Houston Dynamo
The Chicago Fire's current record is 17-11-6 after the draw with D.C. United on Oct. 27 of 1-1. Despite the recent disappointment, the team's record at Toyota Park is 11-3-3 for the 2012 season, so the Fire will have an advantage on Oct. 31. The Houston Dynamo tied at Toyota Park in April and lost at Toyota Park in Sept. of this year. The Houston Dynamo's current record is 14-9-11 for 2012.
Can the Chicago Fire shift their recent losing streak to prevent elimination from the MLS playoffs in the knockout match? The entire team will have to alter its mindset for this to be successful. The missed chances, bad finishing, lack of attack and poor passing will have to disappear at the next game. Additionally, the Fire must approach the Oct. 31 match as a fresh start instead of allowing their previous losses to dictate their reactions.
More from this contributor:
Lana follows MLS, UEFA and FIFA. She has been a faithful fan of the Chicago Fire since 1998. Follow @Lana_Bandoim on Twitter.
- Sports & Recreation
- Houston Dynamo