Do or die for the Chicago Fire against D.C. United

Do or die for the Chicago Fire against D.C. United originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Chicago Fire desperately need a win against D.C. United as the season is quickly slipping away from them.

The Fire have not won a game since April 6 when they beat the Houston Dynamo at Soldier Field. The last time they picked up a point was April 27 in a goalless draw against Atlanta United.

The last two months has been a struggle where the confidence seems to slip either when the opponent scores or the minutes tick by without scoring. As Chris Mueller states, there’s only one way to keep, or build, on confidence.

“I think you need to get a win. Three points would be the one thing that I say is how you get that confidence back, so to say. But for us, for now, you have to keep going and keep being positive in whatever fashion you can.

“It’s not easy in these moments. And I don’t think it weighs on anybody harder than all the guys in the locker room because we’re the ones here every day putting our best foot forward.”

In D.C. United, the Fire face a team that currently sits in ninth place. However, they have Christian Benteke who is tied for second place for top scorer in MLS with 11 goals. The Fire have given up 26 goals, the second most in the Eastern Conference.

While they can’t put their sole attention on Benteke, he’ll certainly be one to watch and someone the Fire need to contain if they want to break out of this funk.

“Obviously he’s a big key to everything they do. A very direct team, a lot of crosses in the box,” Frank Klopas said. “And obviously he’s a target player. I think it’s not a team that looks to progress a lot through possession, especially from the back.

“I think the two players that play a key part in that in their back five, they get forward, it’s [Aaron] Herrera on the right side and Pedro Santos, if he plays, on the left side, they help. They’re pretty direct and then I think a lot has to do with if they can win second balls.”

In terms of what the Fire need to do, it’s easier said than done.

D.C. United give up their fair share of goals as well so the Fire will need to take advantage and create opportunities for Hugo Cuypers. Cuypers, one of the team’s marquee signings hasn’t made the impact many expected. But a lot of it has to do with Cuypers not getting enough service to put chances away.

“It’s difficult when you’re relying on one or two chances a game in order to win you games,” Mueller said. “And sometimes you do have to do that. I’m not naive to the fact at all either that sometimes maybe a game is 1-0 or you put both chances away that you get and you win 2-1.

“But at the same time I think it’s unrealistic to expect to score both chances, two out of two chances in a game. I think that getting the ball in the dangerous attacking spots more frequently is definitely going to be something that will help us, no doubt.”

Again, easier said than done.

WIth the Fire on a seven game winless streak, putting away one, two, three or four chances doesn’t matter. As long as they put more away than their opponents, they’ll take it.

Bottom line is the Fire need a win to get their season back on track. The season isn’t early anymore and the team can’t afford to drop too many more points if they want to be in the hunt for a playoff spot.