NASHVILLE – The cliché that every point counts is very fitting and very true for Raphael Wicky at the moment.
Coming into Saturday’s match with Nashville SC on the road, Chicago Fire FC has a .05 point lead over Inter Miami for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Why that number? Major League Soccer decided to rank teams on their points per game instead of total points since the cancellation of matches due to positive COVID-19 tests left clubs with an uneven number of games.
But the task was simple for the Fire no matter what the standings – come out of Nissan Stadium with points – and they were able to do that.
While three for a win would have been nice, a 1-1 draw with Nashville SC does let the team walk away with one point, putting them one step closer to their first MLS playoff berth since the 2017 season.
That helped the club maintain that narrow margin over Inter Miami, who didn’t play on Saturday night, with two matches remaining in the season.
Down a goal in the 42nd minute, Boris Sekulic came through in a big way for the Fire to get the contest even before halftime. Mauricio Pineda passed the ball to the defender as he was sprinting towards the box, and he slid it to the right of the keeper for the equalizer.
Defense reigned after that as neither team would get another tally for the evening, with Fire keeper Bobby Shuttleworth helping to make that goal stand up for a point.
There is plenty of work to be done for Raphael Wicky’s club over the next week with a game at Minnesota United FC on Wednesday, then the season finale at home against NYCFC on Sunday.
Like they always say, every point counts if the Fire want to keep playing after that.