VANCOUVER – For the first time in five years, they have a winning streak that goes beyond a pair of matches. That’s how hard finding consistency has been for Chicago Fire FC in that stretch where they’ve had three different managers and a host of new players.
For the first time in the Ezra Hendrickson era, there is at least a hope that this new version of the club is coming into form, and right at the time they needed it.
In danger of falling completely out of the race for the MLS Playoffs, the Fire has pumped some energy back into their season with three-straight victories, including Saturday’s 3-1 triumph over the Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place.
It’s the first time they’ve won three-straight matches since they got four-in-a-row during the 2017 season. Suddenly, they find themselves two points out of the last playoff spot, tied with Charlotte and New England in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 26 points.
“Man, it’s all about belief in yourself and every player belief has to stay confident and to try to work hard, first of all in, training, and to learn from mistakes, the most what I want from these guys because they are still young, and they need to learn from mistakes,” said Xherdan Shaqiri when asked about the stretch of good play. “Yeah, they get more mature in the game and yeah, we also like the game, how we played. The players, their understanding is much better than before.
“So we have a game plan, and everybody stick to it more.”
Shaqiri started off the third win with his fourth goal of the season in the first half, but two other newcomers to the roster would help the club to a victory. After Vancouver tied it early in the second half, Raphael Czichos got this third goal of the year in the 76th minute to put the Fire ahead to stay.
Chris Mueller then added insurance in the 90th minute with his third score of the season to give the Fire three more points. A chance for four wins-in-a-row comes Saturday at Soldier Field against Atlanta United FC, who currently sit two points behind the Fire in the standings.
“It’s obviously a massive win for us and a big step in the right direction. We should have way more wins in a row when you look at Columbus last week,” said Mueller. “And then we responded again, kept believing, kept doing the process, and we are right where we want to be. We want to continue to push and keep pushing and keep pushing ourselves up the table. We know what we can do and what we’re capable of.
“It’s a big one, big step in the right direction. We have a big week ahead, but we’ll enjoy it now and get back to work.”