MONTREAL – There’s no doubt the odds to make the postseason was going to be stacked against them even with a 3-1 win over Inter Miami CF on Saturday evening at SeatGeek Stadium.
With four matches left in the season and in need of nearly all 12 available points to remain in just in consideration, it was going to be a tough task for Chicago Fire FC. On top of that, the club is dealing with a number of injuries along with Mauricio Pineda out with illness and Federico Navarro having to sit due to yellow card accumulation.
Getting points on the road Tuesday was going to be difficult as it is with CF Montreal continuing a strong season at the top of the Eastern Conference standings. While the club never let their opponent get away from them, there wasn’t enough for the Fire to get some desperately needed points.
Montreal struck for three first half goals, which were enough in a 3-2 victory that keeps the Fire at 35 points on the season. As of Wednesday night, they sit six points back of Columbus with three matches to play with four other clubs chasing the Crew as well.
Despite a pair of penalty kick goals for Xherdan Shaqiri, the Fire could never get an equalizer and now sit on the brink of playoff elimination.
“We, like I said, lost the game in the first half and that’s where it got away from us. We were climbing uphill the rest of the way,” said manager Ezra Hendrickson of the effort. “We tried. The guys put in the effort. We did what we had to do. We tried to make the subs that we could to try to spark something but we just didn’t have enough tonight.
“It wasn’t from lack of effort. Just some bad mistakes that cost us tonight but those things happen in the game, and tonight unfortunately, it happened to us against a really good team.”
With the loss, the Fire now faces three must-win matches just to even have a hope of staying in contention for a playoff spot, which is dim at the moment. Saturday features the club’s final Soldier Field match of the season against Charlotte FC, one of those teams ahead of the Fire chasing them for the last playoff spot.
The club won’t play again till October 1st when they face FC Cincinnati on the road before concluding the season against the New England Revolution at SeatGeek Stadium on October 9th.
They’ll need those wins plus a lot of help to keep playing soccer this fall beyond those matches as a short-handed team does what they can get points down the stretch.