Fire Notebook: Chicago look inward against Chivas

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BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – The Chicago Fire are focusing on one thing ahead of Saturday’s crucial league match against Chivas USA at Toyota Park: themselves.

The match (8:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online) is a must-win for the 15th place Fire, who sit seven points behind D.C. United for the 10th and final playoff spot with just seven games left on their schedule. Chicago are conscious of stopping Chivas’ playmakers, but they’re more concentrated on dictating the play – something they failed to do in last Saturday’s 2-0 loss at San Jose.

“At this stage we’re just concerned about ourselves,” Fire captain Logan Pause said after Chicago’s 1-0 friendly loss to Mexican club Chivas de Guadalajara on Wednesday. “We want to impose our will on the game and be strong with what we’re trying to do. With it being at home with seven games left and a lot of teams to catch, that’s the only way we can think about it.”

Fire defender Cory Gibbs echoed Pause’s sentiments, telling reporters that Chicago needs to press Chivas USA from the opening whistle on Saturday afternoon.

“We need to push the game, we need to start out from minute one,” Gibbs said after the Guadalajara friendly. “[Wednesday’s exhibition] was good preparation for us in terms of team building and staying sharp going into Saturday’s game. We’re ready.”

Notes:

  • Forward Dominic Oduro, who missed Wednesday’s friendly and is listed as questionable on the injury report with an ankle injury, told MLSsoccer.com Wednesday night that he’ll be ready to go on Saturday.
  • Chicago will be without a starting defender Saturday due to suspension for the second straight game. Right back Dan Gargan will miss the match due to yellow card accumulation one week after left back Gonzalo Segares was suspended for the same reason. 
  • Fire interim head coach Frank Klopas might’ve showed who he plans to start in defense on Saturday in Wednesday’s friendly, when he started Jalil Anibaba at right back, Gibbs and Josip Mikulic at center back and Segares on the left.

Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com.  Email him at sam.h.stejskal@gmail.com.