Key victory comes with a big loss for the Chicago Fire

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – The Chicago Fire won Sunday’s critical game against the New England Revolution 3-2, but they may have lost a crucial player in the process.

Midfielder Sebastián Grazzini came out of the match in the 25th minute with tightness in his left hamstring, an injury that could keep him out of Wednesday’s key match at Real Salt Lake.

“It just got a little stiff,” Grazzini said through a translator. “I’m not sure if I’m going to be ready for Wednesday because I haven’t been looked at by the doctors yet. Hopefully [Monday] we’ll be able to get that taken care of. I hope to be back by Wednesday because I would like to play and I know that the team needs me.”

WATCH HIGHLIGHTS: CHI 3, NE 2
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Though he didn’t play for very long, Grazzini (pictured above before his injury) did make a big impact, scoring the Fire’s first goal in the fifth minute from the penalty spot and assisting on Dominic Oduro’s ninth-minute strike.

Chicago's approach changed quite a bit after midfielder Baggio Husidic came in for Grazzini, with the Fire looking less dangerous and holding less of the ball.

“The game changed a little bit obviously when Grazzini came out,” Fire interim head coach Frank Klopas said after the match. “I thought the first 25 minutes when he was there, we found him, [midfielder Marco Pappa] and [midfielder Pável Pardo] in the middle and then our front runners made great runs and we just had a lot of the play.

“When he came out I think things changed a little bit,” Klopas added. “Baggio came in and my message to him was to be a guy who has got to get the ball and make those passes like Sebastián. At first he was looking to get behind more and it left a little bit of a gap.”

Chicago could certainly use the creative Grazzini on Wednesday, when they’ll have an opportunity to move within three points of New York for the 10th and final playoff spot with a win.

“It’s tough. He’s an important player,” Klopas said. “Hopefully he can recover. We’ll see, I don’t know the extent now, how serious the pull is. We’ll have to see how he feels tomorrow.”

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