USOC: Fire try to regroup after devastating loss

So where do the Chicago Fire go from here?

Chicago put their heart and soul into Tuesday night’s US Open Cup final at Seattle, but painfully came up short, giving up two late goals to fall to the Sounders 2-0 at CenturyLink Field. The loss left the team gutted; they had pinned a lot of significance on the final, telling themselves that a record fifth Open Cup crown would more than make up for their up-and-down regular season.

“We’re disappointed, disappointed with not winning,” Fire interim head coach Frank Klopas told MLSsoccer.com after the match. “We put a lot of effort into it, but it wasn’t particularly one of our better nights.”

But the season’s not over yet, and Klopas and his crew need to follow up Tuesday’s disappointing result with wins in their final three league games. The Fire still have an outside shot at  the playoffs, but, with three teams to jump and six points to make up, they’ll need to win all three of their remaining matches and hope that a couple of other results go their way to have a shot at the postseason.

First up: FC Dallas. The Fire will host their Texan rivals on Oct. 12 at Toyota Park, where they’ve won four league games in a row. Klopas said on Tuesday that the team’s already focused on their Brimstone Cup opponent, but they’ll probably need a couple of days to recover from their draining eight-day, three-game road trip that ended in Seattle. They’ll need to come out strong once they’re ready to go – there’s no more room for error left in Chicago.

“We’ve got to win the rest of our games,” Fire captain Logan Pause told Fox Soccer after Tuesday’s loss. “We can’t keep looking at the table and hoping for help. We know if we win our last three games it’ll put us in a good spot. From there, only god knows.”

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