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11/23 5:00pm
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11/30 9:00pm
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Eastern Conference Championship

Chicago Fire offense clicks to perfection even as Mike Magee's scoring streak ends

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Dilly Duka wreaked havoc up the left side, Chris Rolfe rediscovered his goalscoring touch, and the Chicago Fire are back in the playoff race after a 3-2 win over San Jose.

The Fire waited a few months for their young players to find their footing and their veterans to regain their form of yesteryear. They needed a few acquisitions to jumpstart their season, but riding a nine-game unbeaten streak, Chicago are finally the team they thought they were heading into the season.

“We kind of feel like we're playing like we should,” Duka said. “Chemistry builds every day in training, how positive we are in the locker room. We've got so many guys that are coming off the bench that are so positive … Right now, we're in a good place.”

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While Mike Magee's seven-game goalscoring streak helped the Fire transform from a weak offensive team into a formidable one, Duka's improved play over the last four games has made the Fire much more dangerous.

The 23-year-old helped create five goals during that span, including a goal and an assist in Wednesday's game. After struggling with injuries and inconsistency during the early months of the season, the former youth international has been one of the Fire's more dangerous players this season.

“Players need time. It doesn't happen over night,” Chicago Fire head coach Klopas said. “It was only a matter of time [for Duka] to get his confidence, to get acquainted with the players. All that cohesion that you develop, it doesn't happen over night. You've seen the qualities that he has, and now we need to keep pushing him, because I expect a lot bigger things from him.”

Rolfe scored just one goal through his first 15 games, but scored the game-winner on Wednesday after scoring two goals against Orlando City in a US Open Cup win last week. Now that Rolfe is back on track, all of the Fire's offensive weapons seem to be clicking.

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“It opens up everything for everyone,” Nyarko said. “They have to worry about everyone now. Double teams keep a guy open. We got a lot of chances out wide today because they were focused on everyone. We're not being double-teamed on the outside, so we get the chance to express ourselves, create on the outside and make runs in.”

After scoring just five goals through their first 10 games, Chicago have bagged 21 over their last 9 competitive matches, including five against Orlando City last Wednesday. Game-by-game, the Fire are becoming the team they envisioned during preseason.

“Scoring goals is always good for an attacking player,” Rolfe said. “The game in Orlando was huge for all of us. I think Dilly had a great game, I think Jeff [Larentowicz] had a solid game, and it was probably our most complete game overall.”