BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. — The Chicago Fire finally snapped their 11-game winless streak on Sunday afternoon, getting a stoppage-time winner from forward Cristian Nazarit to defeat the Columbus Crew 1-0 at Crew Stadium.
The Fire felt great after picking up the long-awaited victory, with players and coaches rejoicing after Nazarit’s goal and after the final whistle. The good feelings carried over to Tuesday, with Chicago looking noticeably happier than they did in previous weeks during their first training session since the Columbus match.
“It feels great,” Fire defender Cory Gibbs told MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday. “[It’s good] that we know how it feels to get three points.”
But those good feelings won’t mean much if the Fire return to their old ways at New England this Saturday. The Fire face off against their longtime rivals in an important match at Gillette Stadium this weekend, with the winner clawing their way a little closer to a playoff spot.
Chicago are aware of the match’s implications, and that — along with Sunday’s big win — has them more motivated than usual heading into the weekend.
“We’re more motivated,” defender Gonzalo Segares said. “We know that we can go over there and get three points. … If we can win, we’re right in the mix, especially in this conference, where teams haven’t gotten too far away from us. I think that were in a good point right now, motivation is high and we just have to keep working hard.”
Fire interim head coach Frank Klopas said that the Columbus win will help reinforce the message he and his staff are trying to get across.
“It’s also important when you do certain things and then you get a result because then it reinforces everything,” Klopas said. “Players come in with a different attitude and it’s great, it’s a great feeling when you win, but … that’s behind us now and we got to prepare now for the next game Saturday.
“[The Columbus match] was just a great moment all around for the players,” Klopas added. “They worked hard, they deserved it and this is what I expected of them. This was an important victory for us because with New England losing to New York [last week], this becomes a very big game early on in the season. We’ll see where we go from here.”
Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @samstejskal.