The Chicago Fire's 2-0 victory against FC Dallas on Sunday night began a grueling three match in seven days stretch for the Men in Red, and Dave Sarachan didn't mince words after seeing his team win for the fourth time in five matches.
"This is a big week," said the Fire boss. "Three games in one week is tough, we go to D.C. on Wednesday and come back [to Soldier Field] against Kansas City on Saturday."
Naturally, Fire veteran Jesse Marsch is wary of playing a lot of matches in a short stretch.
"It can work for you and it can work against you," said Marsch. "When you play a lot of games and things are going bad you start to think, 'We're tired.' When things are going good you say, 'We are in a rhythm.'
"We've put some good games together and we feel like we are getting in that rhythm," added Marsch.
Sarachan agreed that victories are a tonic for just about any adversity. "Winning keeps the team fresh, even in these busy stretches," he said.
Sarachan expressed confidence about the week ahead, despite having several first team regulars in the Fire treatment room.
"We continue to believe that our roster is very deep. The players put a lot into [Sunday night's victory] but come Wednesday, we have other fresh legs to use," said Sarachan.
C.J. Brown has missed five consecutive games with a hamstring injury, John Thorrington (four games) and Andy Herron (three games) are out with similar ailments, and Chris Armas has missed two games with an ankle injury.
Sarachan expressed mild optimism Sunday night that his injury situation could improve in time for Wednesday's visit to D.C. United.
"We will know Tuesday where guys like Chris, C.J. and John are at," said Sarachan.
Armas, who became the 12th player in MLS history to play in 200 regular season games during his last start at Real Salt Lake, appears to be farthest along.
"He is very possible for Wednesday. Could he have gone [Sunday]? Maybe. But we will err on the side of caution with things like this -- it is still a long season," said Sarachan.
Coach Sarachan was not as optimistic with Costa Rican international Herron, who has started slowly this season with one goal in eight games. "Andy [Herron] is a little further away, but he's close," said Sarachan.
With Nate Jaqua on a torrid scoring binge - the "Baby Giraffe" has four goals in his last two matches - Sarachan has the luxury of being judicious with Herron's recovery time.
Marsch, one of the few remaining Fire originals, has prepared for several busy stretches during his 10-year MLS career.
"You've got to take care of your body and make sure you get rest," he said. "For an old guy like me it is about conservatism."
Ivaldo Basso is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.