On Wednesday night, Chicago Fire FC were essentially on fire, dominating in a 4-0 win over the Houston Dynamo. Head coach Raphael Wicky, in the team's post-game press conference, acknowledged that it was the team's best performance all season.
"I think, in general, it was a really, really good performance," he observed. "It was a mature performance. I knew that going into the second half, we can't expect to see the same half as the first half. I mean, the first half was almost perfect. I think Houston didn't really have much going forward. We were really aggressive, well organized, we were really good with the ball, we had chances to score even more than three goals. So that was basically the perfect half and you can't expect to have the same half again."
"But I was very happy with the way the team managed the second half," he added. "Not giving up chances, not giving up, still looking for the third goal, having a little bit less possession, that's not what we wanted, but then, having a clean sheet and being very matured and well organized. So yeah, that was a really good performance today."
Fabian Herbers, who scored the second goal of the match and was exceptional in the No. 10 role throughout the match, was similarly positive about the Fire's performance.
"I mean I’d rather win four times 1-0, then one time 4-0," he admitted. "But now, we've got to keep it going, the momentum was good, I think we showed what the team is capable of if we stay engaged, and stay positive, with good energy on the field and be better on both ends of the field."
"I think we can get another three points against Atlanta and then we can really make a playoff push in the last final games, final nine games that we have in the season. So hopefully we can keep this going against Atlanta and then get another three points there. That's the objective."
Chicago now sits 12th in the East, but beating Atlanta would allow them to leapfrog the Five Stripes in points, and could land them in playoff position depending on how other East teams fare over the weekend.
One thing in Chicago's favor: Sunday's match will be at Soldier Field, which the team is enjoying as a home venue.
"The playing surface was actually good," Wicky noted. "I think they did a really good job after the (Chicago) Bears played. We were happy with the playing surface and it was good that the field was a little bit wet; obviously when it's wet, the ball always rolls a little bit faster, so I'm very happy with that. They can leave it every time like that, we won 4-0."