BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – The Chicago Fire will embark on the beginning of a three-game road swing this weekend hoping that Wednesday’s impressive 3-2 victory over the New York Red Bulls can provide the momentum to score their first away win since July 2014.
Frank Yallop’s men (7-13-5, 26 points) produced an inspired 90-minute performance to topple Jesse Marsch’s Eastern Conference title challengers, but with vital road games at Orlando City, the Montreal Impact and another vs. the Red Bulls (11-7-6, 39 points) coming thick and fast, it is likely that the next few matches will determine whether the Fire are capable of making a late run for the playoffs.
However, Chicago are without a road win since July 12, 2014, going 0-14-5 since Quincy Amarikwa gave them a 1-0 triumph at the New England Revolution. And with just three of their last nine games at Toyota Park, that is a trend they will need to reverse sooner rather than later.
“I’m forever optimistic," a relaxed Yallop told reporters at Toyota Park. "Obviously we’ve got a big, big hill to climb to make the playoffs, but we’ve got to keep going, keep moving on.
“I think we can’t worry if we’re playing away or at home, but we’ve got to maintain our focus and make sure that we try to play the right way. I think tonight was a good example of a good spirited win, with playing some good stuff. It gives us good momentum for our tough run coming up.”
Just two points shy of the sixth-placed Impact, who they must play twice in Montreal in September, the Fire believe that they are capable of beating any team in MLS when they have their key players fit.
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“MLS is built on parity and I think it showed tonight,” Yallop admitted. “We beat Dallas, who were on a five-game winning streak, we beat Seattle when they were pretty hot, too. This league is even and it’s tiny little things that make the difference in games and tonight we got the rub of the green.”
Yallop also praised the character and determination of his side, which recovered from a first-half penalty and a questionable goal early in the second half to secure the three points with two fine goals from Kennedy Igboananike and another from Patrick Nyarko.
“Great result. That’s the big thing for me and a good performance, too,” said Yallop. “I was very happy with all the guys tonight, we dug deep and got a great result against a good team and that was very important for us.”