The Chicago Fire controlled every facet of the game in a 4-1 road victory over the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday night and now they control their playoff destiny clinching an Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs berth.
Homegrown player Djordje Mihailovic scored his first MLS goal in the first half, staying onside in the penalty area for Matt Polster's entry pass then making the turn and using his power to stay up under challenge and smash the ball home. Team goals were the theme of the first-half goals by the Fire, with a double-digit pass sequence leading to their second goal which was finally headed home by Luis Solignac.
Nemanja Nikolic caught Diego Valeri in the MLS Golden Boot race and set the Fire single-season goal record with a second-half brace that put him at 20 goals in the season. Chris Wondolowski's consolation goal just before full-time tied him with Jaime Moreno at third all-time in goals scored.
- SJ: Jungwirth: "We had no match plan, how to play against them"
- CHI: Fire remove all obstacles on road to 2017 Playoffs
- 14' - CHI - Djordje Mihailovic Watch
- 40' - CHI - Luis Solignac Watch
- 48' - CHI - Nemanja Nikolic Watch
- 65' - CHI - Nemanja Nikolic Watch
- 87' - SJ - Chris Wondolowski Watch
- ALL HAIL MIHAILOVIC: To date, Mihailovic's season highlight has been representing the Fire in Chicago during the 2017 MLS Homegrown Player Game - and scoring in front of that hometown crowd. Against San Jose he added his first MLS goal, a well-worked team goal that pairs nicely with a key pass and a second assist. He's gotten minutes off and on, but could be making a case for a key spot on the playoff roster.
- SPEAKING OF PLAYOFFS: Congratulation are in order to the Fire for clinching a spot in the playoffs, the club's first trip to the postseason since 2012. It's quite a turnaround from last season where the Fire finished last in the league earning just 31 points.
- HOME IMPROVEMENT: With the Western Conference playoff race so tight, only 8 points between first and seventh, this was as close as it gets to a must-win game for San Jose. The Texas clubs ahead of the Earthquakes each have a game in hand, meaning there's no margin for error from here out.
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