Frisco, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - FC Dallas will attempt to keep its playoff
hopes alive on Saturday when the club welcomes the Chicago Fire to Toyota
Dallas limps into the crucial match on the back of a four-game winless run
that has dropped the club to eighth place in the Western Conference with 41
Schellas Hyndman's men must now get a victory against Chicago to remain in the
playoff hunt as anything less than three points on Saturday will eliminate
them from contention.
FC Dallas should be in a much better position, but it was unable to take full
points form it most recent match despite playing with an extra man for 73
minutes. Real Salt Lake was dealt a major blow in that affair when Kenny
Mansally was sent off in just the 17th minute, but Dallas was unable to
capitalize as Alvaro Saborio and Kenny Cooper exchanged second-half goals in a
1-1 draw last Saturday.
"What we should have done today," Hyndman said after the draw when asked what
Dallas needs to do to make the playoffs. "We needed three points. We don't
need ties, we need wins. We're so disappointed, so frustrated right now
because Salt Lake gave us the chance to get those three points and we didn't
capitalize on it."
Cooper echoed Hyndman's sentiments, placing emphasis on the determination FCD
needs down the stretch to sneak into the postseason.
"Well, you know, we're all extremely hungry to get in there with only three
points," Cooper said. "We know we have to get points. I think you're going to
see a really determined squad over these next couple games and finally get
The Fire also enter Saturday's tilt on the outside of the playoff picture,
sitting sixth in the East on 43 points.
But Chicago's odds of making the playoffs appear to be more favorable than
FCD's given the smaller gap between the Fire and the postseason cutoff -
Chicago is only two points adrift of the fifth-place Philadelphia Union with
three matches to go.
The Fire are coming off of a 3-0 drubbing of D.C. United in its last outing,
but the result could have been much different had it not been for the
sensational play of goalkeeper Sean Johnson, who pulled off a string of
miraculous saves over the course of the game to preserve the clean sheet.
"I think that's clearly the best game he's played in his short career," Fire
striker Patrick Nyarko told MLSsoccer.com. "It was incredible. Incredible is
an understatement in how he performed that day ... His maturity has been
unbelievable, and he understands when to calm the game for us, when to speed
up the game for us. His leadership is very visible. We see how he commands the
defenders, and it just transcends through everyone."
While Johnson has played an important part in Chicago's season, the key down
the stretch may prove to be the manner in which the Fire are able to manage
each game. For example, the Fire altered their approach to the D.C. United
match after conceding a late equalizer in a 2-2 draw with the Montreal Impact
on Sept. 28.
"We were smarter," midfielder Jeff Larentowicz told MLSsoccer.com regarding
the club's defeat of D.C. United. "I think that for some reason when we were
home, we were still going for the goal against Montreal, but against D.C., I
think we were more organized."
The Sports Network