The Fire fell to the Philadelphia Union 3-1 on Saturday, with Luis Solignac scoring the lone Fire goal. Philadelphia Union Chris Pontius picked a fine time to break a long scoring drought, by scoring a brace in the match. The Fire must put the loss behind them quickly and focus on their mid-week match in San Jose against the Earthquakes. With a win and a Montreal loss or tie the Fire can clinch their first playoff berth in 5 years. In order to win the Fire will need to stop Quakes goal scoring machine Chris Wondolowski who has scored nine of his eleven goals this season at home. The Fire have their first choice back line back, but are still missing mid-field powerhouses Bastian Schweinsteiger and Juninho. So who will step up for the Fire? Arturo Alvarez can score long range goals from outside the box. Drew Connor has a great work rate and has been doing well in his starts. The Fire need their top scorer Nemanja Nikolic to find that hat trick that has been coming for a while, if he scores he could be alone in the Fire regular season scoring record. Perhaps “King” David Accam can use his fancy footwork to cause the Quakes backline to make mistakes and give the Fire scoring opportunities that attacking weapons Nikolic, Accam and Solignac can put away. But after coughing up three goals last game the Fire defense must avoid their own errors as the Quakes have their own attack weapons in midfielder Jamir Hyka and Dutch Forward Danny Hoessen. Hoessen was a teammate of our Michael de Leeuw and Johann Kapplehoff at FC Groningen. Perhaps our Dutch pair have some inside info they can share on this player? Fire player Arturo Alvarez began his career with the Quakes, winning the MLS Cup his rookie season in 2003.

When asked about the match Fire forward had this to say “It’s going to be a really tough game because of the urgency on both sides.” Both teams are coming into the match with losses. The Quakes lost 4-0 to D.C. United and the Fire lost to Philadelphia 3-1. Both teams have a great deal at stake, the fire could clinch the playoffs with a win and San Jose are fighting for their playoff lives. In the end it will come down to which team wants it more, which team can put it all on the line and limit errors and score the goals. So if the Fire fly the three and get some help from Saturday’s opponent NYCFC, you could see some very happy fans walking into Toyota Park this weekend. By the way Saturday will mark the first return of the Milk Man Sean Johnson to his former longtime soccer home.

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