The Fire have clinched their first playoff berth Wednesday since 2012. The Fire’s emphatic road win 4-1 over the San Jose gave them the nod. There was a whole lot of shaking and goals going on, but unfortunately it was on the wrong side of the seismic fault for the Quakes. Fire homegrown player Djordje Mihailovic 18, scored his first ever goal and the opening goal of the game. He would later add an assist on Luis Solignac’s goal, after a brilliant passing sequence begun by Mihailovic. When asked about his performance after the match Mihailovic had this to say “It’s an unbelievable feeling, but we’re just focused on playoffs right now. We clinched playoffs tonight and that’s what I’m looking forward to, more than the goal. It’s a team game and just can’t believe it right now.” Solignac would then add an assist on the Nemanja Nikolic goal in the 48th minute. The goal put Nikolic alone atop the regular season scoring record with 19, beating Ante Razov’s long time record. Nikolic would then bring his season total to 20 after he headed home a de Leeuw shot that bounced off the crossbar. Nikolic is now tied with Diego Valeri of the Portland Timbers for the golden Boot.
Head Coach Veljko Paunovic had this to say about the performance of his team, “The team achieved a great, great victory today. Very important win obviously. If I’m not wrong we clinched today. So that’s the great achievement for the whole organization, the whole club.” Dax McCarty no stranger to winning and the playoffs had this to say, “It’s a fantastic team accomplishment. I think if you want to be a successful club in Major League Soccer, it should be the bare minimum expectation every season is to make the playoffs and give yourself a chance. “For me, winning is a habit, and you just need to make sure that you continue good habits.” McCarty capped off a special night for the team by playing in his 300th MLS match.
The Fire now look to the best possible position for the playoffs. They would ideally like to be in second place which would give them bye in the first round of the playoffs. They begin that quest when Eastern conference rivals New York City FC pay a visit to Toyota Park. The match will mark the first visit back to Toyota Park for goalkeeper Sean Johnson a man dubbed the “Milk Man” in his seven years with the club. Johnson has been a rock in goal this season so it will take something special Nikolic to work his magic against him. New York will have their danger man David Villa back, so the Fire back line must limit his time on the ball. The Fire could have their mid-field play maker Bastian Schweinsteiger back from injury for the match. The return of the two European football legends could make for some interesting fireworks on the pitch. It is matches like this that Fire fans love, the anticipation, the adrenaline, scream till your horse and chew your nails to the quick kind of game that reminds yeah I am a Fire Fan. This Fire fan sat breathless in a pub watching every move as the Fire were far away, and celebrated the win with three fellow long time Fire fans, Matt Lalonde, Brent T. and Sean Botson, happy to raise a glass with you.