Decision Day once again came up big for the league as all the clubs on the final day of the regular season came together to see who will get into the playoffs, or improve their playoff positioning.
At the end of the day it was the Chicago Fire who cemented the third position in the Eastern Conference as they will host the New York Red Bulls in the one and done game at Toyota Park.
And of course the attention will be towards former Red Bulls Captain Dax McCarty as this will be the third time this season that the Red Bulls face the Ginga ninja and the Fire but this time for the right to move on into the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.
The offseason move is once again being looked at as the inter twining point of this match up. “If I can reflect back on it, it was always a hard thing to do, it’s still a hard thing to think about, but for me it was the right thing to do and to see how both Tyler Adams and Sean Davis blossomed this year.” said Jesse Marsch.
“It makes me feel good that we made room for those guys and I have watched Dax this year and see him being on the National Team this year, but what happens in this series has nothing to do with that. It’s all about winning a championship.”
When you are at the beginning of the post-season, this particular moment is thrown out the window as the only thing that both sides should care about is advancing to the next round and not looking at their past history.
But the one thing that should be looked at is trying to earn a victory at a place where they have had a tough time traditionally not earning the full three points. Since defeating the Fire back in 2015 at Toyota Park and winning their second Supporters Shield, a three match unbeaten streak is definitely on the line.
“We will be expecting Chicago’s best. They modify what they do as teams try not to possess the ball so much, but Chicago is a ball possession team and at times they do play long balls.” said Marsch
“So I think we can anticipate that again and be ready for it, it may mean that they change their personnel a little bit, but we need to compete on the day on first and second ball challenges.”
Everyone knows that Juninho & McCarty are big on the defense, but on offense it has been on Nemanja Nickolic and David Accam who have looked dangerous for this Chicago Fire side. It’s going to be a big challenge for this Red Bulls side against this revamped team that hasn’t done anything for the last decade or so.
“I feel we are an underdog in this game because Chicago had a great season and they have the golden boot winner.” said Bradley Wright-Phillips, “We are definitely the underdog and we will be away from home, but we like to come in with a chip on our shoulder and do our best to get a win.”
Just one match will put the Red Bulls into the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, or send them home packing and get ready for the 2018 MLS Season, the Chicago Fire are not a joke anymore as they want to cement this fantastic 2017 season with a playoff victory at home.
The task for the Red Bulls is simple, try to look at the highlights of the last time they were in the Wild Card and hope that Bradley Wright-Phillips can duplicate his play when they defeated Sporting Kansas City back in 2014.