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Thursday, February 29

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Fire Thu May 28 2009

Two Road Wins Set Up a Big Game Against Chivas USA Tonight

The Fire ground out another road victory on artificial turf Sunday vs. the New York Red Bulls. The win means the Fire remain the only undefeated team in MLS. It makes their record a respectable 4-0-6. It also puts them at the top of the Eastern Conference and within striking distance of overall point leaders Chivas USA, who they play tonight in LA. The Fire might relish the prospect of a third successive away game, since wins have perplexingly come much easier on the road than at home for the Fire under the Denis Hamlet regime.

But make no mistake, the coming weeks will be hard for the Fire. Traditionally, they struggle in months that start with a J and a grueling schedule means their fitness and depth will be tested to the maximum going into this June. After tonight's match in LA the Fire return to Chicago to play Dallas FC on Sunday. That means they will be playing 3 games in 7 days on three different coasts (including the third coast). Additionally, with reports of Blanco's retirement from international soccer greatly exaggerated, that's one more player that will be jetting all over the world for World Cup Qualifiers in early June. Combine all this travel with the Fire's recent adventures with field turf and I expect we'll either see a few sluggish performances in June.

For those of you who enjoy schadenfreude, the Fire's victory piles the pressure on former Fire coach Juan Carlos Osorio. He has never beaten the Fire since leaving them for New York, and might soon be making a less voluntary departure from the Red Bulls.

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