NYCFC, Fire in desperation mode on Decision Day

League: MLS

Posted on: 20 Oct, 2023 at 08:56 PM

Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

Since their inaugural season in 2015, New York City FC have been a regular in the MLS postseason. The postseason is an infrequent occurrence for the Chicago Fire recently.

Two teams needing to win along with outside help to keep their seasons going convene Saturday night at Citi Field in New York.

NYCFC (8-11-14, 38 points) head into Decision Day trailing the New York Red Bulls, Chicago and Charlotte FC by two points. NYCFC avoided elimination Wednesday when Charlotte played to a 2-2 draw with Inter Miami on Wednesday night.

In order to qualify for an eighth straight postseason, New York City must get a win along with a Red Bulls loss at Nashville and Charlotte taking a loss or a draw against Miami. All three games start at the same time.

NYCFC are in this position because of an 11-match winless skid spanning from April 29 to June 24 when they went 0-5-6. NYCFC went 3-0-2 Aug. 30-Sept. 24 but settled for a 1-1 draw at Miami on Sept. 30 and took a 2-0 setback to host D.C. United two weeks ago.

"We still have hope," NYCFC midfielder Santiago Rodriguez said. "A few things need to happen, but the main thing is we have to win. It doesn't matter if we play pretty or play badly, but we have to win."

Chicago (10-13-10, 40 points) is attempting to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2017 and can clinch via four scenarios.

The Fire will clinch with a win along with losses or draws by Montreal and the Red Bulls. Chicago can also get in with a win along with an advantage in tiebreakers over the Red Bulls. The final way it can qualify is by drawing against NYCFC, plus a Red Bulls loss and a Charlotte loss or draw against Miami.

Chicago heads into Decision Day 2-1-1 in its past four and took a 2-0 loss to Charlotte two weeks ago. Maren Haile-Selassie leads the Fire with six goals.

"It's not going to be an easy game," Chicago coach Frank Klopas said. "Guys that you know are going to leave everything on the field for you and that's going to be the most important thing."

--Field Level Media