dax mccarty

Postseason Primer | The Fire's path to the 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs

Coming out of a 0-0 draw with FC Cincinnati last weekend, the Chicago Fire continue their late-season push for a 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs spot on Sunday afternoon with a visit from Toronto FC (4 p.m. CT, ESPN+).

With two matches remaining including Sunday's contest at SeatGeek Stadium, head coach Veljko Paunović and the Men In Red sit three points beneath the playoff line. As Decision Day nears, the Fire are jockeying with Columbus Crew SC, Orlando City SC, the Montreal Impact, and the New England Revolution for the seventh and final spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs.

Here's how each team's path to the postseason is taking shape entering this week's round of matches:

Columbus Crew SC (9-15-8. 35 pts.)

Relative to the other teams in the hunt, Crew SC have the most uphill battle towards the postseason entering this week's slate of matches. At 35 points, they're six points back of the current playoff line with two matches remaining. Though unbeaten in four-straight, they'll rue a missed opportunity to take full points from last weekend's visit to the Vancouver Whitecaps that finished 1-1. They'll host the Philadelphia Union on Sunday, who have already clinched a playoff spot in the East.

  • Remaining matches: vs. Philadelphia Union (9/29), at Toronto FC (10/6).
  • Last five results: L-W-D-W-D

Orlando City SC (9-14-9, 36 points)

Orlando City fell a point off the Eastern Conference pace with a 2-1 weekend defeat on the road to the Houston Dynamo, now five points behind seventh place New England with two matches to play. Orlando are winless since a 1-0 victory against Sporting Kansas City on Aug. 14, and will host the Fire in what could be a crucial Decision Day contest on Oct. 6. First up, however, they're back on the road this weekend at FC Cincinnati, who will look to play spoiler having been formally eliminated from postseason contention. 

  • Remaining matches: @ FC Cincinnati (9/29), vs. Chicago Fire (10/6)
  • Last five results: L-L-D-D-L

Montreal Impact  (11-17-4, 37 pts.)

Montreal went west over the weekend to face the LA Galaxy, with both sides needing points to stake their postseason claim. Despite negating Zlatan Ibrahimović's first half goal, Galaxy midfielder Uriel Antuna delivered all three points for the hosts in a 2-1 LA win. The defeat dropped Montreal behind the Fire into eighth place in the Eastern Conference with a visit from reigning MLS Cup Champions Atlanta United FC on deck in regular season play. However, they'll first look to maintain their Leg 1 lead over Toronto FC when the second leg of the 2019 Canadian Championship goes down Wednesday night.

  • Remaining matches: vs. Toronto FC (9/25, Canadian Championship ) vs. Atlanta United (9/29), vs. New York Red Bulls (10/6)
  • Last five results: L-W-L-L-L

Chicago Fire (9-12-11, 38 pts.)

The Fire kept their postseason hopes afloat with a point gained in a 0-0 weekend draw at FC Cincinnati, and remain three points out of MLS Cup Playoff contention with the result. They're back at home this weekend for the Club's final regular season match at SeatGeek Stadium, when Toronto FC comes to town for a Sunday kickoff. Toronto FC have secured a postseason berth in the East, and will face the Montreal Impact in Leg 2 of the Canadian Championship final on Wednesday night prior to their trip to the Windy City.

  • Remaining matches: vs. Toronto FC (9/29), @ Orlando City SC (10/6)
  • Last five results: W-L-D-W-D

New England Revolution (10-10-11, 41 pts.)

The Revolution missed an opportunity to tighten their grasp on the final Eastern Conference playoff spot over the weekend, earning just a point in a 0-0 draw at home to Real Salt Lake. Head coach Bruce Arena and co. have an advantageous game-in-hand over their postseason competition, but face a tough trio of opponents to close their regular season campaign. First up, a cross-country road trip to the Portland Timbers on Wednesday night.

  • Remaining matches: @ Portland Timbers (9/25), vs. New York City FC (9/29), @ Atlanta United (10/6)
  • Last five results: W-D-L-D-D