The Chicago Fire have lost seven consecutive MLS games and are at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings heading into Saturday night’s game at Montreal. But head coach Veljko Paunovic said his squad, which is seven points beneath the playoff line with nine games to go, isn’t ready to throw in the towel yet.
“No matter what happens, we will give our best,” Paunovic said. “Nine games, nine finals. We’ll give in every one of them our best. For sure we’re going to change this curse of losing games.”
“Our fans deserve more than us looking towards next year,” Fire captain Dax McCarty told MLSsoccer.com. “We owe it to ourselves to have a little bit of pride and play until there’s absolutely no chance of us playing in the postseason.”
Chicago, trying to avoid missing the playoffs for the seventh time in nine years, hasn’t won a game since June 30, a 3-2 victory over New York City Football Club. The Fire (6-14-5, 23) come in off a 1-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls on Aug. 11.
Montreal (9-13-3, 30) enters the contest tied with Philadelphia (9-11-3, 30) for fifth place but the Union have two games in hand. The New England Revolution (7-8-8, 29), who also have played two less games than the Impact, are just a point behind in the quest for sixth place and the final playoff spot.
Montreal is winless in its last four games but has garnered three draws during that span. The Impact could get a boost with the addition of French international Bacary Sagna, a right back who played in the Premier League with Arsenal and Manchester City, who is expected to make his debut after arriving from Benevento Calcio of Serie A this week.
“I think it should be quick,” Montreal coach Remi Garde said when asked by MLSsoccer.com about the time frame for Sagna to see his first action with the Impact. “My plan is to use him as fast as possible, depending on what I see in training this week and depending on the discussions I have with him. He’s a player who will bring his experience, but also his football capabilities.”
This is the second meeting between the two teams. Chicago won the first one, 1-0, on May 9 at Toyota Park on a goal by defender Kevin Ellis in the 89th minute.
—Field Level Media