The last three Chicago Fire seasons have ended "in the chilly November air at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.," writes Nick Firchau. This year, at least, with the first leg of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the New England Revolution being a road game, the Fire's campaign can at the very worst only end in its own stadium.
"It feels like our season ends in their stadium every year," said Fire midfielder Logan Pause. It doesn't just feel like it, Logan, the stats show it actually does. "For whatever reason, it's played out that way year after year for us, and it's something we want to change."
But after beating New York Thursday, the Fire finished above the Revs, giving them home advantage. In the Major League Soccer interpretation of this concept, home advantage means hosting second, though scientists are still working on the empirical search for concrete proof that this gives a team any kind of benefit whatsoever.
Still, the night's hero Chris Rolfe (three goals, two assists) was in an understandably positive enough mood to maintain "it's an advantage because we can go in there first on that turf and sort of get it out of the way. We want to go in there and do what we can on their turf, and then come back here and finish it in front of our fans." In this case, at least, the advantage is more psychological, given the way the Fire has fallen in fall the past three years. Provided, of course, that it doesn't head back home trailing by more then one goal.