Chicago Fire head coach Veljko Paunovic was pleased with the way his team came through the first half, but acknowledged that the Fire will need to “keep playing the same way we are playing” if they are to take their first steps toward winning the MLS Cup.
“I’m really pleased with how we came out, that we were able to get a result, that the players did a really good job and it was really good for the team,” Paunović said.
“But I think it was a very difficult game.
We need to continue playing the right way and if we play the way I like, that’s how we will go.
If we do that, we will be very close to winning the Cup.
But we have to keep going.
That’s what we have done so far.”
Chicago (8-8-10) have a six-game winless streak and will be without center back Michael Harrington for the next two games after he sustained a groin strain in the first leg.
Harrington missed his third straight game.
Forward Kelyn Rowe and midfielder Luis Solignac are both questionable for the match, as are center backs Carlos Alvarez and Alex Muyl and goalkeeper Tyler Deric.
The Fire are coming off their first road loss of the season and have won four straight away from home, with wins at Portland, New England and LA.
They had won three consecutive games overall.
“It’s very important for us, to try to win every game we play and to continue to play the same game and to be strong defensively,” Pampic said.
“But when we go to a place like this, we have a good chance to win.”
The Fire will face the New York Red Bulls (11-8) at Red Bull Arena on Sunday at 7 p.m.
The Fire will be missing goalkeeper Bill Hamid (groin) and defender Tony Rocha (left knee) for the second straight match, and forward Andrew Farrell (left hamstring) and midfielder Will Johnson (knee) for their respective matches.