MatchDay: Red Bulls vs. Chicago Fire (Sunday, 5:00 PM, MSG, UniMás)

The Red Bulls battle the Fire in the last match of the regular season

THE MATCH

Red Bulls vs. Chicago Fire
Sunday, October 27
5:00 PM Eastern
Watch on MSG (4:30 PM pregame show), UniMas
Listen on 1050 AM (ESPN Deportes)

MATCH NOTES

 

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ABOUT THE MATCH

The New York Red Bulls can clinch the first Supporters' Shield in the club's 18-year history with a win on Sunday evening over the Chicago Fire on the final day of the regular season. The Red Bulls enter the weekend tied for the regular-season league championship with Real Salt Lake, which has already completed its schedule. New York is one point ahead of Sporting Kansas City and two points ahead of the Portland Timbers, both of whom are in action on Saturday. If both fail to win, a draw would clinch the Supporters' Shield for the Red Bulls, but if either wins, New York will need a win of its own. With a chance to clinch a title on home-field for the first time, the Red Bulls will kick off against the Fire at 5:00 PM ET (TV: MSG, pregame show startingn at 4:30 PM; Radio: ESPN Deportes Radio Nueva York 1050 AM).
 
Sunday's match, Fan Appreciation Day, is also an opportunity to clinch the top seed in the Eastern Conference and home-field advantage in the second leg of all playoff series, with the Red Bulls' needed result depending on Kansas City's result from Saturday. While the conference semifinal matchups remain to be decided, the Red Bulls know they will start the playoffs on the road Nov. 2-3 and will host the second leg at Red Bull Arena Nov. 6-7.
 
The Red Bulls are riding a seven-game unbeaten streak (5-0-2) after their 3-0 win over the Houston Dynamo last Sunday. Tim Cahill scored the fastest goal in MLS history just 8 seconds into the match, and Ibrahim Sekagya and Bradley Wright-Phillips both scored their first MLS goals in the second half to secure the win. Goalkeeper Luis Robles made three saves to record his 11th shutout of the season.

Chicago (14-12-7, 49 pts.) has won three consecutive games as part of a surge that has seen them reach fourth place in the Eastern Conference, but by the slimmest of margins. Depending on weekend results from Houston, New England, and Philadelphia, Chicago could need a draw or a win just to qualify for the playoffs. The Fire started off the year 2-7-1 but are 12-5-5 since June 2, fueled by Golden Boot candidate Mike Magee, who began his career with the MetroStars and began this season with the LA Galaxy before being traded to Chicago in exchange for Robbie Rogers. Magee has 20 goals on the season, almost as many in one year as the 23 goals he scored in six season with the MetroStars and Red Bulls from 2003-08. Magee is tied with Montreal's Marco Di Vaio for the league scoring lead, one ahead of Vancouver's Camilo heading into the season's final weekend. Chicago will be without midfielder Jeff Larentowicz, suspended due to yellow card accumulation, but the Fire's roster does include former Red Bull midfielder Joel Lindpere (who leads the Fire with 7 assists) and Montville, N.J. native Dilly Duka, who trained with the Red Bulls Academy as a teenager.

Chicago leads the all-time series 23-12-9 and has won three of the last four head-to-head games. The Fire won the teams' only other meeting this season by a 3-1 margin back on April 7 at Toyota Park despite an opening goal from Red Bulls defender Jamison Olave. The Red Bulls are 2-1-1 against the Fire at Red Bull Arena.

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