Chicago Fire fans, coach Frank Klopas has a request: Cut short your pregame tailgating and bring the party inside Toyota Park for the players' pregame warmups.
"We have great fans, and sometimes it's difficult getting in early," Klopas said, "but having people from the warmup there, it's a big advantage for our players, to have that kind of atmosphere."
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Klopas said he also wants Fire opponents to see and hear a big crowd when they first take the field for pregame warmups.
"They see that kind of support we have from the start," Klopas said.
Pedal to the metal:
The Fire has a playoff berth in hand, but it's not going to relax for the final two regular-season games -- at struggling New England on Oct. 20, and home against D.C. United at 3 p.m. Oct. 27.
"These are very important games. It matters where you finish. There's a lot left to play for," Frank Klopas said.
The Fire doesn't play this weekend, taking a break for the World Cup qualifiers. He said he doesn't plan to rest any players against New England or D.C. United.
"We have a two-week break right now," Klopas said after training Wednesday. "We need to keep going strong and progress and get better with every game. We need to finish strong. It's an opportunity to relax right now. We need to keep playing and keep playing well."
Individual playoff tickets go on sale at Ticketmaster on Oct. 19, but playoff tickets are available to season-ticket holders and group sales now at chicago-fire.com.
Back on track:
The Fire went to New York last weekend with a two-game losing streak. It regained momentum with a 2-0 victory.
"Those losses probably came at a good time," captain Logan Pause said. "It's hard to think about because you never want to lose games.
"But it got in our head about what we've been about all year, and we went into New York incredibly disciplined with a game plan to be compact, and we were really hard to break down, hard to beat.
"That's what we've been about all year; that's how we've gotten the wins that we've gotten. It was good to get back to that."
More memories made:
Fire players and coaches have turned their attention back to matters on the field, but Monday night's 15th anniversary celebration at the Chicago History Museum was a good break from the season's grind.
"It was fantastic," Frank Klopas said. "It's great to see so many of the old players come back and be reunited again. It just shows you how much everyone cared about the club. Fifteen years is not a long time, but there's a lot of history there."
"It was fantastic," Logan Pause added. "Just a wonderful, wonderful event. It's just amazing to even think that the fans put that on. How much they care about this club, and great to see the old faces who laid such a strong foundation."
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