Chicago Fire players don't plan to stick their noses into New York's business. They just want to take care of their own.
With Eastern Conference playoff position coming down to this weekend's final MLS regular-season games, the Fire knows it will earn second place by defeating D.C. United at 3 p.m. Saturday (NBC Sports Network), regardless of what happens in other games. The players also know that if they tie or lose to United, New York and Houston could knock them out of third place down to fourth or fifth. Sporting Kansas City already has the conference regular-season title clinched.
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New York plays at struggling Philadelphia at 12:30 p.m. Saturday (NBC). Houston plays at Colorado at 8 p.m. Saturday.
"Listen, really there's nothing to be concerned about," Fire captain Logan Pause said after training Friday. "We know that our game at 3 p.m. is where our fate hinges. It gets dangerous if you start looking at the table. It's never been what this team and club has been about, needing other results to happen. We'll be just more focused on ourselves."
"I won't be (watching)," forward Chris Rolfe added. "I guess if Frank wants us to we will, but I've got no desire to right now."
Klopas is leaving it up to the players.
"With technology nowadays everybody is going to know what's going on," Klopas said. "But really it doesn't change. We're playing at home. Our mentality is to go on the field and win."
The Fire will go on the field in front of more than 20,000 fans as the team announced Toyota Park is sold out for the game.
Chris Rolfe, who has 8 goals on the season, needs 2 more Saturday to follow in Dominic Oduro's footsteps from 2011 as a double-digit scorer. Oduro was the Fire's first since Damani Ralph in 2003.
"It would be great, of course," Rolfe said. "I haven't thought too much about it, but I always try to score goals and help us win, so if that happens, great."
Fire midfielder Pavel Pardo trained with his teammates again today and appears ready to play after missing six weeks due to leg injuries. He could start and play about 60-70 minutes, or he could come on as a second-half substitute.
"He trained, so he's available," said coach Frank Klopas.
Klopas isn't worried about getting the 36-year-old World Cup veteran prepared for the playoffs.
"He's an experienced guy," Klopas said. "He knows when to push himself and when not to push. He's done it for so many years."
Bring it on:
D.C. United has changed things up the last six games, going with different formations since losing Dwayne De Rosario to injury.
Klopas isn't worried about surprises from United.
"We're ready for them," Klopas said. "We've talked about different situations and different characteristics they have with different players, but really it comes down to just being focused and ready to go."
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