The Chicago Fire needed Sunday's 2-0 victory against D.C. United like Mother Nature needs a calendar.
For a struggling team trying to integrate two new players into the lineup on a frigid June afternoon, getting 3 points against the worst team in MLS was a must, even with two-thirds of the season still to play.
"It's obviously a great win for our team, a very important game," said Fire coach Frank Klopas. "Both teams were in a situation where we needed points, so we came into it prepared really well."
Bakary Soumare, in his third game back with the team, led the defense in a shutout, the second in a row counting Wednesday's U.S. Open Cup victory.
"Baky and the rest of the guys have been playing better and better, and I think it takes some time when you do bring new players in to kind of adjust and fit in," Klopas said.
"Very important, very important," Soumare added. "It's one of those teams we're going to be fighting against. We're both in a similar situation, and it was good for us to get 3 points, especially considering the (league) results last night. Now we've got to keep getting points and keep getting those points we've lost the first 10 to 11 games."
Mike Magee scored for a second consecutive match, again including Wednesday's against Charlotte, putting the match away with his 85th-minute goal after a ninth-minute United own goal put the Fire ahead.
While the Fire (3-7-2) might be in the process of turning around its season, the season won't turn on a dime.
"Even in the first half we weren't creating. We didn't get much possession in the final third," Magee said. "Then we had a good regroup at halftime and the second half I thought we were great."
The Fire isn't done making moves. Owner Andrew Hauptman, who watched the game with his technical staff as well as former Philadelphia coach and Fire player Peter Nowak, said at halftime he expects the team to acquire another player when the secondary transfer window opens July 9.
"You guys already know that I've been asking politely for more additions," Hautpman said, adding he wants the club technical staff to be aggressive in the international market this summer. "... Hopefully we'll get something done."
But for now, there's progress.
"It's our third win of the year," Magee added, thinking of the Eastern Conference standings. "If my math's right we're 8 points out of the playoffs with a couple of games in hand. There's nothing to do but to build on it."
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