Mike Magee was rushed into the Chicago Fire's postgame locker room Saturday night, coach's orders.
It has been a long, hard season for the Fire, but after 28 games the club finally vaulted into playoff position for the first time this year with a come-from-behind 3-2 victory against the New England Revolution at Toyota Park.
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Coach Frank Klopas wanted to celebrate by dipping into his Greek heritage and breaking plates in the locker room.
"I told (Juan Luis Anangono), it's Greek night, so if you score you get to break some plates, and I gave him like 10 plates in the locker room to break," Klopas said of the recently signed forward who scored his first Fire goal of the season to tie the game at 1-1 in the 30th minute.
"I think that was big motivation for him."
Jumping into fifth place in the MLS Eastern Conference also was pretty good motivation for Anangono and his teammates. The Fire (11-11-6, 39 points) is tied for the final playoff spot with Philadelphia with the Fire having a game in hand.
"It's huge. We had that slow start," Klopas said. "… We knew that you want to be right there in the end, and we're right there, so there's a lot for play for.
"We're very excited to be in the position we are. We've earned this. The guys have earned this with all their hard work and sacrifices they've made. We're not happy with where we are, but this is a great win."
The Fire has been victimized by late goals lately, but this time it got the late goal, a 25-yard laser from second-half substitute Alex in the 86th minute that left Magee unsure of what to do.
"First I was about to go nuts, then I looked at him and he didn't celebrate," said Magee, who scored in the 55th minute to tie the game at 2-2, his 10th goal of the season for the Fire. "So then I was in extreme disappointment, and then I went nuts again.
"It was amazing. We've been trying to get that type of goal at the end of the game for a while now and for it to finally come at such an important time was massive."
After taking two ties and a loss in the previous three games, it was a happy Fire locker room after the game, but not so much at halftime down 2-1, Magee said. Jeff Larentowicz, wearing the captain's armband, reminded his teammates of their situation.
"It was clear," Larentowicz said. "We were down 2-1 and if we didn't get any points or we only got 1 point out of this game, I felt like it wasn't going to be enough and it might not be enough to recover in the end. We just had to push. I think everybody knew that anyway."
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