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Jonathan Bornstein debuts as the Chicago Fire’s playoff hopes take another hit

By Ernesto Hernandez

In front of a season-high crowd of 18,232, the Fire fell further back in the standings and are now level with the Columbus Crew in 11th place, nine points the New England Revolution for the last playoff spot.

Jonathan Bornstein made his official Chicago Fire against D.C. United and played pretty well in the process. Unfortunately, the Fire were unable to take advantage of the few opportunities they created and drew 0-0 with D.C. United.

“I feel good actually. I feel proud that I was able to play 90 minutes. I’ve always kind of prided myself upon fitness throughout my career so to come in without actually having played 90 minutes in quite a long time, I was very proud of myself. But I was more proud of the group and the way we responded tonight,” said Bornstein after the game.

Besides Bornstein’s debut, the story of this game is the same story of every other game where the Fire have been unable to pick up the three points.

They created a few chances but lack of finishing doomed them in the end. To their credit, the defense was able to stifle D.C. despite the opponents having Wayne Rooney on the field. The much-maligned Kenneth Kronholm even made a decent save off a Rooney free-kick and picked up his first clean sheet as a member of the Fire.

Perhaps the best chance for Chicago came in the dying minutes of the game where Dax McCarty received the ball inside the six-yard box but his shot deflected off a D.C. United defender and missed wide.

With nine points now separating the Fire and the last remaining playoff spot, their hopes look nearly impossible. Not only do they have to make up that ground, but they also need to leapfrog quite a number of teams in the process and some who have a game in hand in the process.

Head coach Veljko Paunovic and his team, however, are not giving up.

“As I told them, I’ll say it here also. We have 30 points to fight for. Nobody’s gonna give up,” said Paunovic in his postgame press conference.

“The way we play today showed me. The guys told me on the field that they are not giving up and that they are going to push and everyone here is going to push for every single point that is left. Thirty points is plenty of points that we can aspire for our ultimate goal which is get somehow in the playoffs.”

Chicago’s push for three of those thirty points starts next week when they go on the road -in search of their first away win- to take on the Houston Dynamo.

 

 

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