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Fire remain optimistic; Host New England on CSN

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Fire remain optimistic; Host New England on CSN

Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011
Posted: 1:00 p.m.
Associated Press

The Chicago Fire have maintained their very slim playoff hopes thanks to improved play at home.

The Fire will try to pick up some much-needed points Sunday when they host the New England Revolution and win their fourth straight at home.

Chicago (5-8-15) is running out of time to make a move in the standings. The Fire, who have six games remaining, need to jump five teams to move into the final wild-card spot, but they remain optimistic.

We have six games left and we need all six, thats our attitude, goalkeeper Sean Johnson told the Fires official website. We cant afford any more ties or losses and I think everybody understands that and is ready to get after these final six games.

The Fire are 3-1-2 in their last six games and are 4-2-8 at Toyota Park after beating Chivas USA 3-2 on Sept. 17 despite playing most of the match with 10 men.

Dominic Oduro scored in the 85th minute to break a 2-all tiehis team-leading 10th goal and seventh in the last seven games. Oduro has scored the winning goal in Chicagos last three victories.

Cory Gibbs opened the scoring but was ejected after getting a red card in the 37th minute. He will miss this match due to suspension and is the third Fire defender in as many weeks to be out due to suspension.

We will miss Cory with the red card. He brings so much leadership on the field, coach Frank Klopas said.

The Fire will try to gain some important points against lowly New England (5-12-12), which is in last place in the Eastern Conference.

The Revolution suffered a 3-0 loss at Portland on Sept. 16 to drop to 1-8-6 on the road. They have lost five of nine overall.

New England never recovered from conceding a goal in the ninth minute as the Timbers controlled the run of play and put eight of their 20 shots on goal.

The Revolutions own attack was hurt when Rajko Lekicsecond on the team with six goalswas forced out before the half with an ankle sprain that is expected to keep him sidelined for perhaps a month.

A.J. Soares is also out after suffering a groin injury in the second half.

Despite their slim playoff chances, New England isnt giving up until it is officially eliminated.

Our season is on the line, pretty much, defender Darrius Barnes said. We know we have to pretty much win out. Chicagos going to be a difficult place to go, but theyre right there, neck and neck with us. Pretty much the winner of that game is going to have a chance to go on and make a push for the playoffs.

Chicago and New England played to a 1-all draw June 18, with Lekics goal in the 48th minute canceling out Oduros first-half tally. The Fire are 7-0-1 in their last eight home games against the Revolution, outscoring them 16-3.
Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Is Teddy Bridgewater too expensive for the Bears?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Is Teddy Bridgewater too expensive for the Bears?

Laurence Holmes, JJ Stankevitz and Mark Grote join Kap on the panel.

0:00 - The pressure continues to mount on Rob Manfred as the Astros scandal lingers. He apologized on Tuesday but should that be enough for him to keep his job?

17:00 - Drew Brees is heading back to New Orleans, so Teddy Bridgewater will be looking for a new home. The guys discuss if he'll be too expensive for the Bears. if he is, who could come to Chicago to join Mitch in the QB room at Halas Hall?

Listen here or in the embedded player below.

Sports Talk Live Podcast

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Bulls coach Jim Boylen stumps for Rudy Tomjanovich's Hall of Fame bid

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USA Today

Bulls coach Jim Boylen stumps for Rudy Tomjanovich's Hall of Fame bid

In case you forgot, Jim Boylen once worked for Rudy Tomjanovich. In fact, the former Rockets coach gave Boylen his NBA start, hiring him as an assistant coach and video coordinator way back in 1992.

Boylen saw first-hand the coaching chops and commitment Tomjanovich displayed as the Rockets won back-to-back NBA titles while Michael Jordan was playing baseball in the mid-1990s. So it's beyond loyalty when Boylen says he believes, like many others, that Tomjanovich belongs in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. The organization named Tomjanovich a finalist over All-Star weekend in Chicago.

[RELATED: Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett highlight Hall of Fame finalists]

"He's deserving," Boylen said. "I don't know why he's not in there yet. It doesn't make sense to me. Two championships, a gold medal."

That's a reference to Tomjanovich coaching USA Basketball's gold-medal winning team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Tomjanovich is an occasional visitor to the Advocate Center to watch Boylen.

"What he did with those Rockets teams and his playoff games — sixth seed in '95 — nobody's duplicated that. To win it from the sixth seed, play on the road like we did," Boylen said. "He has an unbelievable record in elimination games, which I think is a true test of your coaching and being able to communicate your message. I think he's getting in."

Does Boylen possess inside information?

"No," Boylen said, smiling. "He's due."

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