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RBNY hosts Chicago with eye on Supporters' Shield

5:11 PM, Oct 25, 2013   |    comments
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Harrison, NJ (SportsNetwork.com) - Red Bull New York will be looking to secure the first major honor in the club's history when it welcomes the Chicago Fire to Red Bull Arena on Sunday.

New York, entering the weekend atop the Eastern Conference with 56 points, can clinch the MLS Supporters' Shield with a victory over the Fire, a feat that would hand the club its first-ever piece of major silverware.

The Red Bulls kept their hopes of achieving the best overall record in MLS alive last time out by claiming a resounding 3-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium, a particularly impressive result given Houston's penchant for peaking toward the end of the season.

"It means a lot," said Tim Cahill after the win over Houston. "We were controlling our own destiny today before the game. It's there for us to take and for us to throw away."

New York is unbeaten in its last seven regular season contests, tying the club's longest undefeated streak of the season.

According to midfield stalwart Dax McCarty, a great deal of New York's success this term comes down to the depth within the squad, something that has helped the Red Bulls overcome numerous injury concerns and international call-ups throughout the course of the season.

"This is the deepest team I've ever been on in my career," said McCarty. "I think the results speak for themselves, (especially) when you have four or five new guys in the lineup. They stepped up and played great."

The only thing standing in New York's way of claiming the Supporters' Shield is Chicago, a motivated side that is still hopeful of locking up a spot in the postseason.

The Fire will clinch a playoff berth with a win over the Red Bulls, but they can also get in if the New England Revolution or Houston Dynamo fail to win on Sunday.

It has been a remarkable journey for Chicago this season. The club appeared to be a long shot to advance beyond the regular season, but winning its last three contests has kept the postseason dream alive.

"The team stuck together," head coach Frank Klopas said. "All of those games, even adversity in the beginning, made us a better team. I think you get better through difficult moments, and I think this team right now is better in that sense than the team that I had last year, winning 17 games. ... We're just excited to have the opportunity to play another game because one day going by without soccer is not good for us."

The addition of Mike Magee, who arrived earlier in the season in a trade with the Los Angeles Galaxy, certainly has been a turning point for the club. His total of 20 goals this season, which puts him atop the MLS scoring chart in a tie with Marco Di Vaio of the Montreal Impact, has resulted in strong MVP consideration for the Fire attacker.

"I'm in my city, the city that I love and hearing them chant (MVP) with my family in the stands is huge," Magee said. "Having said that, I know what's really at stake and it's not an MVP award or a Golden Boot Award, or any other award, it's about getting to the playoffs and knowing anything can happen from there.

"It feels good, don't get me wrong, but to be honest it's the last thing on my mind."

The Sports Network

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