For the first time since 2012, the Chicago Fire are heading back to the postseason after beating the San Jose Earthquakes 4-1 on Wednesday night.
Thanks to the win, the Fire are in the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference, just one point behind Atlanta United for the third seed.
Nemanja Nikolic scored a pair of goals against the Earthquakes, tying him with Portland Timbers star Diego Valeri for the most goals in the league with 20 tallies on the season.
The Fire have three matches remaining on their schedule, and will be looking to fall no lower than the fourth seed. In the opening round of the MLS playoffs, the top two seeded teams get a bye through the first round, and the third and fourth seeded teams get to play at home in one-game playoffs against the sixth and fifth-seeded teams, respectively.
Home-field advantage is especially critical for the Fire, as the team has an 11-2-2 record at Toyota Park this season. Away from home, the Fire are just 4-8-4, but they did become just the second team to beat the Earthquakes in San Jose with their win on Wednesday.
The Fire will be back at Toyota Park on Saturday night for a critical showdown against second-seeded New York City FC. The Fire currently trail New York by four points in the standings, and could make a big leap up the table if they’re able to secure a win on their home turf.