Chicago Fire's Upcoming Week Presents Challenges and a Familiar Face

Ernest Shepard@@ernestshepardAnalyst IIIMay 7, 2012

Former Chicago Fire star returns to Toyota Park this week to be inducted in the Fire's Ring of Honor.
Former Chicago Fire star returns to Toyota Park this week to be inducted in the Fire's Ring of Honor.George Frey/Getty Images

The Chicago Fire expect to be very busy this week with two MLS games on the docket.

Real Salt Lake visits Toyota Park on Wednesday while the Sporting Kansas City invades on Saturday.

A difficult stretch continues for the Fire who defeated Chivas USA 2-1 on Friday behind rookie center back Austin Berry’s first career goal.

The Fire were also without coach Frank Klopas, who was suspended for abusive language to the referees during the end of the loss against Seattle.  

This week's matches against Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City will go a long way in determining how far the Fire can go as MLS Cup contenders.

Real Salt Lake are tied for the best record in the league. A win on Wednesday would definitely make a statement. Adding to the drama will be the Ring of Honor induction of all-time great defender C.J. Brown.

Brown is the Fire’s all-time leader in starts, minutes and overall games played. The current Real Salt Lake assistant coach is a two-time Chicago Fire defender of the year (2006 and 2010) and three-time humanitarian of the year (2001-03).

Emotions will be running high that night.

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On Saturday, the Fire will have completed a stint in which they would have played three matches in eight days. Winning the two games this week would pull the Fire within two points of the Eastern Conference-leading Sporting Kansas City.

And that is exactly where they want to be.