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Monday, April 12, 2010
Fire take plunge to No. 14 in rankings

By Charlie Corr

In the Week 4 ESPNSoccernet.com MLS Power Rankings, the Chicago Fire dropped considerably from ninth to 14th place, following a 2-1 home loss to the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.

The Fire's five-point swing in the rankings was the largest of the week in either direction.

The talk of the 2009 season -- missed chances and home-record woes -- already has found its way back to the weekly Fire dialogue. Chicago (0-2-1) had its chances this past week. But a 20,000-plus Toyota Park crowd witnessed the team's first home opener loss at the Bridgeview facility.

One person who was in the midst of the bad fortune surprisingly was Fire forward Collins John, who had two great chances -- a redirect that went wide left and a shot at the top of the box that was blocked away by San Jose defender Jason Hernandez.

"I was kind of celebrating, really," John said of his second big scoring chance. "I just felt it was in. And at the last minute, I don't know what [Hernandez] did at the line. I was frustrated."

Poor defensive sequences by the Fire created some opportunities for the Quakes, capped off by Ike Opara's game-winner as he slid inside past Chicago defender Tim Ward. San Jose jumped from 14th to 10th place in the rankings.

But things could change this weekend when Chicago takes on the 16th-place team in this week's rankings -- D.C. United. Though the Fire have historically struggled at United's RFK Stadium (going 5-10-4), Chicago faces an Eastern Conference foe that has been poor on both sides of the ball to start the 2010 season.

United (0-3-0) has been shut out in its first two matches and recently lost to the expansion Philadelphia Union last week.

This Saturday, two successful MLS franchises will be in search of their first victory of the season. If Chicago manages a road win, that would build some helpful momentum as the Fire then host a pair of games in back-to-back weeks.