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Chastened Fire focuses on recovery Saturday against the Red Bulls

Updated: November 7, 2012 6:11AM



Fire center back Arne Friedrich may be the team’s jokester off the field, but on it, the 33-year-old German is as intense as any player in Major League Soccer.

It was no surprise that after a 3-1 home loss to the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday — which, to a man, the Fire said was its worst performance of the season — Friedrich was as angry as he’s been this year. He formally addressed the team immediately after the game — an effort to ensure Wednesday’s debacle won’t be repeated, as the Fire only has three regular-season games left.

‘‘Everybody took their responsibility,’’ Friedrich said. ‘‘Every one of us made mistakes, and we have to look at our performance. Everybody has to do it. We are a very good team. The character is great. But for me, we first have to defend, and we have to come out in a good shape.’’

The Fire has a two-game losing streak after a 2-0 loss at Kansas City last Saturday snapped a five-game winning streak.

The party line now is to forget both losses and focus on Saturday’s game in New York against the Red Bulls. The Fire and the Red Bulls are tied for second in the Eastern Conference with 53 points. However, with 54 goals this season, 11 more than the Fire, the Red Bulls hold the tiebreaker.

‘‘The best thing for our group is to forget [the losses],’’ captain Logan Pause said. ‘‘We’ve got a big, exciting match on Saturday. We’re really looking forward to it. One of the good things about having a quick turnaround is that you’re back at it. You don’t have time to dwell on it.’’

The Fire (16-10-5) can make the playoffs for the first time in two years with a win Saturday combined with a Columbus Crew loss or tie against Kansas City.



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