|Marco Pappa -- Getty Images|
The Chicago Fire garnered a signature win when they absolutely needed it. And most importantly for Chicago, the team now finds itself in a realistic position to catch a playoff spot with only four regular-season matches remaining.
The Fire won for the fifth time in their past six matches and were led by midfielder Marco Pappa's hat trick en route to a 3-0 victory against Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium in front of 20,762 at Sandy, Utah.
Pappa had been in a significant scoring funk, having failed to find the back of the net since June 26 against the New York Red Bulls.
Now Chicago (7-8-15, 36 points) is within three points of those Red Bulls, who currently hold the final wild card position with 39 points.
"That was great to see," Fire defender Dan Gargan said of Pappa's performance. "He's a player that we need, and when he's sticking the ball into the back of the net, that's phenomenal for us because that's just another weapon that we have. It's been coming. He comes to training every day and puts in extra sessions. He's such a talented player."
Read more at ESPNChicago.com.