Engine Company: America’s Hat – A Tale of Chicago’s Evil Canadian Twin

Seeing The Men in Red play at home is really just half the fun, but not all Fire fans are able to see them anywhere else. To experience the joys of an Away Game by proxy, OTF contributor Jacob Peters provides us some background on Fire supporter group history on-the-road, established rivalries, and some footnotes on how to effectively criticize, troll, and generally enjoy Fire away games. 

Sing in full voice. Hate with reason…

Toronto is kind of like an alternate reality Chicago.  One in which we didn’t tear out our Streetcars in the 50s, decided to randomly insert “u’s” into our words unnecessarily, expanded Meigs Field into a discount airline hub, and never built the elevated portions of the “L”.  It’s also an alternate reality in which the Chicago Fire built a stadium downtown adjacent to McCormick Place (this guy’s still holding onto that dream), and then we expanded it with an epic roof.

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Toyota Park is nice, but this…drool

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Nikolic, Schweinsteiger Lead Evisceration of Revs

2017-04-15 CHI v NE image

(Photo courtesy chicago-fire.com)

The Chicago Fire extended their unbeaten run to three matches on the heels of a dominant 3:0 victory over the New England Revolution at Toyota Park on Saturday. The Fire treated the Revs the way a dog treats a fire hydrant, and made them like it. Nemanja Nikolic scored twice to complement Bastian Schweinsteiger’s opener, as the Fire climbed to third place in the MLS Eastern Conference.

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Engine Company: Revscum

To experience the joys of supporter culture by-proxy OTF contributor Jacob Peters provides us some background on Fire history, rivalries, and some footnotes on how to effectively criticize, troll, and generally enjoy Fire games. Next up, Saturday’s home match-up against our most frequent playoff opponent, the Boston Providence Foxboro Foxborough New England Revolution.

Sing in full voice. Hate with reason.

On Saturday Chicago Fire plays host to a club that has met us in a plurality of our playoff appearances over the years. A club that has produced some of our biggest villains (Taylor Twellman and the blind draw that drew Jermaine Jones into the grubby paws of the Krafts, to name two), who we have deftly made the subject of running jokes.

Chicago Fire Supporters Christmas Card to Taylor Twellman

[Ed. Note] Look at the size of this man’s head.

To understand the extent to which this history has influenced the feeling of many Fire fans towards the Revs, I direct you to a post earlier this week from the current Section 8 Board Chairman Scott Greene on the ISA website:

It may be April, but as fans, we know the grind to make the playoffs in MLS.  I’ve long hated the Revolution.  It was a rivalry built out of failures by the Fire.  Knocked out by the Revs 3 straight years, 2005-2007, in the playoffs was heartbreaking.  I was lucky enough to witness the 2007 match in New England with a group of 30.  Taylor Twellman’s bicycle kick happened right in front of us to secure the winner.  Paolo Wanchope’s leap over the Revs bench to get a ball out of bounds for a throw in also happened right in front of us.  I reckon it was the most inspired thing he did while wearing a Fire jersey.

The Fire got their revenge in 2008 winning on aggregate 3-0 in Eastern Conference semi-finals, but the game really sticks out for me is the second leg of the 2009 Eastern Conference semi-finals.  Down 2-1 after the first leg, the Fire came up with a truly famous victory.

Last year’s U.S. Open Cup semi-final loss in New England re-ignited that rivalry for myself.  50 of us travelled out to Foxborough on Tuesday night to watch the Fire lose, and for some it was their 4th time watching the Fire get eliminated in a competition in New England.  It was my second time.

I fucking hate the Revolution, plain and simple.  I hope to see new and old faces out there on Saturday.  Grab your tickets here.

Scott Greene

Chair, Section 8 Chicago

Or to put it in list form:

  • 2016 U.S. Open Cup Semifinal
  • 2009 MLS Cup Conference Semifinal
  • 2008 MLS Cup Conference Semifinal
  • 2007 MLS Cup Conference Final
  • 2006 MLS Cup Conference Semifinal
  • 2006 U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinal
  • 2005 MLS Cup Conference Final
  • 2005 U.S. Open Cup Fourth Round
  • 2003 MLS Cup Conference Final
  • 2002 MLS Cup Conference Semifinal
  • 2000 MLS Cup Quarterfinal

We’ve went on a bit of a hiatus for 7 years, but for those who went to last year’s U.S. Open Cup Semifinal (and took the bus we chartered from Boston) it’s clear that the history of those playoff games influences our rivalry to this day.

Fire-Fan-2007

Original photo caption noted that this look was directed at NE Rev Jeff Larentowicz

Burns — A Brief Critique of the Worst Sports Logo of All Time: 

The Revolution are the only team that has not redesigned their logo since the league was founded in 1996. Full Stop.

This is not necessarily a valid critique in Major League Baseball, the NFL, NHL, or NBA (still killing it, Bulls), but MLS was founded in the mid 90s. Basically the sports logo graphic the design equivalent of the Dark Ages (there are exceptions that prove this rule, so let’s not get into our own beautiful crest), and every single one of those logos needed a redesign (it could be argued DC didn’t need to do their most recent redesign).

There are many reasons that this adulterated flag above is a horrible crest, it might not even be fair to call it a crest or badge, since it doesn’t even seem to fit the typology. From it looking more like a temporary tattoo, to the faux paint strokes, or the soccer ball made of stars, this logo is a master class in what not to do.  No matter how you try to dress it up with background images or other graphic elements, the bones of this design are the problem, wipe the slate & start anew.

Which is why if you do an image search of “New England Revolution Crest“, a majority of the results are fan submissions in hopes that someone will put this crest to rest.

 

Sound of Sirens — Fire chants to Shout at the RevScum:

We don’t have many Rev specific chants, but there is fertile ground in the fact that we wear red & they have a continental army specific branding. Such as “Paul Revere was a Snitch”. Which is literally just individual fans randomly yelling out “Paul Revere was a Snitch!” during the run of play.

We used to have some player specific chants for the Revs, but they aren’t really relevant anymore due to trades & retirements.  If you have any ideas for some chants based on their current roster, leave them in the comments.

 

Watch Commander — Where to See the Game, and What to Look For:

New England Temporary Tattoo has no injuries headed into this match, but they have not won in Bridgeview in over 4 years (AKA pre-Magic Mike). We on the other hand are missing David Accam to hip pain & Lucho Solignac to a slight knee injury, so it is possible that we might see Daniel Johnson’s first MLS start on the wing. Matt Polster took part in full training, so you might even see him as a sub for his first appearance of the season. After last week’s 3-4-3 surprise, there are a lot of potential starting pairs, and this team is finally showing the flexibility we have heard preached. Show up or tune in to find out what transpires.

Here’s where you can go to catch the Pub-To-Pitch buses, or for some ungodly reason you choose not to witness this game live.

  • North (Lakeview, North Center, Roscoe, Lakeview)
    • Schubas on Belmont/Southport
    • AJ Hudson’s at Grace/Ashland (Pub to Pitch Partner-sold out)
    • The Globe Pub near the Irving Park Brown Line just east of Damen (Pub to Pitch Partner-sold out)
    • The Atlantic Bar on Lincoln/Winnemac (Pub to Pitch Partner)
  • Northwest (Logan Square, Wicker/Bucktown/Ukie)
    • Cleo’s just east of Damen on Chicago (Pub to Pitch Partner-sold out)
    • Go Tavern on Armitage just east of Kedzie (Pub to Pitch Partner-sold out)
  • City (River North, Loop, South Loop)
    • Fado on Grand/Clark (Pub to Pitch Partner-sold out)
    • Galway Arms on Clark/Arlington (Pub to Pitch Partner)
    • Kroll’s on 18th/Michigan (Pub to Pitch Partner-sold out)
    • La Birreria on the 2nd floor of Eataly at Ohio/Wabash?
  • The Outer Limits
    • Rock Island Public House in Blue Island, 13328 Old Western Ave
    • Imperial Oak right across from the Willow Springs Metra Stop

If you know of any other bars in or outside of the city that play Fire games, let us know.

Kickoff 4pm Central Time on CSN+ Chicago

 

 

 

Nose to the Grindstone, Three Points Banked

2017-04-08 CHI v CLB

(Photo courtesy chicago-fire.com)

Following their 1:1 draw in Columbus in the season opener, the Chicago Fire came out intent to improve on that outcome in the second match of the 2017 series at Toyota Park on Saturday. The Fire blazed out of the gate and cashed in with a well taken strike from sniper Nemanja Nikolic. That lone goal proved to be enough, as an organized Fire defense thwarted the Crew at every turn. Poor marksmanship by the visitors certainly made the job easier for the Fire. The victory gives the Fire eight points from five matches and they trail first-place Columbus by two points; the Crew, however, have played one more game.

With central midfielder Juninho suspended, coach Veljko Paunovic shook up his formation into a 3-4-3. Johan Kappelhof, Joao Meira and Jonathan Campbell started in front of goalie Jorge Bava. Michael Harrington and Brandon Vincent morphed from their normal fullback roles into wingbacks, while Bastian Schweinsteiger and Dax McCarty patrolled the middle. Michael de Leeuw and David Accam flanked Nikolic up front. The switch in formation gave Campbell another opportunity to show that he belongs in the eleven, and it forced Arturo Alvarez into a seat on the bench.

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Engine Company: Crew on Fire — A History of Hate

To experience the joys of supporter culture by-proxy OTF contributor Jacob Peters provides us some background on Fire history, rivalries, and some footnotes on how to effectively criticize, troll, and generally enjoy Fire games. Next up, Saturday’s home match-up against Our All-Time Most Disliked Team, the Cleveland  Cincinnati Columbus Crew.  As always…

Sing in full voice. Hate with reason.

On Saturday Chicago Fire plays host to a “city’ which has been affectionally called everything from “a Suburb of Detroit” to “Cowtown” by the Fire faithful. A few times each year, this poor team is allowed to escape their oft-ablaze dump of an overgrown high school football field and see how “the other people live.”

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Burn On, Big Bus

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New Guy Looks Good, But Can’t Do Everything

CHI v MON 2017-04-01

(Photo courtesy Chris Sweda, Chicago Tribune)

Bastian Schweinsteiger’s debut for the Chicago Fire on Saturday hardly could have gone better had it been scripted. He scored to put his team on top and was the midfield general that the Fire so desperately need him to be. Unfortunately, a Designated Player can only do so much on his own;  the Fire were plagued by lackluster finishing and some unforgivable defending and had to settle for a share of the points with the Montreal Impact in a 2:2 draw.

Schweinsteiger, after just three days of training, seemed to fit comfortably into the Fire’s midfield. He could be found at either end of the field and almost everywhere in between, making himself the focal point of the Fire’s attack. He was everywhere that he needed to be and basically took the wheel and started driving the car. The message he seemed to be imparting was, “Follow me, boys, let’s go score some goals.” Although the Fire found the back of the net just twice on Saturday, one can imagine that the scoring chances will be piling up once the new guy gets in sync with the rest of his teammates.

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OTF Roundtable: The Signal, The Noise, and The German

Making predictions is hard. And it becomes even harder when the information you are working with is, well… noisy. In Nate Silver’s book, “The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail – But Some Don’t,” he connects our ineptability to make accurate predictions (humans, not Fire fans) as an evolutionary problem identifying the truth from nonsense.

In a line that feels very Chicago Fire-y, Silver says, “Some stone-age strengths have become information-age weaknesses.” Let’s replace “stone-age,” with “MLS 1.0,” pause for a moment, and then move on.

It’s been a really noisy four weeks: An opening draw against a Columbus team that might be awful, a shrug-then-bunker opening day against half an RSL side, then a dizzying loss to Atlanta that gave us about eight minutes of actual soccer to work with.  Bad soccer.

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