OTF Roundtable: Chicago Fire Week 24
Not really a Roundtable this week per se, but we’re doin’ it anyway!
The past week in MLS was a crazy one! Clint Dempsey is going to Seattle. As a result, the next Seattle vs. Portland match is expected to have over 65,000 people in attendance. The LA Galaxy filled their goalkeeping needs. Rumors are circulating that Charlie Davies could be coming back to MLS in New England. Oh right, this is a Fire blog…
chicago-fire.com’s Jeff Crandall recently asked on Twitter why Patrick Nyarko’s goal and assist against Philly didn’t get more attention from the MLS crowd. The reason is simple: with so much going on in the league, it’s hard to pay attention to a mediocre team that does little to shake things up. Dempsey obviously wasn’t going to come to Chicago, and that’s okay. What’s harder to swallow is simply watching this Fire team play.
I miss the days when the Fire had an identity. Now, their counterattacking style always comes off feeling lucky, rather than skillful. Their defense was once hard-nosed and feared. Now, it’s known that if you pressure the Fire back line you’ll probably cause an easy turnover. The offense is a lurking, never constant, threat. It all just feels so disjointed. Sure, they beat Philly over the weekend, but it wasn’t exactly enjoyable to watch. You know what was enjoyable to watch? Nearly every single other game played in MLS.
So if you’re wondering why people aren’t talking about the Fire, it’s because nobody’s watching anymore. The rest of the league is on the rise and putting together teams that play attractive soccer. They’re promoting players from their youth academies. They’re signing effective, ready to play, designated players (Valeri (POR), Bieler (SKC), Martins (SEA), etc). In the end, the rest of the league is simply putting on a better show.
Mike Magee kept serving up the magic with his league leading 14th goal of the season, and Patrick Nyarko showed of his some of his own wizardry to keep the Chicago Fire’s playoff hunt alive with a vital win over the Philadelphia Union last Saturday. I called this a must-win for the Men in Red, solely due to psychological reasons. Philly had won their last two encounters this season and the Snakes sit just above the Fire in the MLS Eastern Conference table.
With 13 league games remaining, the Fire cannot afford to squander any more points. Last Saturday, they earned only their second away victory in 2013 MLS play. Klopas and company will need to get a few more road wins and must win all of their home games if they want to keep their post season dream alive.
Next on the docket is the biggest game of the season for Chicago Fire: the US Open Cup semifinal match Wednesday night versus DC United. The Men in Red are only two victories away from lifting the Lamar Hunt Trophy for the fifth time. A win in the final versus the winner of tonight’s other semifinal (Real Salt Lake vs. Portland) will earn Chicago a berth in the 2014/15 CONCACAF Champions League tournament. If this happens, Fire owner Andrew Hauptman will surely have to bolster his squad (like Seattle Sounders did last weekend with the signing of USMNT captain Clint Dempsey) if he wants to contend for the Concacaf club title.
If you’re a die-hard Chicago Fire fan who’d like to take part in the OTF Roundtable, please send Scott Fenwick an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how to get in on the conversation and make your voice heard! Cheers.