Breakdown: Fire vs. Crew

"Ouch! That hurts! That's it, I'm falling down" (chicago-fire.com)

“Ouch! That hurts! That’s it, I’m falling down” (chicago-fire.com)

T.J. Zaremba breaks down the Fire’s march towards 16…

Much to the chagrin of many of the Fire faithful, the Men In Red gained their 13th draw in 21 attempts for a 62% draw percentage.

As frustrating at this may be on the surface, this was the Fire’s second game in four nights, while the Crew had the week off.

Furthermore, the Fire absolutely destroyed by the Crew the last time these teams met in MLS play.

Remember this in late May? (squawka.com)

Remember this dumpster fire in late May? (squawka.com)

This time, the Fire had a tiny edge in overall quality of play.

Much closer this time around (squawka.com)

The Fire were better here (squawka.com)

The Crew had more possession and slightly better overall attacking numbers.

The other half of a statistical dead heat (mlssoccer.com)

The Crew here. Let’s call it a draw (mlssoccer.com)

When you look deeper into the game, a few patterns begin to emerge.

The first thought is that the Fire are playing more of a 3-5-2 with Lovell Palmer being a wing back with how often he jumps into the attack.

Wing back Palmer pushed forward for 6 crosses (squawka.com)

Wing back Palmer pushed forward for 6 crosses (squawka.com)

Gonzalo Segares has lost a step, especially after playing 90 minutes mid-week.

Segares lack of pace was exposed by Columbus (squawka.com)

Segares lack of pace was exposed by Columbus (squawka.com)

He is still a steady defender, but is forced to give too much space, leaving his side prone to crosses.

The Crew sent twice as many crosses in from Segares's side (squawka.com)

The Crew sent twice as many crosses in from Segares’s side (squawka.com)

Jeff Larentowicz’s game and leadership translates well to a strong center back. It has taken the center of the Fire’s back four from a weakness to strength in a matter of two games.

Big Red steadies the leaky Fire back 4 (squawka.com)

Big Red steadies the leaky Fire back 4 (squawka.com)

But the new back four is a work in progress at times.

However, his move to the back left a HUGE hole in the center of the park on Saturday night.  Ritter and Watson did nothing in the center of the park.

What center midfielders? (squawka.com)

What center midfielders? (squawka.com)

After the game against Vancouver, I referenced the combination of Magee and Amarikwa as “Perfect Strangers” due to their inability to connect (and pretty much bad on all levels).

After the game against the Crew, I believe they were more “Ebony and Ivory”.

Good in spite of the other (squawka.com)

Good in spite of the other (squawka.com)

Like Sir Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder, within their own acts, they did great work. Their work together was pretty terrible.

Maybe they will have it perfected in time for the playoffs.

Playoffs?

Really Mike? (twitter.com)

 

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Follow OTF Soccer on Twitter @OTFSoccer

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T.J. Zaremba was BarnBurner #110 and 1998 second-half season ticket holder in Section 8 of pre-mothership Soldier Field. After over a decade on walkabout, with a handful of guest appearances, he returned in 2011 and has been a regular (when his commitment to Uncle Sam allows it) at Toyota Park with his wife and the Hamster. Follow T.J. @TJZaremba

*infographics courtesy of mlssoccer.com and squwaka.com

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