The Chicago Fire won’t win awards for stylish soccer after their first two matches of the 2017 campaign, but there are plenty of indications that they are on the right path. Their 2:0 win on Saturday over Real Salt Lake at Toyota Park was built on pragmatism, hard work, and taking advantage of opportunity.
On the day, RSL won just about every statistical battle, generating more shots, generating more corner kicks, and coming out on top in the possession battle. All of their possession amounted to precious little, as only one of their twelve shots was on target. Their mostly toothless attack was missing that final decisivetouch and it makes one wonder whether they jettisoned Javier Morales too soon.
I’m back, with another installment of my “Monday Musings” column on a Tuesday. Why am I back? Or, why was I gone? The answer to both questions is simple: a loss of “passion” for my beloved Chicago Fire Soccer Club. I’d been sitting on a draft of this piece, weighing whether my passion has been properly reignited. Yesterday gave me the proper perspective to gauge that it is the proper time to hit “publish”. Last season, after a series of tragic losses, I lost a bit of passion for the Club and the sport that I love. It didn’t help that fans and the front office were in general disagreement about pretty much everything. Fans protested, in a “Black Out” of sorts, with mixed results. It was a low point in my love for the Fire. My sons also started to give up hope, tired of giving up points after watching 90 minutes of nervous, and at times rudderless soccer. Against this backdrop, I couldn’t find anything positive to write about. My “muse” was gone. Continue reading
Chicago Fire GM Nelson Rodriguez and Head Coach Veljko Paunovic calling Brian Bliss to get his laptop password.
Frankly, all of Fire Nation was hoping we’d have more things to talk about by now, but no dice.
With the international transfer window now open and the MLS Superdraft combine beginning today Chicago continues to shed both salaries, personalities, and staff.
The number of players remaining on the Fire’s roster sits at 14, with the organization making no additions during either stage of the Re-Entry Draft in December and choosing not to cash in on any of MLS’s first, albeit aging, free agents.
Chicago shed a lot of player contracts last week as new GM Nelson Rodriguez and new coach Veljko Paunovoic freed up as many dollars as possible for the upcoming MLS post season scramble.
As Phase One of the Re-Entry draft begins it’s worth taking a look at how the 2015 Fire performed in context to their MLS salaries.
Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson pulled a rabbit out if his hat several times last Sunday to keep the Fire competitive in a match in which the Philadelphia Union easily could have buried them. The teams traded goals and leads back and forth, but the affair was not settled until Kennedy Igboananike drove him his second goal of the match deep into second-half stoppage time to salvage a 3:3 draw.
The story that played out at PPL Park on Wednesday night was depressingly similar to the story that has been on display all season for the Chicago Fire. The Fire offense was missing a beginning, middle and end, so it was only a matter of time before the Philadelphia Union, no less feeble in attack than the Fire, would find the goal that would propel them to their second US Open Cup Final in as many years. Sebastian Le Toux did the honors in the 74th minute, but the game was lost long before then.
In case you haven’t successfully sifted through U.S. Open Cup game date information (info which Major League Soccer has little incentive to promote), the Chicago Fire are meeting fellow cellar dwelling Philadelphia Union in a semi-final match tomorrow, Wednesday 8/12. The two teams also meet again, in The Bum Fight Double, for an MLS league match this weekend.