Fire Hang On For Massive Road Win

2017-06-20 NE v CHI

(Photo courtesy chicago-fire.com)

There are times in a soccer match when scoring a goal can destroy the motivation for an opponent to mount a comeback. The New England Revolution were that team on Saturday shortly after Luis Solignac put the visiting Fire 2:0 up in the 61st minute. It was the kind of authoritative strike that resulted in the Revs looking like they were ready to pack it in. Good thing for them that they didn’t succumb completely, because Matt Lampson’s failure to punch a ball clear led to Antonio Delamea’s response nine minutes later, and a game that was surely in the bag became competitive once again. The Fire managed to close out for a 2:1 win, but there were more than a few heart palpitations along the way.

New England created enough opportunities to get something out of this game, but the shockingly poor quality of their finishing right in front of goal was their undoing. Despite outshooting the Fire by a gaudy 24-8 margin, the shots on target were far more even (5-4 in favor of New England). They might easily have scored four, with a bit of luck. Instead, they spent the 90 minutes chasing the game, because of what the Fire did to build that two-goal lead.

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Nine-Man Orlando Keep Fire in Check

2017-06-04 ORL v CHI

(Photo courtesy chicago-fire.com)

The Chicago Fire had a superb opportunity to grab three very valuable away points on Sunday night, but failed to find a way to break down a closely packed Orlando City defense and had to settle for a share of the spoils after a 0:0 draw. The home side went down to ten men when Rafael Ramos was sent off in the 26th minute after a clash with Brandon Vincent. Things only got worse for Orlando in the 66th minute, when Antonio Nocerino cleated Matt Polster in the thigh, and was sent to an early shower. The Fire had no answers, however, as Orlando very effectively circled the wagons. The draw allowed the Fire to maintain their hold on second place in the East, with 25 points from 14 matches.

In addition to being a good test against a team who had amassed 19 points from their first eight matches at home, the Fire could also get a look at how their team would perform without Dax McCarty, who had been called in to the US National Team last week. McCarty and Bastian Schweinsteiger are the players who have fueled the Fire’s resurgent form this season. Coach Veljko Paunovic inserted new right back Polster back to his old position at holding midfielder to replace McCarty. The other new right back, Drew Conner, got the call to start for the first time in four games. Paunovic’s other option at holding midfield would have been Juninho, but he was away from the team for family reasons.

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Engine Company: Who The F#*k is D.C. United? – Answered

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 away match-up against D.C. United. As always…

Sing in full voice. Hate with reason.

On Saturday the Chicago Fire and their supporters will descend on the Raccoon breeding ground that is Robert Francis Kennedy Stadium (RFK for short) for potentially the last time. D.C. is has broken ground on their new stadium being built on Buzzards Point (more on why this is such an apt name to be associated with this franchise later), and they have claimed that the stadium will be complete by next season. As an architect, I find that to be a very ambitious schedule, and wouldn’t bet on it being complete for the next Fire away trip (let alone their 2018 home opener).

This away trip will have many layers, building on many years of history between these two clubs that in the early years were two of the best teams in the league.

  • Our 1998 season and our first hardware
    • We beat D.C. United 2-0 at the Rose Bowl, five days before making it a double, in the first of many high profile match-ups between these marquee teams in which we would hold them scoreless.
  • 2003 Conference Semifinal Legs
    • In which we held D.C. scoreless on both legs, winning 4-0 on aggregate as we stormed through the playoffs, only to give up four goals ourselves in the MLS Cup Final.
  • 2005 Conference Semifinal Legs

    • D.C. held us to a scoreless draw in the first leg at Soldier Field, only to blow their own home field advantage in the 4-0 blowout we delivered to them in the second leg at RFK.
  • The 2006 U.S. Open Cup Semifinal
    • Where we sent them home from Toyota Park 3-0 on the back of a Calen Carr brace (We all dreamt of a team of Calen Carrs that night) on our way to our most recent trophy.
  • The 2007 Conference Semifinal Legs
    • We carried our D.C. playoff tournament streak through a 1-0 win in Bridgeview off an early Chris Rolfe goal, and a 2-0 first half at RFK that featured another reason that he’d be getting laid that night. However, the streak would break in the 69th minute and United would pull it level, with our Men in Red clinging to our aggregate advantage.
  • The 2008 U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinal
    • With the spell broken, we failed to advance after a 2-1 result when we conceded a goal in extra time at the Maryland Soccerplex. We felt we could at least claim we had never lost to D.C. in regular time of any playoff meeting.
  • The 2013 U.S. Open Cup Semifinal
    • Even that streak broke 5 years later when D.C. sent me home dejected from a 2-0 loss that I viewed from the Harlem End. Yet we can still take solace in knowing that they have never beaten us in a playoff game in the District of Columbia.

 

Burns — A Brief Critique of a Team Whose Badge is Definitely Not a Nazi Eagle: 

You know how we were talking about Buzzards Point earlier? Well, personally, buzzards and roadkill go together in my mind. Which is exactly what comes to mind when I look at the 1st road jersey that DC ever wore against us. That stripe down the left side is supposed to represent the three stripes in the D.C. flag, but instead it comes off as tread marks from a reckless motorist (I can see the buzzards circling already).

 

Not only that, but their newest away jersey that was revealed this year looks like their jerseys got run over again, only this time from one of those huge mining trucks with the 3 foot wide tires. I am a huge fan of the D.C. Municipal flag, but these attempts at reference have fallen as flat as a raccoon that has lost a battle with a Fire engine.

It would also be irresponsible not to mention that D.C. United’s logo is definitely not a Nazi Insignia. It is SO MUCH NOT an Nazi insignia that the team itself changed the DC logo to “modernize” it, but made no reference to which way the eagle’s head faces in the new version because that was definitely not an obvious change that needed to be made.

DCUnited-Logo-Through-History-Not-Nazi

 

Sound of Sirens — Fire Chants to Shout at RFK (or at the screen from somewhere in Chicagoland):

Here are my favorites that will be deployed on this D.C. Trip:

  • The Classic: “Who the F*#k is D.C. United” sung to the Battle Hymn of the Republic
    • “D.C. United went to Rome to see the Pope, Rome to see the Pope, Rome to see the Pope,
      D.C. United went to Rome to see the Pope and this is what he said (F*#k you):
      Who the F*#k is D.C. United, Who the F*#k is D.C. United, Who the F*#k is D.C. United, and the Fire go marching on”
  • The Tribute: “Chris Rolfe is Getting Laid Tonight”:
    • Simply repeating the phrase above. It used to be done whenever he would score a goal for Chicago, but after he has been sadly sidelined by the effects of a concussion that have kept him off the field for more than a year for D.C. This time it will be deployed in tribute to a player that is beloved by fans on both sides of this rivalry.
  • Inside jokes for a Fire fan we haven’t gotten to see all year.
    • Jay Eychaner is the reason that a bunch of us Fire fans of different stripes watch soccer at Go Tavern. He forged a path that we just followed in, and this season hasn’t been the same since he took a job in Richmond. This will be our first opportunity to watch a game with him since his move and we’ll be breaking out those inside jokes that bind fans together during the more trying years (like the last few).

 

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

I personally would love to see us shut D.C. out and leave RFK with 3 points on our possible last trip to its crumbling confines (even if we need to repeat the same feat next year). Look for long time Fire favorite Patrick Nyarko on the wing for D.C. and let’s hope that we can build off of their two consecutive home defeats, including the 4-0 drubbing United just suffered at the hands of the lowly Philadelphia Union.

Here’s where you can go to catch the game if you’re not one of the dozen or so that will be with me to watch the game live in person.

  • North (Lakeview, North Center, Roscoe, Lakeview)
    • Schubas on Belmont/Southport
    • AJ Hudson’s at Grace/Ashland
    • The Globe Pub near the Irving Park Brown Line just east of Damen.
    • 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)
    • Go Tavern on Armitage just east of Kedzie (Pub to Pitch Partner)
  • City (River North, Loop, South Loop)
    • Fado on Grand/Clark (Pub to Pitch Partner)
    • Galway Arms on Clark/Arlington (Pub to Pitch Partner)
    • Kroll’s on 18th/Michigan (Pub to Pitch Partner)
    • 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 3pm CT on UniMas

 

 

Endnote… cheers to DC front office who, somehow, have a sense of humor about this whole raccoon thing…

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:
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