(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.
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.
[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:
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.
Fabian Johnson challenged by Oribe Peralta during USMNT vs Mexico match Saturday (via BostonHerald.com)
After the U.S. did not make the Gold Cup final earlier this year, it was clear that Jurgen Klinsman had been given a longer leash than previous National Team coaches like Bob Bradley and Bruce Arena. Now, after the US loss to Mexico on Saturday night and their match against Costa Rica tonight, we ask the OTF Staff: What changes (if any) need to be made to improve the United States Men’s National Team?
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.
Cheap is a loaded word.
Let’s re-phrase the headline: Do the Chicago Fire spend less than other teams? That’s an easy answer. The answer is “no.” Based on this Forbes article that outlines MLS Spending Habits, they actually spend a whole bunch more than most MLS Franchises. End of story… right?
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.