OTF Roundtable: Chicago Fire Week Six

Alex was a box-to-box force  last Saturday (photo: thestate.com)

Alex was a box-to-box force last Saturday (photo: thestate.com)

The Roundtable brings you some over-the-counter medicine for what ails the Fire…

Well, this week’s question is obvious:

What needs to happen to turn all these Fire draws into wins?

Emanuel Corpus

Emanuel is on vacation this week. 

Joe Maskivish

Jose Mourinho once said winning 1-0 is one of the easiest things to do in football. While this may be elementary for ‘The Special One’ it appears to be a monumental task for the Fire. Occasionally, it’s easiest to be the aggressor, so the Fire need to be aggressive to notch their first crooked number in the win column.

A quick peek at this season’s stats will show you where the Fire are excelling and struggling (9 goals for; 10 against). With that in mind, Yallop’s lads must employ an age-old strategy to escape with win number one: Attack. Push numbers forward out of the gate and shoot for an early goal. Assuming we get to hear a “Welcome to Amarikwa” from OTF friend Dan Kelly within the first 20 or so minutes (without conceding at the other end), the Fire will be in good shape. Then, the key is to keep pushing.

Clearly, the weakness of this team is its back-end. Neutralize this weakness by playing in the opponents’ end. Strive for 2, 3, 4 goals and play on the front foot all 90 minutes.

Certainly, this is easier said than done. However, while draws are results, a season full of draws leaves you on the outside of the playoffs. Sometimes, trying new things is required to get a different result and, hopefully, doing things the easy way will make Frank Yallop look like Jose Mourinho, if only for a day.

JKH: Time for a breather?

Juan Santoliva

I can think of 100 solutions (some more realistic than others) to finally get the Fire some wins under Frank Yallop, but I’ll keep it short.

One thing I’m sure of: The correct substitutions need to happen a lot quicker. Last match at Montreal, Matt Watson, a more defensive-minded player, came into the game when Chicago needed a spark offensively. That said, I was impressed with Watson’s production and even more impressed when I saw him attacking a bit more than Alex.

Second, why sub in Juan Luis Anangonó with a mere five minutes left in the match? Why give a big striker only five minutes to even get a touch? A player needs some time to get in the groove and do damage and five minutes isn’t enough. Make the correct substitutions and make them earlier.

Lack of communication at the back is evident as well. Too many times, opposing players are left unmarked and are gifted “easy” goals. Bakary Soumare started off the season surprisingly well, but he and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado are aging players who’ve both had major leg surgeries. Perhaps a Patrick Ianni appearance at center back now and then would be a good idea. Ianni looks solid at the back and can help ease some pressure off old, tiring, surgically repaired legs.

The Men in Red are loathing missed chances. A week of solid ‘one-touch and shoot’ practice will help tremendously. Yallop’s boys just need to be confident and let ‘em rip.

James Vlahakis

Here’s my six-point plan to capture three points:

1) Magee needs to push up higher to combine better with Quincy. As an attacking duo, we need them to run back and forth across the box to make like difficult on New England.

2) Shipp needs to keep doing what he’s been doing – feeding in great balls on corners and set pieces. Practice makes perfect; he’s going to have a double assist day soon.

3) Recovering from his disaster in Portland, Nyarko had some great moves last weekend – I think “slalomed” was a term used on Twitter. He needs more P.T. and more man-management (to instill confidence). And for the record, has Simon Borg finally lost his marbles for suggesting that Nyarko should have gotten a red card for clipping Troy Perkins? [Jump to the 2:30 mark] I would love to have Simon officiate my games, wherein ethnic thugs take potshots at my head for sport.

4) In the midfield, we need “Big Red” Larentowicz and “Just Alex” to display another game of accurate passing. Last week they were at 89% and 85%, respectively (See OTF’s Fire/Montreal Breakdown). Having said that, I’d like them to be a bit more creative in their efforts to get balls into New England’s box. Take some risks lads; my informal poll at home demonstrates that kids want three points before running off to hunt for Easter eggs.

5) Defensively, we need Sean Johnson to continue his good form and improved distribution.

6) Lastly, we need ‘no mistake marking’ from our center backs and perhaps a goal from Bakary!

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Follow On The Fire’s new Twitter account @OTFSoccer

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Follow OTF Roundtablers @EmanuelCorpus @JoeMaskivish @jsants90 @jvlaha on your Twitter machine.

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