Hard-Working Fire Earn Their Point Against Rival Columbus

Clear the way, here comes a striker. (Via Chicago-Fire.com)

Get out of the way, here comes a striker. (Via Chicago-Fire.com)

In a reversal of the endgame of their last match, the Chicago Fire pulled out an equalizer deep into stoppage time and grabbed a vital point at Columbus. Substitute Jason Johnson headed home Eric Gehrig’s cross with almost the last touch of the match and the Fire nabbed a 2:2 draw. Columbus had taken a commanding 2:0 lead, thanks to a pair of goals from ace sniper Kei Kamara. The Crew failed to put this one to bed, unsuccessfully bunkering their team for the final quarter hour.
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Monday Musings on a Friday

Friendly Banter Friday

Let me start out by thanking the MLS scheduling “computer” for assigning such wonderful start times for our regional rivalry with the Columbus Crew!  A 7pm start on a Friday on Memorial Weekend is sure to fill the Crew’s stadium.  The Crew returns on a Wednesday night in mid-July and the Fire returns to Columbus on the following Sunday evening.  Such wonderful start times for traveling fans of both clubs.

Recent “Derby” talk in the lead up to the NY Red Bulls and NYC FC game got me wondering about the match up between the Fire and the Crew.  Columbus is our closest rival, but it seems like MLS HQ does not think it’s worthy of publicizing.  Then again, there’s a positive out of that, MLS won’t latch on to our fans and reimage them into fans of a team which only exists on paper:

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Chicago Fire are World Beaters… For a Half

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Emotional Faces! (via MLS)

The Chicago Fire uncorked their attacking power when they took on New York City FC on Friday at Yankee Stadium and were 2:0 up before a half hour had elapsed. But fundamental defensive errors at the most crucial moments proved costly, as NYC conjured goals in stoppage time of both halves and salvaged a point that they had no business winning. For their part, the Fire had an opponent reeling and lacked the knockout punch to bag their first road victory of the season…

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Saints’ March: St Louis FC Gets Production From Locals and Loanees

Patrick Doody St Louis Football Club Soccer USL MLS

STL FC’s Patrick Doody (on loan from Chicago Fire)

Absence makes the heart grow fonder—Matthew Bird checks in on Saint Louis FC after a bye week as Chicago Fire loanees and StL locals make their mark.

Been awhile since I last updated on what’s been going on down here in sunny Saint Louis, We’ve had three games and a bye week. Bye weeks suck. I mean seriously, you don’t have professional soccer in the city for 5 years…

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Sons of Ransom Celebrate Lansing United’s Shootout win over RWB Adria

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In the wake of their shootout victory against RWB Adria, OTF guest writer Eric Walcott reviews the match and the connection between NPSL’s Lansing United and their supporter group, the Sons of Ransom.

Lansing United seems to specialize in the dramatic. In their inaugural season, United won the Midwest Region’s Great Lakes West Conference by a single point. In the playoffs, they captured the regional championship with a win in extra-time. This week, United added another chapter to their short but magical story…

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Toothless Fire Desperate for Goals

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(via Chicago Fire website)

The absence of David Accam and a clinical finisher made apparent in their 2-1 loss.

Real Salt Lake demonstrated remarkable efficiency in front of goal on Saturday at Toyota Park and sent the Chicago Fire to a disappointing 2:1 defeat. The up-and-down Fire started the season with three consecutive defeats, bounced back to win three in a row, and have now dropped their last two. The biggest story continues to be the moribund finishing.

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Monday Musings, Episode V – “Double Header Sunday”

Fire Lose, but Red Stars and Fire Academy top out the Weekend with Victories

The Fire lost to Real Salt Lake in the Fire’s lone meeting with this Western Conference opponent.

On the positive side, Section 8 was loud yesterday and the Chicago Red Stars were greeted with open arms by Section 8 supporters as well as their own supporters, Chicago Local 134.  The Red Stars gave the fans something to cheer about, beating Boston Breakers, 3-0.  Awesome scarf!

For good or for bad, the Fire’s loss did not have the gut punch of last year’s 3-2 loss to Salt Lake with late game goals.  Rather, this time the Fire went down 2-0 and attempted a last minute comeback after Shaun Maloney earned a penalty kick in the 88th minute.  Captain Jeff Larentowicz scored on a strong, well-placed shot.  And credit to him to following up his shot and picking up the ball and running to the center circle with a sense of restrained urgency.

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Tactical Notes: Sporting Kansas City Have the Edge Over the Fire

Shaun Maloney Chicago Fire Benny Feilhaber sporting kansas city skc cf97

(via MLS)

Chicago Fire’s lack of finishing upfront puts a heavy burden on the backline. 

The Chicago Fire saw their modest three-game winning streak snapped on Sunday when they dropped a narrow 1:0 decision to Sporting Kansas City at Sporting Park. Substitute Paulo Nagamura scored the only goal of the match in the 75th minute.

The match was evenly contested, but it was the home side that showed just a bit more quality. Scoring chances for the Fire were plentiful. Finishing, however, was left wanting yet again. SKC’s backup goalkeeper Tim Melia did a solid job in place of Luis Marin, whom coach Peter Vermes benched following the previous week’s 4:4 goalfest in Houston. Melia proved his worth, registering three saves on the day to keep the Fire off the scoreboard.

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Jvlaha’s Monday Musings, Episode IV, “May the Fourth be With You”

May the “Fourth” be with you on this fine May day.

A new contributor to OTF Soccer (George George Gorecki) will be providing a game summary of the Fire’s 1-0 loss on Sunday to Sporting KC.  You can read it here:  http://otfsoccer.com/2015/05/05/tactical-notes-sporting-kansas-city-have-the-edge-over-the-fire/

In light of George’s considerable soccer acumen, I will simply offer my usual “fluff” and highlight some clever Tweets from Sunday’s frustrating loss.

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Mended and Melded: How the Fire Sabbatical Shapes the Rest of their MLS Season

Mike Magee's Day Off

(From the film “Mike Magee’s Day Off”)

Brian Howe Battle dusts off the ol’ keyboard after the Fire returned to the field last Friday after two weeks off and tallied 3 points.

The time between the Chicago Fire’s win against New York City FC last week and their previous win against Toronto FC seems like a lifetime. Despite the Full-Team Sabbatical, things are looking pretty good.

When the Fire agreed to reschedule their game against the Montreal Impact #CF97 fans were outraged. Of course, the default Twitter emotion is outrage, so that’s not really a big deal.  What this shift did afford the Fire was what they needed more than any other MLS team — time to mend and meld.

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