Women in Soccer, Chicago Fire ‘Keeper Debate and “Puto”

National Women’s Day

Since today is International Women’s Day, I thought I’d use this edition of my semi-weekly Musing column to write about gender equality among soccer fans and players.  Did you know that FC Dallas has female capos?  I did not know this until I read this great piece in What a Howler written by Gaby Kirschner.  Gaby’s piece, linked below, identifies some of the following negative and positive points. Continue reading

#cf97 – Hope, Passion and the Fire’s Three-Way Battle for ‘Keeper

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

OTF Roundtable: One Prediction

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The “Original Recipe” OTF Roundtable returns. Preseason practice has begun, the team looks considerably younger and (dare we say it), there are even some signs of hope. Even some of OTF’s perma-skeptics may be coming around to the team … maybe.

Today’s roundtable question:

What is one prediction about the 2016 Fire season that you are sure will come true?

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OTF Roundtable: Silent Sigh

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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.

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OTF Roundtable: Red Thursday

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While Fire nation was patiently waiting for Nelson Rodriguez’s Thanksgiving announcement of their new coach, they went ahead and axed a lot of people.  Like… a lot of people.

CHICAGO (November 19, 2015) — Chicago Fire Soccer Club today announced changes to the soccer staff, parting ways with Goalkeeping Coach Aron Hyde, Strength and Conditioning Coach Adrian Lamb and Head of Scouting Trevor James.

“This decision was not taken lightly, but was ultimately necessary as part of advancing our soccer operations,” said Chicago Fire General Manager Nelson Rodríguez.  “We offer our best wishes for all of their respective future professional endeavors.”

In addition to the coaching staff changes, support staff members Ron Stern, Charles Raycroft and Allan Araujo were relieved of their duties.

Here’s what OTF contributors had to say about it…

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Don’t Look Back in Anger: Fire lose to Orlando and now it doesn’t really matter.

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Editor’s Note: This snarky re-post was to be published Sunday after Chicago’s yawner of a loss, and a follow-up post to ESPN Chicago Radio’s highly suspect defense of Frank Yallop the week before no longer feels relevant. There is a weird tinge of something surfacing through Fire supporters thick armor of cynicism. As a Chicago sports fan I’m not sure what you call it; a less jaded type may call it optimism. (Had to spellcheck that word, I’ve never typed it before.)  Anyway, because I’ve already put this together I’m posting it, but, stay tuned, there is positive news….

 This article, in its entirety, was posted on September 17th, 2014, any updates for the 2015 season have been noted with a “strike through” and additions in bold.

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September So Far: Recap of Fire Loss to Montreal, Polster’s Success, and Stephens’ Spark, etc

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Why have game summaries when photos tell the story?  (via The Journal)

Memory is a funny thing.

On one hand you have Confirmation Bias, in which your brain recalls facts that support what you already believe to be true and disregards information that is contrary to what you believe. Compounding this behavior is Memory Inhibition, where things that we maybe don’t want to remember mercifully fall off our brain’s radar.

In either case, I’m here to ruin your constitution by reminding you, again, of the Chicago Fire’s 4-3 loss at Montreal last week, and the upcoming loss match against surging New York Red Bull today, Friday 9/11.  Hang in there kids, just a few days before the Chicago Bears start playing games that matter and all Chicago sports media can focus on writing articles about American Football and relegate Chicago Fire back into the “In Brief” section they share with minor league hockey and pro-am lacrosse.

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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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“Dos a Cero”, Remember the Alamo, But Don’t Forget Your Raincoat

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(via MLS.com)

True to the mission statement of OTF, my recap of last night’s United States vs. Mexico match will be a mix of analysis, insight and fluff.  I’ll mix it up by starting with some insight, followed by some fluff and a snippet of analysis.

Insight:  Is a “Friendly” Ever Friendly?

The term “friendly” is a misnomer of sorts when the term involves United State vs. Mexico.  Regardless of where played or what’s at stake, a “friendly” match between the US and Mexico can be anything but friendly. As the highlights of the pre-game show demonstrated, shoving matches and stare downs are common place…

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15 Things that Happened During the Chicago Fire Offseason

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In case you’ve been hibernating (and I don’t blame you), you missed a lot of Chicago Fire and MLS news since The Galaxy won a sloppy yawner of an MLS Cup over New England last November.  Well, today is your lucky day.  

Before the season starts (or, you know, doesn’t), some OTF Soccer editors compiled what we thought were the top fifteen stories you may have missed if you haven’t been paying attention…

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