(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.
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:
Ten years ago last week, news broke that the first President and General Manager of the Chicago Fire was leaving the club. Despite Peter Wilt’s departure from Major League Soccer, his influence in the North American game remains.
In an age of “Circle the Wagon” franchise mentality, Wilt is a champion of fan culture, corporate accessibility, and organizational transparency. Among other accomplishments, Wilt has plied his trade as CEO of the NWSL’s Chicago Red Stars, established the Milwaukee Wave soccer club, and is currently President of NASL’s Indy Eleven.
Some of OTF’s favorite soccer personalities were kind enough to answer the prompt:
“What are your reflections on Peter Wilt ten years after he left the MLS?”
There’s a new editor in charge of “On The Fire”, and with that, I’ve decided to step up and write a new column. Without further ado, here is the first episode of “Vlaha’s Monday Musings”. Today’s piece comes in four parts…
Part One, “The Empire Strikes Back”, #Schedulegate
First stop on today’s installment is #Schedulegate. Fire fans are justifiably upset about recent schedule changes which apparently were going to happen whether or not the Front Office was going to go along with them.
Although I can’t say that the Fire was a team firing on all cylinders during the team’s 3-2 Ping-Pong victory against Toronto, the team looked vastly improved over recent games. As a result of this win, the Fire could have strutted into our scheduled games Foxborough Massachusetts (this Wednesday) and Montreal (this weekend) with a bit of a “we can do this” swagger…
Allow me to reintroduce myself…
OTF Match Previews return for the start of the 2015 campaign. Jon Denham wants you to take in tonight’s left coast opener with an open mind…
Fire players celebrate winning the drawing the drawing-games record cup (Chicago-Fire.com)
OTF’s Alex White reaches conclusions and paints you a picture of the Fire’s latest you-know-what… Continue reading
Mad Mike: The Penalty Scorerer (Chicago-Fire.com)
In the post-apocalyptic wasteland known as The Bridge View, the Chicago Fire is incapable of anything except draws, and OTF’s Alex White is losing it…
“Don’t worry guys, we’ll remember this moment with no mixed emotions, at all!” (Chicago-Fire.com)
After the latest Fire “result,” OTF’s Alex White wonders if there is any meaning to be found… Continue reading
Papa explaining why draws are bullshit. (photo: theredlist.com)
A frustrating day in Kansas City, but any day at the fights is a good one for Ernest Hemingway. OTF’s Nick Fox has the latest dispatch from Papa…
What? You thought I was going to a soccer match? (photo: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library)
It was an ugly, ominous day, but our correspondent Ernest Hemingway made the most of it. OTF’s Nick Fox has the latest from Papa…
Will he buy players who’ve worn hallowed kits like this? (photo: chicago-fire.com)
This week, with all the MLS talk about stars and cash, the Roundtable asks, “W.W.H.D?”
This is the better. (photo: chicagotribune.com)
This week, the Roundtable ponders a profound statement by a fellow OTFer…
The Milwaukee Derby: Marquette plays UWM (photo: soccerbyives.com)
Chicago Fire discuss where their USL partnership will be, but OTF’s Brian Battle asks, “What’s there to discuss?”
I don’t know what’s going on in DC so far this year either, Mikey (photo: mlssoccer.com)
OTF’s Jon Denham looks back on the week that was in Fireland and gets you ready for Chicago’s trip to the nation’s capital, while Luis A. Perez, Jr. flies with his beloved Dirty Birds… Continue reading
Thierry Henry and friends come to Toyota Park for the Fire’s home opener, their third straight Sunday match.
(photo: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
OTF’s Jon Denham primes your pump before bundling up with Section 8 this weekend, and Mark Fishkin from Seeing Red provides the latest from out east…
But, who will call the massive handball? (image: By Ralph Chaplin [public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
OTF’s Alex White practices his Lamaze breathing to deliver the goods on the MLS referee lockout…
The Magic One clearly wants in on the action. We’ll see if the medical staff, Frank Yallop, or the Timbers hold him off the score sheet on Sunday (photo: chicagotribune.com/Dennis Wierzbicki)
OTF’s Jon Denham ponders Frank Yallop’s stance on last week’s goalscorers, while sunshine from The Axe provides the Timbers intel…
Patrick Nyarko and company begin 2014 where they began 2013 – Stub Hub Center – this time against Chivas USA
OTF’s Jon Denham runs through the list of #cf97 reminders, updates, and changes to Frank Yallop’s blank slate, while The Goat Parade’s Alicia Rodriguez walks you through Chivas’s new roster and identity crisis…
A look at the West, for those of us from the East (image: logoinspirations.com)
New OTF contributor Cory Jensen brings you a detailed look at the teams we in Fireland only have the pleasure of meeting once a year…