Nine-Man Orlando Keep Fire in Check

2017-06-04 ORL v CHI

(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.

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Engine Company: Revscum

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.

Chicago Fire Supporters Christmas Card to Taylor Twellman

[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:
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OTF Roundtable: The Signal, The Noise, and The German

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.

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Does Klinsman Have Anything to Do With the USMNT Loss to Mexico?

United States’ Fabian Johnson (23) is challenged by Mexico’s Oribe Peralta during the CONCACAF Cup match (via BostonHerald.com)

 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?
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Sean Johnson Rescues a Point! Will It Matter?

johnson

(courtesy mlssoccer.com)

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.
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Bum Fights at the Blackjack Table: Chicago Plays Philly in Back-to-Back Shrug Off

Try Again. (via GoldStar.com)

Try, Try Again. (via GoldStar.com)

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.

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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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The First Fan: Reflections on 10 Years Without Peter Wilt

Cf97_ChicagoFire_PeterWilt_OTF_USopencup

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?”

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@Jvlaha’s Monday Musings, Episode 1

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

The-empire-strikes-back-soccer

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…

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Prime Your Fire Pump: Chicago Fire at D.C. United

I don't know why DC hasn't scored yet this year, either, Mikey!

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

Prime Your Fire Pump: Chicago Fire vs. New York Red Bulls

Thierry Henry and friends come to Toyota Park for the Fire's third straight Sunday tilt.

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…

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Prime Your Fire Pump: Chicago Fire at Portland Timbers

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

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…

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Prime Your Fire Pump: Chicago Fire at Chivas USA

Patrick Nyarko and company return to the Stub Hub Center for First Kick in 2014 (image: MLSsoccer.com)

Patrick Nyarko and company begin 2014 where they began 2013 – Stub Hub Center – this time against Chivas USA
(Photo: MLSsoccer.com)

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…

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“Michael and Jermaine are in the Eastern Conference”

A look at the West, for those of us from the East (image: logoinspirations.com)

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…

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