So the last time I did a Hat Trick and Question of the Day article...I opened by writing about how I hadn't done a Hat Trick and Question of the Day article in a while. I also defended John Terry, which is something I deeply regret as a Fulham supporter.
But since there wasn't a Chicago Fire match this past weekend, we're diligently working to find other ways to entertain our beloved readers. So I came up with this collection of ramblings. Enjoy!
1) Are they good or great?
After a three-game winning streak, the Fire were knocked back down to Earth in a 4-2 loss to DC United last Wednesday. With last weekend off, the Men in Red will return to action for the first time in 11 days this Sunday against the Houston Dynamo, another Eastern Conference club in the thick of the playoff hunt.
The Fire and the Dynamo have squared off twice this season already, producing a 1-1 draw in a rain-shortened game at Toyota Park back in April as well as a nil-nil encounter at BBVA Compass Stadium in July. So they seem fairly evenly matched.
While beating the likes of TFC, the Philly and the Revs are nice ways to pick up points, the club will have to find ways to beat those teams above them or next to them in the standings in order to secure a decent playoff spot.
Here's the club's point total against conference this year so far by current standings:
Sporting Kansas City - six points from two games, one game left (away)
New York Red Bulls - three points from two games, one game left (away)
Houston Dynamo - two points from two games, one game left (home)
DC United - zero points from one game, one game left (home)
Montreal Impact - one point from one game, one game left (home)
Columbus Crew - three points from two games, one game left (home)
Philadelphia Union - six points from two games, one game left (home)
New England Revolution - three points from two games, one game left (away)
Toronto FC - six points from two games, one game left (away)
Kind of cool that we have exactly one game left with every other team in our conference to finish the season, right?
That aside, the Fire have been good at picking up points against lesser opposition this year. When you consider the troubles the club has had in trying to accomplish this over the past two years, it's a decent start.
But in order to move from being a pretty good team to a great team, the club will need to BEAT the teams around them in the standings. It's that simple. Playing on the road at RFK is hard work for sure, but championship clubs are able to win when the conditions are less than ideal. If we're content with simply making the playoffs, then those standards are lowered. But I can't think of many fans that would simply be okay with that.
It's time for the club to assert some dominance down the stretch. Sunday is a perfect opportunity to start that trend. It's time to wins, not draws. Besides, draws went out of style last year anyway.
2) Japanese Car Battle?
So I just happened to be sitting at work on Tuesday morning when I came across this tweet:
I mean, seriously Toyota? I thought we had something special here! Are we not good enough for you?!?!?!
In all seriousness, this isn't a big deal at all (from a Fire standpoint). Toyota is a global brand that has been involved in soccer for a long time now. They were, up until recently, the shirt sponsor for ACF Fiorentina until they switched over to Mazda (car whores).
I was a bit wary of San Antonio as a soccer city as first, but they've done extraordinarily well in their first season as a member of the NASL. They're currently in first place and are drawing almost 10,000 fans per home game in their temporary stadium. Next year they'll have a place to truly call their own. And they have Jeff Cunningham! So there's that too.
Perhaps they could become legitimate contenders along with the NY #2 (Cosmos) and Orlando for that 20th MLS club.
3) The Chicago anthem?
Tweed sent me a link earlier this week containing a clip from Chicago Tonight on WTTW, looking at a Chicago anthem. According to WTTW Producer Geoffrey Baer, children who attended the Chicago Public Schools in the 1950s had to sing the song as part of their required Chicago history curriculum. The song was written in 1921 and was first performed at the opening of Soldier Field.
Now this part might be interesting to the Fire fans: according to the historians Baer cited, the song was originally created in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire. If you're unaware, most press releases from the club this year include the boilerplate, "Founded on the 126th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire on October 8, 1997, the Chicago Fire Soccer Club enters its 15th Major League Soccer season."
Ever since "Just Can't Get Enough" mania swept the Harlem End last spring, there hasn't really been another new song that's caught fire (excuse the terrible pun). I think the children's choir version probably doesn't give off the perfect vibe, but I think the melody and lyrics would be easily adaptable to a chant.
Or we could start singing "We Love Ya" like every other team in the league, but I just don‘t see that happening.
But what do you think? Is the song a keeper? Vote and comment below if you have any other thoughts.