I've attempted to write the usual The Good, The Bad & The Ugly recap for this past Saturday's game against the San Jose Earthquakes but I get stuck every time. A couple of other things threw me off this weekend. It might be that. Primarily I think it's because I saw the same script I've seen before this year. The other team scores first, the Chicago Fire come back, the game ends in a tie. The team racks up a moral victory of sorts but only 1 point in the standings. Read the MLSsoccer.com report if you want the full details on Chicago tying San Jose 2-2. More thoughts after the break.
It's frustrating because I'm not sure what the answer is. Many people want to change the coach and I've been there before. Last year, I wrote a conversation I wanted to see take place between Frank Klopas and Carlos de los Cobos.
Carlos: Hello, this is Carlos
Frank: Carlos, Frank. Tough game last night, eh? How are you holding up?
Carlos: I feel like those people who play the lottery. I keep playing the same numbers but I never win anything. One day the Pick 4 is going to come up 4, 1, 4, 1, I tell you.
Frank: Heh, yeah, I haven't heard that one before (polite laugh but rolling his eyes). Hey, how's that El Salvador thing looking?
Carlos: Wait, what?
On the other hand, I wrote that these things take time to develop and tracked down the success of the four teams who were at the top of the MLS Standings on September 19, 2010: Los Angeles Galaxy, Real Salt Lake, Columbus Crew, and FC Dallas. All four teams had coaching situations where the team struggled mightily in the beginning before turning the course around. It is rare for a MLS team with a new coach to start off winning right away.
Do we set the team back by bringing in a new coach? Do we curse the team to a season of 2-2 draws by keeping what we have? I think part of what delayed any kind of thoughts on Saturday night's game was the repeating nature of results this season. Writing something new suggests news has developed. This team is stuck in neutral waiting for someone or something to kick start the engine. Where's the turbo button when you need it?
If I understand the new layout of this page like I think I do, you should have gotten to the point in this article where you can glance to your right and see where the Chicago Fire are in the Points Per Match Standings. We are 33% into the season and on pace to finish 13 points out of the playoffs. The turbo button is about the only thing that can help this team advance. Does that come in the form of a new coach (that could happen today)? Is it a players only meeting (that would be Tuesday, don't forget it is Memorial Day)? Is it a new player to shore up the defense, midfield, or front line (that would most likely not be until July)? Something has to give if we want to make the playoffs. If we tie every remaining game this year, we will only finish with 32 points.
That's where 'We Believe In You' comes into play. I kept on coming back to the Section 8 banner on Saturday night. Modest in size, simple in execution and perfect in summing up how I feel about this team. Unlike last year, I can't say anyone is lacking for effort. I can't say the team's talent isn't there to compete day in and day out. If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, this group is testing my sanity because they have me declaring 'I Believe In You'. This has to be one of the most encouraging 0-1-5 stretches in the history of professional sports.
The tragedy is this isn't high school where A's for effort mean anything towards a final grade. It's certainly not Peter Pan where if we all just clap our hands hard enough, Tinkerbell will wake up and tomorrow morning the Fire's 2-2 draws will show up as wins in the standings. We need something out of the ordinary in order to achieve the extraordinary. Treading water only helps you in sports if you are playing water polo. From the owner's box to the box office window, what do you've got? It's time to be more bold but take comfort in each step you take, 'We Believe In You'.