Forward Juan Luis Anangono and manager Frank Klopas were included in MLS' Team of the Week for their efforts Saturday against New England.
FW: Juan Luis Anangonó (Chicago Fire) - Started to show flashes of the ability that led Chicago to sign him as a DP this summer. Scored one goal and had a (questionable) hand in another to cap off a hard-working, direct performance that gave the Revs' defense fits in Chicago's win over their Eastern Conference rivals.
For our new Ecuadorian forward, looking sharp in an anxiously-awaited chance to start has to be a tremendous relief. Anangono represents a dramatic change-up from the Fire's usual starting forward pair - Chris Rolfe and Mike Magee are both finesse players, schemers who excel at the mental game and use of space. ‘El Serpiente' is a power foward, and his strength and speed can present an entirely different kind of challenge for defenses.
None of which is to say that Anangono cannot play the game mentally as well - witness his canny (if illegal) contribution to the tying goal by Magee. Juan Luis' reaction to the loose ball was lightning-quick - realizing he couldn't get to it, and that the Revs' Jose Goncalves was going to close down Magee if not win the ball, Anangono immediately blocked out like a power forward from that indoor American sport the Bulls play. Goncalves never got to the glass (so to speak), Magee was first to the rebound, and the Fire moved into fifth place.
Coach: Frank Klopas (Chicago Fire) - His team got a big result in the best game of the weekend and in no small part due to Klopas' ability to ably manage things in midfield and up top, making the necessary adjustments to allow his team to pick up a late, but well-earned win over the Revolution.
For Klopas, the nod is a reward for staying the course tactically while introducing key new players mid-season - seemingly an annual event around Toyota Park. Klopas' use of ‘Cacha' Rios has been brilliant, and his substitutes not only allowed Chicago to win the game, but to close it out with some swagger.
Soccer & Style
Hunter Jumper and Austin Berry summon their best Blue Steel to promote this evening's Soccer & Style runway show, to be held at Roof on the Wit. All proceeds to benefit the Chicago Fire Foundation! Tickets still available here.
Fire beat writer Jeff Crandall (yes, he's f**king good at his job) has a look at a few stats from the week.
Gonzalo Segares is poised to break CJ Brown's career yellow-card record, but his next will mean a suspension. (Looks at a roster, sees Shaun Francis as back-up left back, the same Shaun Francis who hasn't made a gameday 18 in a month.) Hey, Sega, maybe that record can wait for 2014?
Anthony Zilis examines Alex's recent form. In a word: Scorching.
On The Fire's roundtable doesn't see much hope for a Fire late-season uprising going into the playoffs - and their discussion defends pessimism ably.