It's early here at Hot Time central - the helicopters and private jets which ferry our writers into the office have yet to arrive. Which means Doug Kieffer has yet to see the "WHO TO BOO 4 LIFE" banner I've placed over his desk.
That's right, Doug. Who To Boo FOR LIFE.
See, we debuted that little feature last week, and it was Doug's idea. Then the weekend came, and every single result went the Fire's way. To wit:
Doug said: "WHO TO BOO: New England".
Results said Montreal 4, New England 2 - the Revs laid an egg at home against l'Impact, thanks in large part to Matt Reis getting red-carded early in the game. That's the same Revolution the Fire play Saturday evening, and the same Matt Reis who'd pushed Bobby Shuttleworth to the bench. Now Reis will be suspended for the game in Bridgeview - awesome.
Doug said: "WHO TO BOO: Houston".
Results said the Dynamo got shellacked, 4-1, by New York Red Bull despite playing at home in their orange-and-aluminum terrordome.
Doug said: "WHO TO BOO: Philadelphia".
Results said the Phunions couldn't muster much going forward, losing the last game of the weekend, 1-0, in San Jose.
As a result, the Eastern Conference playoff picture is coming into focus: Three teams lead a breakaway group at the top, while the Fire are caught in a four-team peleton elbowing and positioning for the final two places: Philadelphia, New England, Houston and us. To the table!
|2||New York Red Bulls||45||28||1.61||13||9||6||44||36||8||24||12||20||-4|
|3||Sporting Kansas City||45||28||1.61||13||9||6||41||27||14||28||14||13||0|
|5||New England Revolution||37||27||1.37||10||10||7||37||29||8||23||11||14||-3|
We are primarily concerned with places 4-7, which is where our battle for the playoffs will take place. Take note, especially, of the column labelled "GP." La Maquina Roja have at least one game in hand over every team in the peleton.
Which means the Fire still can control their own destiny simply by winning games. Putting up six points this week, with wins against Toronto and New England, will put the Fire in the playoff places with six games left. We may have left Seattle frustrated and sniping, but all of that will be forgotten if Chicago can pull it together and get maximum points this week.
Of course, help from the others never hurt anybody. So - sorry, Doug. You're writing "Who To Boo" FOR LIFE.
As reported in the game recap, Bakary Soumare had some ill-considered things to say to beat writer Jeff Crandall on Twitter after Saturday's game. Still no word from the club on the issue, and Crandall has moved on, so it's hard to know where this will go.
That Soumare has a turbulent temper has long been understood - the stories of his locker-room contretemps with former manager Denis Hamlett in a previous stint with the club are oft-repeated. Crandall avoided making it worse rather neatly which has allowed the issue to cool. Unless we hear otherwise, the guess here is cf97 players and staff are about to get a memo about use of social media, and nothing more will be said.
Rivera teasing changes
Guillermo Rivera, on his excellent Chicago Fire Confidential, has been teasing a story about changes coming for the Chicago Fire front office. My helicopter full of sources is busy bird-dogging Ben Burton into a paranoid break, so I don't have the same information, but Mr. Rivera is usually very sound.
What I'd like to know is, what would y'all do? Who would you fire? Who would you put in their place? Would you change the structure of the front office? Consider this an open call for "How I'd Run The Fire" comments.