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Irrelevance: Montreal 1, Chicago 0, recap

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Fire rebound from crushing Open Cup loss with cringing, defensive display against former boss Klopas

ROCHAMBEAUX ... NOW!
ROCHAMBEAUX ... NOW!
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

There are times where one has very little good to say. There are times when one might choose silence.

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The Chicago Fire played a football match against the Montreal Impact on Saturday evening. The match was contested in Montreal, which could be construed as some advantage. The two teams began the standings alongside each other at the bottom of the Eastern Conference of MLS. The Eastern Conference is considered by far the weaker of the two divisions in the league. Arguably, this was a match between the two worst teams in the league.

If it was disappointment you sought, then you're the only one not disappointed. Chicago succumbed to a late Marco Di Vaio goal to lose, 1-0, to a team who'd lost seven on the trot, a team who'd just fired their chief architect in favor of the guy we cut loose last October. A ball, half-cleared, fell to the one guy who could reliably finish from there, and the Fire ended this four-day stretch without points, or pride.

The game itself was thin fare, too little butter scraped across too much bread. The Fire started without Quincy Amarikwa, and seemed to miss his livewire jousting; the more laconic presence of Mike Magee meant neither fantasy nor industry could prevail. Harry Shipp struggled to find the ball from his left-wing spot. Razvan Cocis, miscast as an attacking midfielder, had interesting ideas that didn't mesh with Magee or Alex's thinking. With the ball, it was dreadful.

What wasn't dreadful was the Fire's approach without the ball. In what I imagine is a telegraphing of the approach to be favored in 2015, the Men in Red played the first 40 minutes or so in a very aggressive pressing system - the forward five worked as a block to make exiting the defensive zone a chore, successfully. Unfortunately, their lack of concision going forward meant the result resembled a gridiron game played between the 30-yard lines: A tremendous, churning hullabaloo without import, sound and fury signifying nothing.

The Impact seemed hip to the Fire's machinations, and kept the ball calmly despite the pressure, for the most part. An unfortunate side-effect of the pressing was that there were no runners in space - marking up means you're, y'know, marked up, so the other guy knows right where you are. Most of the game unwound like a time machine from the 1920s: Pressing means man-marking, and fluid systems mean seven guys going forward those rare moments the ball is in the attacking zone. Don't get out your bowlers in memoriam, because it suuuuuucked.

Some guys came in. Some guys left. Montreal subbed on a dude named Romero, who slashed in from the left wing and put a screamer on goal to the near post - only to see Sean Johnson lay out and, with a strong right hand, steer the shot wide. Time passed while we waited for good things to happen.

Di Vaio scored.

The game ended.

The Fire have now won as few games as any team in the league. Chicago (4-13-6) continues its Canadian tour in Toronto next Saturday. Montreal (4-5-14) continue their MLS irrelevance by playing someone I refuse to look up, and someone else I refuse to look up in the CONCACAF Champion's League.

That's right - they're in the CONCACAF Champion's League.

Have a pleasant day.