Today’s topic was abruptly changed at about 11 p.m. last evening, when the Fire announced the signing of Germany and Bayern Munich superstar Bastian Schweinsteiger. Below find the staff grappling with this addition as best they can.
James Bridget Gordon: So, uh. Schweinsteiger.
John Carollo III: Told you guys… And no one believed me. <snif>
I think he slots in front of Dax and Juninho in a 4-2-1-2-1. Dax and Juni play DMs while Basti has full reign over the midfield.
James Bridget: I got your ‘I Told You So’ clocked at 2 minutes and 19 seconds. Whoever claimed that in the pool, come get your new toaster oven.
Sean Spence: YAHTZEE! … wait, I didn’t bet in that pool.
Sandra Herrera: Juninho got me interested, Schweinsteiger will keep me engaged. Signed, a Red Stars Contributor.
Brian Bottei: Ok. I’m thinking about it. I might be talking myself into it, but the more i do think about it, the more this signing makes sense.
We are playing a system similar to the Impact - a 4-2-1-3. Two of the mids will sit, the other will play like Patrice Bernier: Not quite a traditional ten, not quite a traditional 8. Lots of late runs into the box for pullbacks sort of a thing. It's going to work. They're already working towards it with de Leeuw trailing Niko.
Speaking of de Leeuw, he's going to be on the wing. David Accam is gone this summer, I guarantee it. By the end of the season, the team will be: Bava; Harrington, Kappelhof, Meira/Campbell, Vincent; Dax, Juninho; Basti; Alvarez, de Leeuw, Nikolic.
That team makes the playoffs. You can tell people I said that. i am all in on this team.
Mike Tooley: They should just play a 4-3-3 and give Bastian the freedom to link up with the front three often enough to create chances. I don't think you absolutely need a No. 10 to be successful but the past couple of games I was not too impressed with the end product of MDL playing under Niko. There still seemed to be a big gap between MDL and our two deeper mids. What this does is give us more options. I could also see a 4-3-1-2 where Accam actually gets put up top with Niko and MDL plays underneath the both of them.
From a non-tactical standpoint I am just plain excited to see Bastian play for the Fire. It just seems surreal. Even though we had been talking and discussing it for months in my mind I did not think it would actually happen. On a side note, I am kind of worried about what this all means for Polster.
Jack Kelly: This just makes me sad.
John: For those talking about how this is a backwards step for the Fire and the league, consider this: less than 24 hours ago, the biggest news for the Fire was that we were loaning out a couple of players to Tulsa and before that we had just lost 4-0. This team was suddenly thrust into the spotlight at around 11:00PM CDT last night.
That is not a backwards step for the Fire. It is a huge leap forward. No matter how Basti plays, we've got eyes on us now. We have the attention of the masses and of the people of Chicago. I bet that TP will be packed for the rest of the season after this (proving it was never TP's fault). This is a HUGE deal for the Fire. On MLS' end, this reopens a major market that's been starved for quality soccer. Chicago is about to rise back up, maybe not in our play, but definitely in exposure.
Mike: I agree with [John] completely. There is so much more than on-field performance to consider with this signing. I think many people around will look at this and say 'wait I thought we were trying to shed the retirement-league tag'. But like you said, we have been thrust back into the spotlight and our club needed that.
James Bridget: I just think it's weird that everyone seemed fine with Lampard and Pirlo and Drogba and (mostly) Gerrard, all those moves made sense and had huge upsides, but we get our own European legend and we're a bunch of tryhards.
Like, has our reputation cratered that much? "If the Fire are doing it it has to be bad"?
Sean: Yeah, basically. A signing of this level even 5 years ago has everyone in America who cares squirting on their screens; today it’s all “yeah but Almiron’s only 23.”
John: Atlanta changed the game and now everyone expects everything to change instantly. It doesn't.
James Bridget: Anyway, hopefully Schweinsteiger's money and star power can help save the Chicago Brauhaus. Those are my expectations for this signing.
John: I think everyone's opinion is right. While the Fire may be just now getting an aging European legend, we're getting a leader. If you remember when Montreal got Drogba, they picked themselves up in an instant even before he set foot on the pitch. I expect Schweinsteiger to have the same effect.
James Bridget: The leadership effect really can't be understated, I think. Pause, Nyarko, Magee, SeanJohn, all gone. The dressing room has been bereft of leadership. The armband has just sort of been passed around lately. Whatever his contributions end up being on the pitch-- and I think I'm more bullish on that than most people but I admit I could be wrong-- he's going to be a strong presence in the team. Not to sound like one of those AM radio meatheads but this shit matters. The 2013 Fire weren't that good but they went on a blistering run in the second half of the season and almost got into the playoffs because Mike Magee slapped them all upside the head and made them believe in themselves. For once. Schweinsteiger can do that for us too.
John: Hopefully Dax and Basti don't clash. That could kill us.
James Bridget: There's our Dark Kermit take for the day.
Sean: Annnnnnnnnnd we out.