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Paul Revere is Coming: Fire vs. New England, MLS Week 6 Preview

Fire look to finally make a massive mark this season in their final game of this home stand

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at Chicago Fire
In a battle of young Americans, Drew Conner beats Will Trapp every time (in this specific instance)!
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

1-0 is a solid score when all you need is three points against the top team in the East (who is still at the top right now). Our possession, on the other hand, was once again a tale of two halves.

In the first half the Fire averaged around 54.5% of possession (+9%), but in the second half took a deep drop to about 38.6% possession (-22.8%). While you don’t need 99% to win a game, it’s nice to control the pace when you have a lead and this defense isn’t cutting it. But this week we have a chance to build momentum. Let us look to the horizon at who is riding o’er from yonder!

The New England Revolution haven’t been half bad. Unbeaten in their last three games, it’s all looking pretty good for them. Their ability to score goals shouldn’t be in doubt when you remember who they line up every day: Kei Kamara, Juan Agudelo, and Lee Nguyen. All three are very capable scorers and should pose a big threat for our struggling defense. But while our defense has issues, specifically at fullback, they have issues of their own— specifically at centerback. Kellyn Rowe and Andrew Farrell have been good old stand-by’s for them on the backline, but that center spot has been a revolving door the past few seasons. I think that once they get taken on by a player like Basti or Dax, they should crumble easily.

This is a crucial game for the Fire to win and establish an identity for themselves. To show you what that’s like, here’s New England crushing Minnesota (then their other previous two):

Vs. Minnesota

Vs. Portland

Vs. Houston

Three Keys

Oh, Danny Boy

The past two games have been all “Schweinsteiger this” and “Schweinsteiger that.” But I don’t think we can overlook this young man anymore. As you may remember, I was kind of angry when we got him, but his play on the field has proven that he was worth the pick. I love him, others here at Hot Time “like him,” but what’s really talking is his ability to get away from defenders and working well with a world class player like Basti.

To man-bun or not to man-bun?

Last week, Pauno decided to try something a little different that I kind of like and never thought about before. He put out a 5 man backline with all three of our CBs and Michael Harrington and Brandon Vincent out on the wings. Normally I’d say something about Harrington, but he actually did well (comparatively). This new formation seems to pull the pressure off of him to defend so he can sink into a more natural position. Or maybe he played better because he ditched the man-bun last week? All I know is that he should try to do exactly the same thing this week (maybe a little better).

Agudel-Oh-No

As I said earlier, this New England team has some fire-power up top with Agudelo and Kamara. Not only does this new 5 defender line help out the wingbacks a bit more, it can help alleviate the sort of pressure that those two can attack with. It’s going to be interesting to see if they can handle them then and when Pauno makes changes in the back.

Projected Line-ups

Chicago Fire

Chicago Fire 2017 opening day - MLS - Football tactics and formations

New England Revolution

New England Revolution - Football tactics and formations

How To Watch

Kickoff: April 15th, 2017, 4:00 PM CDT

TV/Streaming: CSN-Chicago Plus, MLS Live

So do you think this is our shot to come out of our shells and show MLS what we’re made of? Or do you prefer a quiet victory? Or do you not even see a victory happening at all? Tell us what you think in the comments.