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DON’T PANIC: Fire @ NYRB, MLS Week 8 Preview

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“The Hitchhiker’s Guide ... has the words Don’t Panic inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover.” (Adams, 3)

MLS: Chicago Fire at Toronto FC
BALD BALD BALD BALD BALD BALD BALD BALD!
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

First, I’d like to thank Coach Paunovic for reading my preview last week for tactical advice. Unfortunately, you may have viewed it as reverse psychology. I assure you, if we had played “Jordan Rules” on Giovinco, played a fast counter-attack, and minimized Harrington’s impact I am very certain we would’ve gotten a result. But we didn’t and we lost 3-1. That marks the end of our “winning streak” in Canada. That also reminds me that we may have won a road game in the last 365 days, we still haven’t won one of those on American soil in 2 years and 295 days (on Saturday). But I really don’t know if we’re going to be able to change that against our next opponent:

Other than FC Dallas, the New York Red Bulls are one of the most consistent teams in MLS. Plenty of that was due to Dax’s help in their midfield, but after a bit of a shaky start, NYRB has regained control of themselves. Looking over these highlights, I can’t find a single true weakness. Sure, they lost and have given up goals, but there’s no real special formula to it. You just kind of need to play your own game against a team like this and hope your game is better than theirs. Bradley Wright-Phillips isn’t exactly Giovinco, but he’s about as dangerous. Our defense needs to recover quickly from their previous game and step up to the plate against him.

vs. Orlando 4/9

vs. DC United 4/15

vs. Columbus 4/22

Three Keys

DON’T PANIC

You may have noticed my beautiful quote from a rather famous book. You may have also noticed this is around the fourth time I’ve said this phrase. I mean it. I said it after the Atlanta game as well. This isn’t a message to fans; fans can panic all they want. Our team’s problem is a bit like what happened to us in Atlanta: we let by one goal and we panic. We can’t let ourselves get in our own way like that every single time we go down. We need to keep a strong mentality to go back out there and get back in it.

Let Dax Get Them

It’s been pretty apparent that Dax didn’t leave New York on the best of terms. He’s a fairly out-spoken guy and I don’t think Jesse Marsch should stay in his coach’s box while Dax is around. On our side of this situation, this is Dax’s first game against his former team and not only will it be his first, it will also be in New York. This can flood a person with a whole lot of different emotions. While Dax would probably uphold that he is a professional who won’t let his feelings get in the way, all humans feel emotion. And that can only end one of three ways: One, it could have basically no effect on his performance, he just plays like he would against anyone else. Two, he could freeze up or make mistakes depending whether he’s sad or angry. Or three, He plays over his head and pulls out a career performance against a club that wronged him. I’d take that two out of three chance that he puts on a solid performance and give him a nice Emperor Palpatine quote.

Keep it Light, Keep it Quick

While not a specific weakness in the New York set-up, as there aren’t really any, this is essential to score. While it’s great to be able to pass the ball around with ease, you need to get the ball somewhere. That’s where we need to change up our gameplan and start to cut out useless passes in our attack. We out-stats’d Toronto, but still lost by 2. The Fire need to work towards putting the ball in the net, not keeping the ball the longest. While there is a correlation between the two things, scoring in itself is much more important.

Projected Lineups

Chicago Fire

New York Red Bulls

How To Watch

Kickoff: April 29th, 7:30PM EDT/6:30PM CDT

TV/Streaming: CSN-Chicago, MLS Live

So do you think the Fire can finally pull something out on the road in America for the first time in almost 3 years? Or will all our fears be realized? OR will we find a way to break even? Tell us what you think in the comments!