Going into Wednesday’s game, the biggest thing for the Fire to remember was Chance’s famous line to Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner: “Do your job.” Not to get political, but the Fire did their job. We came, we saw, we conquered, and we didn’t let up. It was the perfect good team vs. bad team game you could ask for. Niko scored a brace to take the lead in the Golden Boot race and Polster came back with a vengeance when he created a goal that would eventually get cleaned up by Accam. But the Fire are now moving back out into “unfamiliar territory”. In order to find our challenger, we must look into the far away lands of the east!
DC United is known for having an on again, off again relationship with winning seasons. Unfortunately for them, I don’t think that relationship is “on” this year. That’s fortunate news for us, who still haven’t won a road game in the US in almost three years! [Ed. note: Yes, we remember the win in Montreal last year. And yes, this is a weird distinction to make. -JBG] This team seems a bit vulnerable, having lost their last two games at home against not very good teams. DC are in the perfect position to swoop down on to finally get that streak off our back. Let’s try to visualize what that would look like, using some visual aids:
vs. Atlanta 4/30/17
vs. Montreal 5/6/17
vs. Philadelphia 5/13/17
Dax The Knife
On of my first random thoughts when I was researching lineups was, “Wow! That is such an MLS defense.” Players like Bobby Boswell and Kofi Opare are really strong MLS veterans. So that means their struggle must lie somewhere within tactics, and that is exactly where the fault lies. One of biggest issues I saw was Boswell and Opare being too rigid in their position. So where does Dax come in? His through balls combined with Niko and Accam’s runs should cut straight through DC’s D like a knife.
While the Fire have the best midfield in the league, I think DC boasts a quietly underrated midfield. Players like Luciano Acosta and Ian Harkes need to be accounted for at all times and that does not have to be just Dax, Juni, or Basti’s job. Everyone needs to work together and squeeze the ball out.
Speaking of squeezing the ball out: That’s what they try to do anyway. They have a strange insistence to try to go for that long shot goal. I don’t think it has scored a goal for them yet, but they still try to do it. Let’s force those mistakes and make them do it from even worse positions. We will win by not being scored upon!
How To Watch
Kickoff: Saturday May 20th, 4:00PM EST/3:00PM CST
TV/Streaming: Unimas, MLS Live, Facebook
So what do you think? Will the Fire reach 3 years of failure in America, or will they finally break that streak and enjoy a win on the road? Tell us in the comments!