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Roundtable: Everything Is Bad

Losses from both the Fire and the Red Stars have the Hot Time squad demoralized

MLS: Chicago Fire at New York Red Bulls Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

James Bridget Gordon: So, uh, this weekend sucked. Both of Chicago's professional soccer teams lost on the road against vulnerable, beatable opposition. It was... grim.

And so here's my question to start things off: Is it time to cancel soccer? Has this charade gone on long enough?

John Carollo III: Shut it down! Chicago doesn't need soccer anymore!

Jack Kelly: Chicago has professional soccer teams?

John: I have no clue what's wrong with the Red Stars. Everything says "championship caliber", but they aren't getting the points.

Sean Spence: I’ve got some ideas, and I shared some of them in my comment to James’ game story. Basically, I think there’s a weird tactical malformation happening. But there’s a ton of talent on the roster, for certain.

John: For the Fire, there's only two problems: finishing and right back. One can be solved in practice and the other in the last week of the transfer market.

Mike Tooley: I thought the Fire played really well for the most part. We had a boat load of chances and on another night we may have won that game or at least picked up a point. It happens.

John: Those two Soli misses are bench-able offenses. Only way I'd start him again against LA is if he's: A, our star power; or B, our only healthy player. Neither is true, so I'd expect De Leuuw or DJ out on the right this week.

Sean: Solignac, to me, has showed that he’s really a right midfielder and not an inside forward or whatever. He works his ass off, combines well, has a good burst onto the ball and loves to compete, but give him sight of the goal and he swaps nervous systems with Stephen Hawking for a split second, which admittedly has to be astonishingly disorienting for both of them. If we go two forwards, let’s move David up top, start DJ on the left, maybe?

Mike: Agreed that Solignac should probably see the bench. He really squandered some good opportunities. I thought DJ should have came on much earlier.

Jack: Am I the only one not on the DJ hype train? He only ever looks fine when he plays. Never anything super spectacular.

Mike: I think he has looked really good in his limited appearances. I would like to see what he can do with some more minutes, not just late in the game. Regardless of who replaces him I would guess Solignac is back on the bench for LA.

Jack: This is true. However, I don't think that we should be making significant changes to the team over one match. I feel like as a collective we call for an overhaul after every loss and I'm not sure that's the best approach.

Mike: I don't believe changing out one forward would be an overhaul. For the most part Pauno is lining up the same team week after week and just changing out one of the forward players. If it were me there would be more changes for this week... but I just remembered I am not the Fire boss. Damn.

James Bridget: I'm also not on the hype train. Or the hype bus. Or the hype pedicab.

Ruben Tisch: Getting rid of Patrick Nyarko will go down as one of the biggest mistakes in club history. (Re: Solignac)

John: I'm on the hype rickshaw. It may have just been that first game vs. Montreal, but he looked good. I want more.

James Bridget: Yes John, we know.

Nyarko, Shipp, SeanJohn. We keep offloading critical players because they "don't fit in Pauno's system" and then replacing them with players who have very similar skillsets but just... aren't quite as good.

If it weren't my team I'd think it's kinda funny.

Ruben: Juninho is a better shooter then Shipp, but yeah I agree. Nyarko catches Lawrence before he gets the shot off and at least makes that difficult.

James Bridget: It may be that MdL is better than Shipp, but he's not, like, demonstrably better. And as much as I like him, he's also more expensive and takes up an international spot. Nevermind that Shipp was also a HGP and had that Heart Of The Team thing going on.

John: Same argument with Sean vs Bava. Heart and soul plus he's domestic.

Sean: All those players who loved the club were part of the problem!

... Come to think of it, that perfectly explains the attitude of this front office to Hot Time.

James Bridget: I think you misspelled “Enemy Of The Fire” there.

Alex Picchietti: I'm starting to wonder if Juninho should take a night off. That might be a bit harsh. But I'm looking for some any of answer on that right side.

John: I've been doubting Juninho since the red card vs. Montreal.

Alex: Glad to see I'm not alone. Where the heck was Polster? Not even on the bench?

John: Polster should be healthy by now. Heard he re-aggravated the injury before the trip or something.

Sean: He tweeted something to the effect that he’d had a setback and was as anxious to play as we were to see him.

Alex: Yeah, that loss was much more frustrating than TFC for me. I felt like Toronto were the better team and I can live with that. We definitely should have at least had a point there.

And I don't think we should cancel soccer -- both teams do have potential and they just need to get their heads in the right spot and cut down on the mistakes.

Mike: On MdL. I really feel like there isn't a natural place for him in this 4-3-3 that we keep playing. As much as I want him to play it seems like trying to put a square peg in a round hole. Thoughts?

James Bridget: Yeah, I dunno. He really strikes me as a second striker. Like he'd fit in well in a 4-4-1-1. This setup? Ehh.

John: He's definitely a second striker, but that 10 spot is taken up by Basti.

James Bridget: So the Fire are looking at the very real possibility of going 0-0-3 on this road trip. Panic button?

Ruben: No. LA kind of suck. And Onfalo is... not good.

James Bridget: Right, but if the Fire lose to LA in their current state, what does that say about them?

Sean: It doesn’t say anything good. LA have been frankly terrible, and Onalfo has a history of his teams absolutely quitting on him. Usually it takes more than eight games, admittedly.

Mike: Have a feeling this is very much wrong time, wrong place for the Fire again. I had that feeling going into the game with Toronto. TFC was just due for a big game and well I feel like LA kind of is too. They outplayed Phily this weekend. And well, if the Fire do win then we may send LAG into full swing panic mode.

John: It says we need to look at where we are weakest and rectify that situation. I think there at least a couple of people here who have come around to the dark side about Harrington.

But barring that, I think we can smack LA if we at least finish the ball. LA looks mostly harmless. Mostly.

James Bridget: Yes John, you were first. You are always first. You were right and we were wrong.

John: I feel like that needs to be said sarcastically as you slap a comically over-sized "I'm a winner" sticker on my forehead.

And I wasn't first, I was just the first here that talked about it. This has been a debate since last season.

I think we can handle LA as long as we don't let them get up. We slacked on Giovinco and pulled back against Toronto on the counter. That allowed them to get up as a team. We need to stick to a gameplan that is tailored to the opposition, not to how we ourselves have been playing.

James Bridget: I conceded you were right about Harrington and you Well Actually’d me about the concession. That's impressive.

Anyway. Last question of the day, and I want to try to end on an up note.

Lots of things went wrong this weekend, on the Fire and Red Stars side. What were your bright spots? Who do you want to catch doing something right (as we used to say at an old job)?

Jack: Dax's assist was sublime.

James Bridget: It was, wasn't it.

John: I thought we built up play very well. Dax consistently fires on all cylinders and Basti continues to be world class.

To be honest, we looked like we were going to win throughout the game. Not just unnecessary stats, we made (almost) every pass count and I think (almost) everyone did their jobs.

James Bridget: You're not wrong, but as Fire fans are all too aware: you don't get points for effort.