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Roundtable: Babies And Bathwater

The Fire’s winning streak comes to a screeching halt. The Hot Time crew tries to pick up the pieces.

MLS: Chicago Fire at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

James Bridget Gordon: No for real though, how on earth do you get an 11-on-9 advantage and not score?

John Carollo III: I think they got very confused. We never had that much of an advantage before and we just freezed.

James Bridget: I'm confused too, Bob!

Ruben Tisch: Ask the Blackhawks. Their 5 on 3 success was awful.

James Bridget: There are a few questions I'd like to ask the Blackhawks and that, unfortunately, is not one of them.

So, okay. Was this just Orlando digging deep and pulling off a minor act of heroism in grinding out a draw with 9 men? Or did the Fire screw this up?

John: I think there was a mix of both. Early on, you saw that the Fire could break through and that was where Orlando's heroism was. Bendik had a great game and the Fire were flooding him before and after the first red. But after the second red, the Fire just looked confused as Orlando just stuck into their own end. The Fire weren't able to unlock the D and that was on them.

Sean Spence: The red card reorganized OC around defending. Especially after the half, they really just played in two banks of four and dared us to do something. The second red put them into full last-minutes-of-a-cup-tie mode. Basically, the worse it got for them, the worse it got for us, because we just had zero space to play in.

I think we win this game without the red forcing Kreis into a crouch, because the Fire were methodically dismembering that press.

James Bridget: How much do y'all think Dax being out affected the Fire's performance?

John: Very much so. I don't even think Juninho could've helped us there, because Dax was the guy who had been the one finding passes. Same with Basti, but it seems like we need two of those guys. Polster wasn't finding passes and later Djordje wasn't finding those passes. Instead we just had Vincent and Conner/Polster carpet bomb the box.

Alex Picchietti: I think sometimes when a team is relegated to 10 (or 9) players, the goal becomes very clear: batten down the hatches and get a result. Like when a bottom of the table team plays an elite team. But when you're down a man or two, your hand is forced. So while it's frustrating to not get the result, it's understandable because Orlando had a clear objective and just flooded the box.

Ruben: Actually, I don't think Dax would have helped much, at least, not after the second red card. Orlando packed 9 into the box, so there was no space at all to maneuver in the middle. Dax would have just been as effective as Bastian was. The problem, I thought, was they didn't cross the ball into the box enough. There was no urgency, and they took entirely too much time trying to set up the perfect cross instead of trying to win with volume.

James Bridget: I'm inclined to agree with Alex. Whatever the merits of awarding it in the first place, once the red card comes out it stops being a soccer game and becomes something else.

Alex: Exactly. And I don't think Pauno would have prepared the team to be attacking, on the road, with the opponent down two men. So it's a tough in game adjustment as you try to find what works when a team sets anchor and takes your best shot.

It reminds me a lot of how teams set up against Arsenal...a team that can control the ball for days in the opponents half, but the defensive team knows it can give them the possession but deny them quality chances in the box. If they don't get crosses in and settle for 30 yard shots, and a counter attack or two, mission accomplished.

Also, just have to put this out there, RIP Cheick Tiote. Really heartbreaking, as his wife has a child on the way.

James Bridget: Seriously. 30 years old. Cripes.

Alex: So we have a decent stretch of matches coming up here, with a rematch with ATL, NYRB, Orlando, and the USOC sammiched in between. What are your thoughts on how Pauno lines up against St. Louis FC?

James Bridget: I have no idea. But I wouldn't be surprised if Pauno just decides the Cup isn't a priority.

Sean: And arguably this is the first time in years we have serious depth that warrants more playing time. I want to see our Tulsa guys in the XI for the Open Cup, along with Campbell, Conner, Mihalovic, Johnson, Doody.

Alex: I wouldn't blame him. I'd much rather see the young guys get a run out for the cup and let Schweinsteiger and the veterans rest. This might be a 1-2 year window in all reality.

Just saw Bendik and Spector made Team of the Week. Can't be that surprised after a 9 man clean sheet.

Mike Tooley: I agree with everything you guys are saying about the game changing so much after the red and the FIre not being prepared for playing a man or two up. It is a missed opportunity, a big one too. We just looked lost after being given a man advantage.

James Bridget: Or a "manvantage," as they say.

Mike: Before the game I would have gladly taken a point. But after the way events unfolded I just can't help but feel we should have walked away with more than a draw.

Alex: Totally feel the same way. Once you see two reds, you feel robbed at getting only 1 point. Those are the results you need to get, to make up for the games like the 1 point in LA...

James Bridget: One change you'd make to get ready for Atlanta?

John: Start Conner at RB over Polster. IDK, but he did much better there than Polster. Also, start DJ if available because Solignac didn't look good at all.

Ruben: Poster back to RB and Juninho back to mid.

James Bridget: I'm going with Ruben on this one.

John: But that would be the obvious shift. That's the lineup everyone was expecting going into this game

James Bridget: Yup.

Ruben: So?

John: Just saying. It was probably the original lineup before we knew Juninho wouldn't play. (BTW, congrats to his family.)

Ruben: And that's bad, because?

James Bridget: In general I would caution against making an unexpected move for its own sake.

That's the Trump Approach. "Oh ho ho, they're expecting me to do X, so I'm going to do Y instead because no one will see this coming!" Like, yeah, because Y isn't a good idea.

Ruben: I was going to call it Vince Russo-esque.

James Bridget: That works too.

3-Dimensional Chess isn't Pauno's style.

John: My thing with Solignac (and a bit of Conner) is because Solignac was terrible during the game. Conner basically had to become our right mid because he wasn't playing it. I think if DJ is healthy, he should start over Solignac. If not DJ, then Alvarez.

James Bridget: It was one bad game after being an important part of the win streak. I'm not ready to throw the baby out with the bathwater yet.

And not for nothing, John, but if you had your way DJ and Conner would start every game.

John: (And CFer and Cleveland, and Campbell, and Calistri.)

Ruben: Polster is better then Conner. Calistri is in Tulsa.

James Bridget: Cleveland isn't MLS-ready.

Ruben: Colin Fernandez is lost in the wilderness.

James Bridget: Aren't we all?

John: Well, I was just adding a few extra names to the list. But this isn't just about me wanting DJ to start.

James Bridget: Yes it is, dude. That's exactly what this is.

John: Solignac has probably been the weakest link in the starting squad on this run.

Ruben: And Jonathan Campbell hasn't impressed me more then Meira.

James Bridget: And you're wrong about Soli.

Ruben: He's been solid.

John: Lost on the wrong side, making bad passes. That was just last game.

James Bridget: Yes. That was just last game.

Everyone has a bad game sometimes. Even Niko. Even Basti had an off night.

Ruben: Yeah. He did not have his best game last night. But they should bounce back against ATL. Revenge awaits.

James Bridget: Would you say it's... TIME TO REVENGE

John: In Solignac's past five games, he's gotten one goal in one game (off a rebound) and one assist in another game (simple long pass to Accam). In the other three, he received an average score of a 6.3 rating (from, lower than any other Fire starter in those games. He's the weakest link on the offense and if our offense couldn't perform Sunday, then we need to at least change the one consistently underperforming player. If Alvarez/DJ doesn't play any better, we go back, but I just don't think Solignac is as good as you're trying to make him out to be.

James Bridget: A goal and an assist in five games isn't bad?

John: But his lack of performance otherwise.

Ruben: He's a midfielder, a wide one at that. Goals aren't really the best metric to evaluate him.

James Bridget: Soli couldn't break down a nine-man back line on a team that decided it was fine with a point. Perspective, my dude.

Also, per whoscored, MdL has a lower average rating than Soli. So does Juninho. And Alvarez. And DJ. And Drew Conner.

John: I am on the page right now and it says 6.4. The closest is Niko at 6.5.

James Bridget: Right, this specific game, in which the "Strengths" field for the Fire reads "Team has no significant strengths."

John: And this game.

Alex: I think Soli is fine. I see the flashes there and he's not costing us games.

John: When you have a player who's good in "flashes", you keep them on the bench and put them out there for the "flashes". You shouldn't judge a player on "flashes". He found his way to a rebound and saw Accam running. I think Solignac isn't someone to start at the moment if we have someone else on the bench. Alvarez/DJ need a chance to take the spot if Solignac is only showing "flashes".

James Bridget: And you also shouldn't judge a player on one game. DJ will get his chance eventually. And then you'll be able to say you called it before anyone else did.