James Bridget Gordon: So to start things off, I want to take a moment to acknowledge the loss of two members of the Section 8 Chicago family who passed away this week. We at Hot Time extend our condolences to the family and friends of Armando Chapa and Lochlainn Ryan.
Ok, so. The Fire really, really needed to win on Saturday. A draw wouldn't have been good enough but I think we all could've lived with it. We lost 3-1. We're probably our of contention for the Supporters' Shield and, with our current form, our playoff hopes are in serious trouble now.
Let's go around the table. What went wrong on Saturday?
Jake Payne: Schweinsteiger was playing some non-existent position, turns out the Fire don't have great depth, the Fire are absolutely useless at set pieces.
Ralph Schudel: Nikolic cant seem to find the scoresheet with the same consistency as he did earlier in the year. Accam seems to be plagued by what's effect Ola Kamara. Key misses in clutch situations.
James Bridget: He had that problem a bit last season too. For a lot of THIS season he seemed to be hitting the target just fine. And yet here we are...
Also, for our readers, meet Ralph. He's joining us on loan from Massive Report, mostly for Red Stars coverage.
Ralph: That's right transfers don't effect just players
Jake: We are also very close to having fans fill in on the back line, Christian Dean looks like he's constantly out of coverage, which is not fantastic when Lampson is also playing a bit rough.
James Bridget: I really hope they don't ask me to play in defense. I'm terrible.
Ruben Tisch: Matt Lampson is garbage. They defended like they were down 3 starters, and they can't finish. Other than that, I thought they played pretty well.
James Bridget: (Quick PSA y'all, the eclipse is supposed to peak in like 45 minutes so if you want to, like, go outside or some shit you should totally feel free. The Roundtable will still be here when you get back.)
Ruben: Not interested in burning my retinas. I'll play Overwatch instead.
Jake: All I see are clouds wtf. Space sucks.
James Bridget: But if you go outside right when it happens you might get some crazy super powers.
Ruben: Not worth it.
James Bridget: smh
Jake: Now that everyone’s looking at the same thing, they should put a message on the moon like "Please don’t play Christian Dean anymore.”
James Bridget: We just signed him!
Ruben: Dean is a backup CB. He's fine.
John Carollo III: He's new.
I just got out of my first college class. Is the eclipse a bad omen?
Also, I'd put the biggest blame of this on Basti moving back.
Ruben: Basti has been playing sweeper all year.
John: But we were scoring more when he was more forward. Him staying back may help us a bit on defense, but we're sacrificing our attack.
Jake: We're here panicking but the recent playoff odds have us at 95%.
Mike: It might be boring but I don't really feel like singling out anyone in particular for this L. At 1-1 it felt we might really have a chance but Toronto is a lot better than the Fire. That is what I learned Saturday night. They should still make the playoffs but another bad result against Minnesota would have me in full on panic mode.
Ralph: I would panic fully if the Fire can't beat a keeper like Bobby Shuttleworth.
Jack Kelly: Everything is broken. We can't even see the sun right now and it's 1:15pm, how can we hope the Fire turn it around?
Jake: We make our own Fire Jack.
Mike: Destroying Minnesota would be a start.
Jack: If we lose to Minnesota I will stop watching soccer.
<won't actually stop watching soccer>
Jake: The Fire will get relegated if they lose to Minnesota at home.
Jack: Can we talk a little bit more specifically about Dean? I thought he was pretty good on Saturday, honestly.
James Bridget: We can but first I just want to say that I went outside right at the peak time and there was too much cloud cover to see a goddamn thing. This is bullshit.
James Bridget: I didn't even get any super powers what the fuck.
AND I'm watching the livestream of the fainting goats and they HAVEN'T FAINTED.
Life is just a series of disappointments and heartbreaks, my friends.
And with that, let's talk about Christian Dean.
John: He's new. He was thrown out there too soon.
James Bridget: Wait, no. How can you say Dean was thrown out there too soon but also keep clamoring for Stefan Cleveland and Djordje Mihailovic to get minutes.
John: Dean just got here. That's why he wasn't ready. Probably hasn't assimilated into the system well enough yet.
Jake: I don't like Dean but I'm also grumpy. He spends a lot of time in what looks like the wrong place and he looks out of depth. I know hes a backup but geez.
Mike: I can see why the Fire liked Dean enough to pull the trigger on Dean and think there is some potential there. He was just picked up and thrown to the wolves before he's had a chance to settle in. I am not sure if that is an excuse but I'll personally give him some more time before taking too much stock from his performances. Jozy and Giovinco can make the most experienced of MLS defenders look foolish too.
Jack: I was a little surprised that Dean got the start over Campbell. The Beard has been waiting for his chance for a long time and I thought that this was it for sure.
James Bridget: Rampant Beardphobia strikes CF97 once again smgdh
Mike: I guess just Pauno's choice with that one?
James Bridget: Pauno's Choice sounds like either a really bad remake of a classic movie or some okay-but-not-great store brand deli meats.
Jack: "Pauno's Choice, the official deli meat of the Chicago Fire"
James Bridget: Ham Of The Match!
Jack : <high fives>
Good work on that one JBG!
James Bridget: Yeah buddy
Mike: I don't think I would purchase any deli meat of that name so i'll go with the bad movie.
Jack: What if it's on sale?
Mike: Yea maybe if its some 1/2 off type of deal.
James Bridget: Buy one get one free on premium Pauno's Choice capricola or salami.
Jack: Pauno's Choice pastrami.
James Bridget: Probably now the weekly sale would be on liverwurst Because we are the WURST.
<tries to hi-five self>
Jack: One time, back in the day, when I was playing a high school match, I tried to high five the ref at the end of the game and he went for a handshake and I hit him in the face.
Suggestion: Never look away from your target mid high five.
James Bridget: Solid advice.
Jack: Rumor is the club is putting a Cuban restaurant in at Toyota Park.
I have been questioning some of Pauno's choices lately, though. Like, I'm not a professional soccer coach, but he has left me very confused these last two matches
Jake: My thing about Pauno is that when you're as good as they were teams are going to figure you out. Teams have clearly figured the Fire out and his response is "play Schweini back".
James Bridget: So, I said earlier that the Fire are probably out of the Supporters' Shield race. I'm happy to be talked out of that! Please, somebody, give me some hope.
Ralph: Honestly, I think Chicago can turn things around. MLS is one of the hardest leagues to win on the road, so you have to beat teams that you are supposed to beat. Minnesota will be a telling game for the Fire and could potentially gain some momentum back going into a tough clash against Montreal.
Next week will be telling. They need to boss the Loons and do so convincingly.
John: We're in the playoffs though. I don't see us dropping below 4th in the East.
Ralph: Chicago won't.
John: But Supporter's Shield isn't realistic anymore.
Ralph: I agree. TFC is too hot right now and BMO is a great atmosphere and home and they do decent on the road. It's theirs to lose.
James Bridget: I like how I asked for someone to give me hope with the Shield race and you were all "how about I do the exact opposite of that."
God bless you, Jigs. You're an American Classic.
Ralph: I tried and then I went down too.
Jake: You just have to be realistic. Toronto is an absolute tank. They have 15 different goalscorers this season.
Ralph: I think Velasquez has been an incredible distributor for them as well.
Jake: So... Those Star Wars night scarves...
James Bridget: I want one. If I weren't so broke I'd go just to get a scarf.
John: I'm once again officially announcing I will be dressing up as Rey.
And this week's preview will be specially Star Wars themed.
James Bridget: That sounds like a threat.
John: Best theme night.
Since I think almost all of us here watch the Red Stars as well, I got into a discussion at the game:
Who's the more important player to their team: Julie Ertz or Bastian Schweinsteiger?
I vote Ertz.
Ruben: Christian Press.
Ralph: Ertz. But I agree with Ruben if we are going with more important. Press by a landslide
McCarty on the Fire side.
John: Press didn't show up yesterday.
Ralph: She tried, played a lot of route one stuff.
Ralph: I wasn't a fan of that approach. thought they would have been better working the ball through ertz and inching it up the pitch.
John: The whole team looked sluggish.
Ralph: Agreed but three games in that span will do it. third game isn't the prettiest.
I would have liked to have seen them take a pass backwards to go forward a bit more. I thought Gilliland had something on the wings for a bit it just never worked out.
Another thing on Mewis, like her sister Sam she has some height. Might be a set-piece winner but that is speculative. Ertz is superb in the air.
Jack: Can we talk about what Dax is doing in this photo?
James Bridget: Huh.
John: Showing how deep the water was at RFK last week?
Ralph ^^^^ That.
James Bridget: W/R/T the Red Stars point, I'm going to say DiBern. She was scratched right before kickoff and Chicago really missed her. Their distribution was off all game, they couldn't get that final ball. It's telling that their goal came from Ertz when she was moved to the tip of the diamond and made to play as a #10. (I think Ertz is fine as a 10 but that's not her living her best life.)
Ralph: Certainly not. I agree with that.
John: Yeah, DiBernardo is really this team's unsung hero.
James Bridget: I sing about her all the dang time.
John: As we all should.
James Bridget: Right.
So! Minnesota! How doomed are we?
Mike: The Fire need all three points.
Ralph: Not very. Outside of Christian Ramirez and Ethan Finlay, I think the defense should hold firm. they do have a goal differential of -21. I see them winning easily.
John: Minnesota is the ones who are doomed.
Ralph: That's the positivity we need!
John: Not positivity. Logic.
James Bridget: Is this like Reddit Logic or Actual Logic?
John: The 2015 Fire could beat Minnesota. At home. We're shook from Toronto, but not enough to drop to such a bad team.
James Bridget: Predictions?
Mike: I'll say 2-0 to the Fire with Niko finally scoring.
Jake: 1-0 Fire.
Ralph: Fire win 2-1, Niko and Accam scoring.
James Bridget: I'm going to say... 2-0 Fire. MdL with both goals.