James Bridget Gordon: Alright comrades. The Fire lost on Saturday to one of the worst teams in the league. At home. And never really looked like they had a chance. Niko's hit a dry spell, key members of the squad are hurt, and rumors of discontent in the locker room have gone from hushed whispers to full-on shouting.
So! Is it time to hit the Panic Button?
Sean Spence: (hastily moving his hands away from a large, red button marked ‘Panic’ which he’d obviously been pressing) Oh, were we going to discuss this as a group first? ... sorry.
Ralph Schudel: I would say yes, but not where you think. I think the Fire's struggle start in goal. Lampson has been all out of sorts recently and mentally doesn't look very sharp.
The goals will come, but the defense has to weather the storm.
James Bridget: I definitely agree about Lampson. He's been getting increasingly feckless. (Or regressing to mean, if you prefer.)
John Carollo III: PANIC PANIC PANIC!!!! DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!!! PANIC!!!!
Lampson is not good, the defense's depth holes are showing, and everyone else seems to have lost faith in the system.
Ruben Tisch: I think they look going forward, aside from the lack of cutting edge. So I don't think they've lost faith.
Sean: I think that faith is exactly what they’ve lost. We just got pressed into mistakes by fucking Minnesota. Two months ago, if the Loons had tried to opportunity press us, the same central midfield laughs up its sleeve while tearing it to pieces; Saturday we looked like the Fire have looked for the past decade, like we’re somehow convinced pressing is just not faiiiiiir and we wish everyone would just staaaaaaaahp already.
Alternately, we’re learning just how much it matters to have a centerback with good feet who completes 95 percent of his passes in this system. The drop-off in possession between João and Campbell or Dean is incredible.
John: This would be normal any of the past 7 seasons, but we were in first place for an extended amount of time and now I can actually see us drop out of the playoffs.
Ruben: I think they're tired and hurt.
James Bridget: Aren't we all?
Jake Payne: Wee woo wee woo wee woo its panic time. Better put a craigslist ad out for a defender.
Jack Kelly: Oh, it's panic time. The Fire earned just 3 points in August. At this rate, I'll be happy if they make the playoffs.
Also Lampson is bad. Let's try Sanchez out! They're 15 points behind TFC. They were in first place at the beginning of the month.
Ruben: Not only am I not panicking, this is where I thought the Fire would be anyway. The first half of the year was a bonus.
Sean: I can’t view it from orbit like that. Sure, I would’ve taken this before the season - but the wins weren’t the product of some alignment of luck factors any more than this losing streak is.
Jake: For real the red line is creeping up. We’re behind Columbus now.
John: I understand regressing to the mean. We were going to drop off a bit.
Jack: This is a full on first-to-worst crash, though. I mean the only team worse than the Fire in August was LA.
John: Losses in KC, NYC, and Montreal were kinda coming for us.
But we just lost to the worst team in the league at home.
That means it's time for the Panic Switch.
Jack: Everyone is panicking, John! The switch has been flipped!
Jake: They lost all momentum and I'm not really quite sure what they can do about it.
Pray at the altar of Schweinsteiger, who is definitely not staying next season.
Sean: A fluky goal that puts the Fire in a positive game-state would help.
James Bridget: Dragons? They work pretty well in this TV show I watch sometimes.
John: Do you mean Joey Calistri riding up from the south to reclaim his throne?
James Bridget: No. No, I do not.
John: His poaching ability would be a blessing right now with our sudden lack of a final touch.
Ruben: Are you talking about Hanzo and Genji?
James Bridget: You people are the worst nerds. (Don't ever change.)
Ruben: ryū ga waga teki o kurau!
John: Although I'm calling out doom with missing the playoffs, we still have a much better chance of staying in the playoffs than dropping out. But if we miss them, I think every fan should be calling for heads to roll. Pauno would be gone and quite possibly Nelson.
Seems drastic, but the rumors seem to be about locker room stuff and you need a coach who can control that space.
Mike Tooley: It's all over.
Ralph: Can I get you all off the ledge somehow?
Allow me time to create the plan
James Bridget: I wish you would step back from that ledge my frieeeeeeeend
John: "I've calculated your chance of survival, but I don't think you'll like it."
Ralph: At least the Red Stars won?
James Bridget: They played like shit and only barely scraped out a win against the worst team in the league.
I'll take the points all day long but... yikes.
Anyway, let's get back to the Fire.
Ralph: World Cup is in doubt. No way Chicago makes it out of the group stage.
James Bridget: We're going to get rolled by Croatia and it'll be a disaster.
Ralph: Damn Luka Modric.
James Bridget: Stupid Sexy Modric.
Ralph: Those beautiful locks...
You know who has great hair? Dax McCarty.
John: I thought it was Matt Fondy.
Ralph: Logan Pause had great hair. Loved the salt and pepper look
John: Then we'd have to talk Basti then.
Ralph: Go on. Tell me I'm wrong that Logan Pause had some of the best hair for the Fire in recent years.
James Bridget: Nah man it's all about Joao Meira. God damn that boy has good hair. Unf.
John: Calen Carr. Beat that.
US Open Cup winning Calen Carr.
Headband and all
James Bridget: But yes, Silver Fox Logan Pause was truly a gift, a light in this dark and broken world.
Ralph: Ante Razov. So black and shiny.
Maybe he's worth it or maybe he looks just that damn good.
John: I remember Stoitchkov had old school wolverine hair in FIFA 02 for some reason.
I may have to look that up. That may be as good as Kei Kamara's mohawk in FIFA 16.
So back on the rails: How does Chicago fix what is ailing them? Ready? Go!
John: "I have a million ideas, but, they all point to certain death."
James Bridget: You've used up your allotment of Douglass Adams quotes for today, sorry.
Jake: They get at least 2 defenders from the Vault.
Ruben: Rest, probably a meatloaf dinner. Netflix and chill.
Poster should be back next week. That should help
John: I think getting Vincent back would help more.
Ralph: Brandon Vincent is a treasure. Always have respect for a wing back that can get wide.
Jake: Were probably gonna get 5-0'd against Montreal too.
James Bridget: So, we've got 8 games left in the season.
At this point I'm even looking at DCU and thinking, "fuck, that's going to be a fight."
John: As I said at the top, this team that was one of the Supporter's Shield favorites back in June may drop out of the playoffs. And if that happens, there needs to be a massive change.
Jake: Every game is a trap game for the Fire.
James Bridget: We're all pretty down on things right now, but I think Ralph is sort of on to the right idea.
If you could pick out one reason for optimism, what would it be?
John: We should have quite a few of our IR players back about halfway through our last 8.
Goose, Vincent, Meira, DJ.
Sean: Yup, what Jigs said. Getting the starters back on defense should make a difference.
Jake: We finally saw Niko.
Ralph: Embrace the optimism!
Mike Tooley: It would seem to me like one of Columbus, FIRE, Red Bulls, Atlanta & Montreal are going to miss out on the playoffs. We just can't be the worst of those teams down the stretch now. Does that count as optimism?
John: Montreal is getting hot.
Mike: Yea, even despite their loss this weekend I always felt they were better than they showed early on.
For natural reasons the game this weekend is very important.
James Bridget: So let's wrap things up by talking about exactly that.
How are we feeling about the trip to Montreal?
Ralph: Minus Toronto, Montreal is firing on all cylinders. They can hurt you with Piatti, Mancosu, Dzemaili. If Lampson can't figure it out and quick it could be another long night for the Men in Red.
Jake: Fire get demolished again. Montreal held their own against Toronto. 2-1 loss.
Mike: Loss for me as well. I just can't picture how we get a result up there.
Sean: I’m going full optimist and saying we have a scoring draw in Quebec. 1-1? 2-2? But this is probably just me hoping I don’t have to continue to document an epic collapse game-story by game-story.
Ruben: No predictions from me, I already used the integer joke.
John: Fire lose and I don't get to see the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Everything will go wrong.
James Bridget: My predictions: Fire lose 3-1, the mouse in my apartment will still be alive, and Jigs will find the one bad poutine place in Montreal and things will go from bad to worse.
It's going to be a rough weekend, my friends.