Oh hey, there’s a Fire game Saturday! I know, I’m surprised too. But this week it’s kind of understandable as we face up against a really unremarkable team. And it’s also understandable after that draw that didn’t feel like a draw at all. The question between fans was whether that game was an accomplishment, but according to players, they felt it was. So if I’m going to say anything about where the team is, I have to defer to the team. Maybe they’ll feel some sort of momentum moving forward, but it doesn’t even look like we need any against this team.
Does this sound familiar? A hapless Eastern Conference team very much in the Wooden Spoon race is only being held together by fluky goals and a goalkeeper that belongs on the USMNT but isn’t getting the respect he deserves. DC United is the spitting image of where we’ve been for the past 7 years. Maybe I say that about every terrible team we come up against, but maybe I just see faces in planks of wood. What I’m getting at here is this is literally the Fire facing the demons of their past. Here’s some clips of their last three:
Vs. Atlanta 8/23
Vs. NE 8/26
Vs. Orlando 9/9
The Fire is going into this game against what’s basically a mirror version of what they’d look like if we still had Frank Yallop coaching us (yes, offense to Ben Olsen). And as we see from the past few games, DC has somehow found a way to beat a streaking Atlanta team and New England, meaning they beat New England on an average of 9-0, but the point being that they do have the capability to upset. We saw in the past the terrible Fire squads took down powerful Dallas teams, so the question to really look at is “will DC be another trap game like Minnesota”. Let’s hope that’s a no.
So I said this in the general outline, but one of the biggest things holding this DC team together is Sean Johnson’s perennial rival, Bill Hamid. They both came into the league around the same time, have very similar standing in the USMNT setup, and have dealt with the same terrible team their entire career (until Sean went to NYCFC). Where this is going is that he also has the same amazing shot stopping ability and has kept DC in so many games this season. The man plays out of his mind most of the time and we need to work hard to find the best way around him. It won’t be easy.
In The Books
So we’re going to be missing Michael De Leuuw for this game due to yellow card accumulation. While I could talk about the impact of his absence, I’d actually like to talk about the yellow cards themselves. You see, Chicago is a city known for being hard-nosed in its style of play, from the Monsters of the Midway to even Fire legends like Sega, Kovalenko, and Whitfield. Of course, you don’t want your team to be without you, but it seems just a little weird to have “the best disciplined team” come from Chicago. It kind of makes you feel like there’s a little less passion in the play, but maybe that’s just me.
How To Watch
Kickoff: Saturday September 16th, 7:30PM CDT at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, IL
TV/Streaming: CSN-Chicago, MLS Live
So where do you see this game going? Will the Fire keep standing or will DC pull off another annoying upset? Tell us in the comments.