James Bridget Gordon: Happy Monday, friends! The Fire beat DC United on Saturday 3-0. The result was exactly what we needed, and I would imagine that maybe we're edging away from the Panic Button.
But there's still some cause for concern. Of the three goals the Fire scored, one was an own goal and the other was a penalty. So, the stalled attack is still an issue. In his recap on Saturday, Sean called it one of the least convincing 3-0 wins he had ever seen.
What do you think? Was this 3-0 win over one of the worst teams in the league good enough for the Fire?
Ralph Schudel: It's hard to complain about three goal wins. I think this is exactly what the Fire need to get things rolling in a positive manner as they march toward the playoffs.
The own goal was obviously a gaffe by Harkes, but you have to work to earn a PK and you'll take any goal you can score. Good on the Fire for doing what they are supposed to. They needed a quality win.
Jack Kelly: I think the biggest thing to take away from this match is that the Fire were finally able to get a convincing win when they were short on depth. Conner looked good filling in for Schweinsteiger (and that's no easy task), and Campbell was the best player the Fire had on the pitch. Good to see that our bench is ready to step up to the plate with the playoffs looming.
Ruben Tisch: I was never on the panic button. This is the best season of Chicago Fire Soccer since Blanco left. As for not scoring, If Bill Hamid is almost any other keeper in the league, the Fire have at least 4 goals, maybe 5. DC United is bad, sure, but it was nice to see a performance like that. Especially when not fielding a full squad.
Ralph: There has been talk of Hamid leaving next season. I hate to think of what happens for DC if he does.
John Carollo III: Yeah, it's unconvincing, but you need to get these wins when you can, especially to help keep up morale. You need to win in order to win and this was just a "stage one" win. We beat a team the deserved to lose. That helps a team to step up and win in harder games.
Also, I was happy that Conner and Campbell started, because YAMS.
Jake Payne: That was actually a great win considering there were 3 rather major injuries to overcome. They showed before how injuries could wreck them but they didnt let it here. Plus anytime Niko scores is a good time.
James Bridget: How good is Brandon Vincent though?
Jake: That header was so hot.
James Bridget: Scored the only goal from open play and gave the Fire so much oomph going forward. It's really remarkable how much better this team is with him in it.
Mike Tooley: I almost lost it and fell down some stairs in the Harlem End when Vincent headed that in, it was a tasty goal. And I agree with Ralph, some of the saves Hamid made were really awesome. I can definitely see why Sean would call it unconvincing but I think it's great that they got a comfortable result.
John: Would you say he's... better than Jack Harrison?
James Bridget: Jigs, if you're going to steal my bit at least make an actual joke with it.
(But yes, he's better than Jack Harrison, obviously.)
John: I meant it in the way that I hate whenever someone brings up that we should've "kept" Jack Harrison.
Jake: But barely.
James Bridget: Oh shit, are we about to have a Brandon Vincent Isn't That Good, Actually take up in here?
Hold on let me get my heat-resistant gloves.
Jake: I'm just buying into a meme don't taze me please
James Bridget: Siiiiigh
<puts away taser>
So okay, the Fire bore slightly more of a resemblance to the team we saw before the All-Star Break. This despite some key absences, notably Basti. What do you think made the difference against DC? Why were the Fire able to pull themselves together like they did?
John: They kinda didn't put themselves back together. I'd like to see how we do next week against another bad team, but if that actually was us being put back together I think it's probably all about the defense.
Vincent on the left and Polster on the right seems to be all the difference we needed. Kap/Meira or Campbelhof doesn't matter, we need those two at fullback.
James Bridget: I do love a good portmanteau.
Ruben: Polster and Vincent make it so much harder for teams to attack down the flanks. Teams can't take advantage. It also makes it easier to play without a central playmaker, because they're playmakers are on the wings.
Jake: It’s so nice to have that back, obviously those two make such a HUGE difference. Hopefully they'll be able to be healthy too.
John: It's also important to note then: Polster didn't start until Basti was here and we started losing again the moment we lost Vincent.
Vincent started the season on the pitch, but Polster didn't come in until May against Colorado. We went on our massive winning streak, but were stopped the game that Polster came out at the 34th against Portland. We wouldn't start the next game with Vincent and began losing. Then both he and Polster return against Montreal and we haven't lost since.
The fullbacks are our keys. This is the first time they've been together since before the All-Star Break.
Ruben: I think the score line will be better, but Philly also have another good goalkeeper, so.
John: I think is going to be the real "litmus test" for the team. We should be beating DC at home, but that's something we could be doing with our eyes closed (said the same against MNU, but shh). This one will be on the road against a slightly better team. If we can just barely win, there might be a problem; but if we get another scoreline like this, I think we might actually be back in form.
So I'll bet on another 3-0, possibly just 2-0.
James Bridget: I'm going to say 2-1 Fire. We won't have it quite as easy but we should get a win.
Ruben: 5-1 Fire. Niko gets a brace.