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Minnesota United 2, Chicago Fire 1: First Thoughts

The Men In Red post a meek surrender against an eminently beatable team

MLS: Chicago Fire at Minnesota United FC Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota United 2 Ibson 55’, Nicholson 66’

Chicago Fire 1 Collier 59’

  • Lineups are here!
  • Pregame thought 1: Not gonna lie, I’m feeling pretty dubious about this lineup. I know they had to make do with some key absences (Polster has a knee sprain and Basti’s about to become a dad) but wooooof.
  • Pregame thought 2: OTOH, it’s good to see some youts and fringe players get a shot. Really excited to see what Collier can do.
  • Let’s goooooooooooooooooooooooo
  • I’m glad MNUFC are going to have their own stadium in a few years. Playing on a college football field is discombobulating to watch.
  • Good news: In theory the Fire will be intimately familiar with Lampson’s weaknesses and should theoretically be able to exploit them. Bad news: enough Fire players in the lineup today weren’t on the roster last year, or were but didn’t play regularly, that it might not actually be possible after all.
  • Oh neat, Solignac brought down in the box and there’s no call. Cooooooooool.
  • (Ok on replay it didn’t look that clear cut.)
  • So we’re 20 minutes in and Minnesota are putting a lot of pressure on our backline. This won’t end well.
  • For reasons I cannot understand, Sanchez came way out of the box to try and challenge an attacker and ended up being stranded with a cross incoming. The only reason we’re not down 1-0 right now is because this is MNUFC. Un-fucking-acceptable from Sanchez there.
  • But hey, at least Katai’s looking good. His shooting sucks but his movement is <chef’s kiss emoji>
  • Update: things could be better!!
  • Some good ideas on service to Niko but it’s not quite coming together.
  • Halftime!
  • Halftime thought 1: A lot of the same problems from last week are back. Questionable GK + backline decision-making, a lack of sharpness up front, and a team shape that looks decidedly un-geometric. The only reason we’re not losing right now is because it’s Minnesota United.
  • Halftime thought 2: I’m not sure how they can fix this in the second half. Maybe they can’t.
  • Second half is underway!
  • MNUFC doing a good job holding the ball in the opening few minutes of the half. They’re not doing a whole lot with it, but they’re keeping it away from the Fire.
  • Hahaha as soon as I type that Tyrone Mears is played through on goal and Sanchez has to scramble to save it.
  • GOAL 55’ All the pressure MNUFC had been piling on Sanchez and the backline finally paid off. Ibson capitalizes on ball-watching and bad positioning. 1-0 MNUFC lead.
  • Too many Fire players were in a position to kill that attack and stop the goal and didn’t. I don’t know how you fix this.
  • Game got quiet again, but at least we ruined the shut-outs for each other. Or, something.
  • GOAL 66’ Oh look, another ball that should’ve been easily dealt with turns into a goal. Sam Nicholson with the header, but let’s be honest, I could’ve scored in that position. 2-1 MNUFC.
  • HOT TAKE: Maybe you shouldn’t play Brandon Vincent as a centerback. Just my opinion!!
  • Almost 3-1 there. Nicholson’s close-range shot goes over the bar. Ugh.
  • Remember last season when the Fire were good? When a draw against weaker opposition wasn’t the best we could hope for? That was nice.
  • Katai comes off for Daniel Johnson. I don’t know how to interpret that move except as a white flag.
  • Gonna start a band called Tears For Mears.
  • Alan Gordon, noted homophobic slur enthusiast, has checked into the game. He replaces Solignac.
  • MNUFC are getting a lot of play from the right and the Fire are hanging on mostly through dumb luck. This is dismal.
  • Drew Conner replaces Rafael Ramos.
  • Vincent, currently trying out his striker impersonation, nearly gets a header past Lampson.
  • Four minutes of stoppage time. The Fire are trying to squeeze blood from a stone here, but it’s too little too late.
  • Stay in your goddamn box, Sanchez.
  • Peep! Peep! Peeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep! Final score: MNUFC 2-1 CF97
  • Final Whistle Thought: 2017 is looking more and more like a fluke.

Stay tuned for more postgame coverage and a full recap here on Hot Time In Old Town. In the meantime, join the conversation in the comments or on social media.