Another week, another loss for the Men in Red.
The Chicago Fire have lacked that finishing touch, and other than Nemanja Nikolic this is a team that lacks bite. They’re in the lower third of goals scored with seven this campaign, and Niko accounts for four of those.
It’s no surprise fans are concerned with the performance of the team this season. And now the players are echoing those concerns.
Speaking to reporters after the game, midfielder and captain Dax McCarty let loose in comments that were pointedly critical of his teammates.
We’re below average right now and the results speak to that. It’s not easy times right now, we’re just lacking a little bit of quality all over the field. That’s the brutal honest truth. You have to be honest with yourself. When you reflect on teams and on games, you have to be honest and say that we’ve been second-best most of the season.
Dax went on to add that the only way they win is with all 11 players playing well, and that if one or two struggle they tend to come up short.
That’s a striking assessment.
Plenty of MLS teams have players that can change the game, from Josef Martinez and Miguel Almiron in Atlanta, to Carlos Vela at LAFC, to Zlatan. Even Minnesota United, struggling as they are, have new signing Darwin Quintero. By and large, most MLS teams are serious about competing this season, and have added true difference-makers to their rosters in order to further those ambitions.
Meanwhile, the Fire sent David Accam to Philadelphia and, MLS Funny Money notwithstanding, did not receive adequate compensation for it. Aleksander Katai may come good down the line, but even a generous assessment of his early performances for Chicago would mark him as a work in progress.
Whether Dax was aiming his criticism at his teammates, his head coach, or the front office remains unclear. But he’s not exactly wrong here— the Fire simply don’t have the pieces they need to compete.
I’d want to end this saying it will get better, but with this team that’s not always the case. All we can do us hope they make some moves soon— the league transfer window closes May 1— or after the World Cup. Because what we have is not working.