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Roundtable: Is This Who We Are?

The Hot Time crew discusses Columbus, Houston, and team identities

MLS: Chicago Fire at Columbus Crew SC Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

James Bridget Gordon: Happy Monday, all. Before we get started, I wanted to give one last nod to Sean, who stepped down as EIC at Hot Time last week. Thank you for making HTIOT what it is today. We won’t let you down, Boss.

Alright, so the Fire got spanked by Columbus on Saturday. There’s a lot of wreckage to pick through but I want to try and start on a positive note, if possible. What did you all see during the game that you thought was encouraging?

Adnan Bašić: Thanks again for everything Sean. Uhhh the one thing I will say is that the game looked even until the two boneheaded mistakes made by the Fire (Ellis lazy pen and the Campbell turnover) blew the game wide open.

James Bridget: I feel like you have to be reaaaaally careful around Zardes in the box. Ellis obviously wasn’t.

Adnan: Hopefully Polster will be able to return on Saturday since he’s already back in training.

James Bridget: Also hopefully Dax’s hammy isn’t an actual issue right now. Last thing we need is to get Polster back and lose Dax.

Anyone else here see any signs of hope?

Adnan: We’re still not officially eliminated from playoff contention?

Saul Garcia: Yes and no. I think we knew Basti would be important for playoff hopes, so a lackluster performance is not shocking. Maybe Pauno should develop a more planned out rest schedule for him.

However I do agree with starting Bastian vs Montreal and resting him against Columbus, instead of the other way around.

Ruel Gutierrez Apostol: Hello from Japan y’all.

Finally got to see some highlights of the Chicago/Columbus game. Like what Adnan said above it looked like the game was even but of course Fire gonna Fire.

Bless Ellis for this contributions lately, but we really do need Polster back.

Saul: Have fun in Japan, RJ. Polster and Lillard can turn this defense around.

James Bridget: Hope you’re having a blast RJ!

So how are we feeling ahead of Houston?

Saul: I think we can pull a result out, and a returning Basti, win for the fire.

Ruben: I saw the first 15 minutes and the last 15 minutes. My prognosis against Houston is “Not Good.”

James Bridget: I’m going to say a draw (1-1 or 2-2, nothing too crazy) or a scrappy win. The Fire will have eight days’ rest, Houston’s on about the same form as we are (we’re both 2-2-2 heading into next weekend), and it’s at home. I like our chances, but I’m not expecting fireworks.

Alright, shift change!

The Red Stars drew 2-2 against the Dash on Saturday. Houston had a bit of momentum coming into that game, but even so, we probably should’ve won it.

I really liked what Claire had to say in her recap about how being set up to scam points could maybe be a problem in games where they need to dominate. Do we think this Red Stars squad is capable of taking charge of games? Or is scamming just our thing for the time being?

Claire Watkins: I think, like the Orlando game, that a team with a solid game plan can work against the Red Stars right now, and they have to figure out how to make the game theirs.

But I also have been drinking around the world at Epcot all day so I’d respond to my take with a healthy grain of salt.

James Bridget: I mean that’s pretty cogent.

Claire: I also think it’d be a disappointment if they use the North Carolina blueprint to draw the Reign this week. They’ve gotta shoot higher, cuz the pieces are coming back. No excuses.

James Bridget: I’m inclined to agree. I think this team is good enough to take games by the scruff of the neck. Scamming is good when needed but there’s something to be said for taking opponents out to the woodshed.

Claire: They’ve lost very few games this season, but have won as few to match, and you can’t make the playoffs like that.

Sandra Herrera: I know when we were discussing initial first reactions, I was left with a bit of a mixed bag of - ok, this team is capable of turning it on any second now - and then - Welp, they keep ~getting players back, and have to integrate so is this really going to be who they are this season?

No, this isn’t a result that is going to make or break your season, but it does leave you with as many questions (if not more) as before.

Claire: I think maybe the next step is to Beat a Good Team.

Sandra: Seattle, What’s Good?

Claire: Gilliland’s likely to be the player tasked with tracking Megan Rapinoe, and we gotta hope she does a better job of that than she did with Mal Pugh a few weeks ago. Time’s a healer though, and every week I do believe this team can get better.

Sandra: Shout to last season when a top form 2017 Megan Rapinoe was shut down by Taylor Comeau. But 2018 is clearly the season of scam, so who knows how the line up will look come Saturday. Especially with Gilliland getting that assist up top on Kerr’s 1st goal at Toyota Park.

Claire: Chicago can beat Seattle any day of the week, they just gotta believe it themselves.

Sandra: Additional Shout to those 2 PK’s Rapinoe got against Chicago last season, too lol

Claire: Wow I am still mad about that! Club Rapinoe at her most aggravating.

Sandra: Putting in work like it’s nothing, lol

Chicago tends to bring their fight when they play these types of teams, so hopefully everyone gets treated to A Good Game.

Claire: Agreed. It’ll be a fun one to watch no matter what.