Are we past the point of no return?
Mathematically, no. Seattle were awful for most of 2016, started turning things around in July, and went on to win the MLS Cup. Strictly speaking, we’re not out of it just yet.
But can you see a way forward? Because I’m not.
The Chicago Fire are quickly coming up on a fork in the road. Either they need to do something drastic to turn their fortunes around, or they’ve got to start thinking about next season. Playing the kids now, looking toward next year’s draft picks.
But we’re not there yet. The San Jose Earthquakes come into town with some major problems, and a poor record, of their own. The Fire have every opportunity to make a meal of the Quakes tomorrow. Whether or not they do is another story altogether.
Chicago Fire all-time MLS record vs San Jose Earthquakes: 15-11-10, 54 GF / 43 GA, 56 pts out of 108
Chicago Fire home MLS record vs San Jose Earthquakes: 9-6-2, 31 GF / 17 GA, 33 pts out of 51
That’s one point from their last three games. Four points from their last five games. If there’s any reason for optimism heading into tomorrow, it’s because the Quakes are awful right now.
McLain; Vincent, Lillard, Kappelhof, Ramos; Schweinsteiger, Adams, Bronico; Campos, Katai, Solignac
I’m changing the name of this section to Suggested Lineup. Because I’m done trying to guess what Pauno’s going to do every week. And as Wednesday night showed, his change-ups are dubious at best.
So this is what I’d do if I had to pick the team. McLain keeps his spot in goal. Ramos for Ellis. Basit-Mo-Bronico in the midfield. Katai as a 10 (or maybe a False 9) to take advantage of San Jose’s weaknesses in Zone 14. Solignac gets a starting nod.
I don’t know if this lineup could win, but it couldn’t do much worse than Wednesday in Philly.
Keys To The Match
Get In The Zone (Autozone): As a number of folks have pointed out, the Quakes have some real problems defending in Zone 14. It’s the kind of thing that makes San Jose ripe for the taking. Whether the Fire take advantage of this is another story. But if they’re interested in maybe winning this thing, that’d be a good place to start.
Let’s Get Physical: San Jose’s attack is decidedly meh. Their best weapon is still somehow Chris Wondolowski, who is old as shit and isn’t as productive as his cult following likes to say he is. (I’m not sure what it is about old, awful strikers who used to play for San Jose that gets them such loud stans defending them. Maybe they see themselves reflected in the dumpster?) A strong physical game from the Fire’s backline could probably keep the Quakes off the scoresheet. The best thing the central defenders could do to prep for tomorrow’s game— go play some bumper cars.
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD SOMEBODY SCORE: That’s it, basically.
How To Watch
Will the Fire manage to rehabilitate their home record? Let us know in the comments below!