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Roundtable: Winning Ugly

The Hot Time crew talks about the Fire’s win over San Jose, the Red Stars’ win over Washington, and the upcoming NWSL break

MLS: San Jose Earthquakes at Chicago Fire Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

James Bridget Gordon: Welcome back, everyone.

The Fire won! Huzzah! There’s a lot to talk about this game, but let’s start with the positives. What good stuff stood out for you on Saturday?

Ruben Tisch: Brant Bronico has done nothing but impress me since he started seeing minutes. His passing has been great, and I’m never nervous to see him with the ball at his feat.

James Bridget: Yeah seriously. Bronico was pretty close to getting our MOTM vote on Saturday.

Adnan Bašić: Him and Adams had so much energy in the middle of the park, which was great to see.

Also it seems like Katai is really starting to adapt to this team and this league. Although he played a few too many flair passes at the end of the contest.

James Bridget: I feel like Katai has a similar problem that Basti has (which Ruben brought up in his game recap), which is that they’re both trying to play Hero Ball.

Adnan: But instead Bronico gets one of the best assists I’ve seen in a while.

James Bridget: Truth.

Any other positives from the game beside the result?

Adnan: The cross from Solignac on the opening goal was really good as well. However he then missed that big chance to make it 3-0 and put the game away so swings in roundabouts.

James Bridget: Proving once again that all joy contains within it the seeds of sorrow.

Alright let’s move on to the Less Good stuff. Ruben wrote in the recap that the Fire won despite not playing particularly well. This lined up with Paunovic’s postgame comments. I agree with this assessment too, but I’m curious to hear if anyone has a different take.

Ruel Gutierrez Apostol: There was a lot of miscommunication on the pitch. Although that could be attributed to a stacked schedule.

James Bridget: It could, but I don’t think it is. That poor communication has been a Thing all season.

Adnan: It was def one of those games the fire had to survive at the end. They need to improve on taking the ball to the corner and wasting time.

Ruben: The problem is it shouldn’t have been. This is probably one of the worst teams in MLS history and the Fire barely scraped 3 points against them. It’s unacceptable.

James Bridget: So Pauno seemed pretty angry in those postgame comments, and was definitely not happy with how the team played (especially in the last 15-20 minutes). There’s some debate over whether he was mad at the whole team or if he was singling out Katai. How did you guys read that?

Ruben: It think the Katai bit was irrelevant. I think he just used that question to go off.

James Bridget: I think Ruben has a fair read but I’m just not sure. There’s been so much talk about Pauno and Katai not getting along, and I think him picking that question to go off is more meaningful than it appears on the surface.

Ruben: I think this is more a rift between NRod and Pauno, rather then Pauno vs any player. He was let down by management during the transfer window, and I think he wants the fanbase to know he’s as displeased as we are.

This has a very Ozzie Guillen vs Kenny Williams vibe.

James Bridget: That’s a very a good point.

Ok let’s do USOC predictions. I’m going with 2-1 Fire.

Ruben: As for the Open Cup, I don’t see the Fire advancing. This is going to be a one and done situation barring something bonkers. 2-1 Crew in extra time.

James Bridget: Fair. Any other predictions?

Adnan: Fire lose on pens. I expect a very similar game to the Cincy one from last season.

James Bridget: I think either way Wednesday is going to be a rough night.

Ok, shift change!

The Red Stars broke their winless streak! Yuki scored an amazing goal! Sam Kerr did some sweet dance moves!


Claire Watkins: For a game that probably shouldn’t have been played at all, it definitely went well for Chicago.

James Bridget: Strong Agree.

I mean I get why they decided to wait out the storms, there’s only so much money in this league and the costs & logistics of having to do this game over later in the season are tricky. Buuuuuuuuuuuut still.

Claire: I’m very glad no one got hurt.

James Bridget: For real.

Sandra Herrera: Yuki Nagasato is a Red Star Deity.

Claire: She really is.

James Bridget: Truth

Sandra: I dgaf @ me if y’all want to.

James Bridget: I WILL @ YOU AND SAY yeah no you’re totally right.

Claire: I hope she stays here forever.

James Bridget: Besides the weather though, I also feel like Washington didn’t exactly set themselves up for success. That lineup was... weird.

Claire: Yeah, none of the games this weekend were gonna be banner days for anybody, but to paraphrase Jim Gabarra, Washington looked particularly inept.

James Bridget: This weekend definitely had the feel of school on the Tuesday or Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Everyone just waiting for the bell.

Sandra: A lil break before the break. Was pretty surprised that Bledsoe wasn’t in net for the Spirit, thought she has done well for the this year.

But the One True GK we need to chat about is the rookie keeper Emily Boyd.

James Bridget: She was so good.

Sandra: Sam Johnson was out, so she came thru with the crunch.

My bad, Hashtag Crunch. Not trying to be disrespectful.

James Bridget: We’re all friends here.

Sandra: 5 hour delay? Np. Monsoon? Np. Terrible pitch conditions? Np. 2017 Rookie of the Year Ashley Hatch coming at you in the final minutes? NP.

James Bridget: So real talk: how much are the Red Stars going to benefit from the international break? Will the fresh legs make a huge difference? Or are they going to run into basically the same problems in two weeks?

Claire: I think the person it’s going to help the most is Sam Kerr, which is very exciting to me. She’s only led her team through World Cup qualifying, caught a red eye from Jordan and scored five goals for club already. She’s gotta be exhausted.

Sandra: Echo the same sentiment. Shout out to Kerr for getting back to Chicago and still putting together performances on the pitch and scoring goals. I’d imagine the break will be good for most on the squad in general, especially those still working their way back in from injuries.

Do I think they will still run into similar problems? Maybe. We’ve seen some moments of frustration for players like Ertz and Kerr as they’ve settled in. We will see how Short and DiBernardo do since they are now on the active roster.

My hope is that DiBernardo’s familiarity with Kerr and Mautz and Stanton from playing in W-League for Perth Glory will help expedite the process of Tryin-to-Taka to literal Tiki-Taka.

Claire: Agreed.

I also really hope our USWNT players walk away from these friendlies intact

Sandra: For the love all things soccer, yes, plz.

Claire: I’m hoping wild best case scenario Ertz uses them to get her groove back

Sandra: I’m just excited the Rainbow Pride jerseys are back.

James Bridget: Honk If U Love Gay Soccer Shit

Sandra: Honk honk

Both excited for the break and excited to get back to Toyota Park to see the Red Stars take on the Thorns when they get back.

Claire: That’s gonna be a hell of a match.

Sandra: Lifetime primetime baybee... plz plz plz no weather delays.