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Roundtable: Pain Scales

The Hot Time crew discusses a rough week for the Fire, a physical clash with Seattle, and more

MLS: Chicago Fire at FC Dallas Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

James Bridget Gordon: Haaaaaaaappy Monday all.

We have two Fire games two get through so I’ll start big-picture. On a scale of 1-10, how deep is your despair right now?

Adnan Bašić: Considering how bad the Philly game went as well, I’m at an 8.

I’m still holding out some hope for when the injured players return but there might not be enough time.

James Bridget: Yeah, even if you call Dallas a wash-- and I’m not sure I can, we should’ve done much better even with the B-Team-- the Philadelphia game was just shameful. I’m at a 9.

Adnan: Especially the way it went down. There’s no way to easily rebound from conceding against a former teammate in the final minute after equalizing right before. Our defense is woeful, and our attack is become more and more of “just hope Katai creates something.”

Ruben Tisch: I’m at about a 7 and a half. The defense is so poor, I don’t even want to talk about it. Combine that with the off field nonsense, and there’s not really much to be happy about at the moment.

Adnan: But hey we’ve found our defensive savior from the Honduran league

James Bridget: Wooooooooooooo

I guess what gets me down is the feeling that a lot of the Fire’s problems are fixable but that the people in decision-making capacities aren’t going to fix anything. Either they’ve misdiagnosed a problem, or they don’t see it as a problem, or the solutions they come up with won’t work.

Adnan: Or they’ve realized it’s a problem but can’t be bothered to put in the time and money required to fix it

James Bridget: Yeah, like they see a problem and know exactly how to fix it and they just... won’t.

Ruel Gutierrez Apostol: Off the field stuff, I’m at a ten. The team itself, I’m at a five.

I’m hoping to be proved wrong by Nicolas. Hoping he will help stabilize the back. But I seriously think he’s gonna be the Argentine Big Dave.

James Bridget: I’d feel better about the Del Grecco signing if there was any insight into why the Fire made this move. Like, what was the scouting process, what did they see that made them think the move was worthwhile. But they haven’t really offered any reason why they thought this was a good signing.

The best case scenario is that they have reasons but they aren’t sharing them because they just don’t think they owe the fans or the media an explanation. The worst case scenario is that they don’t actually have good reasons.

Adnan: “Hey look we signed someone. He might be cheap and a bit rubbish, but at least we signed someone, which proves we are definitely trying.”

James Bridget: In happier news, Brandt Bronico did a thing!

Let’s stave off despair for a few minutes by talking about Brandt Bronico and how great he is.

Ruben: He’s good. He’ll be a great replacement for Dax when he inevitably decides to move on.

James Bridget: For sure, yeah. I think a midfield trio of Bronico-Adams-MdL could be pretty solid. Or even Bronico-Adams-Polster.

Ruben: Bronico-Adams-Mihailovic?

James Bridget: I need to see a bit more from Mihailovic to say, but sure, conceivably.

Adnan: If Djordje can be as good as he was before the injury then this midfield will be stacked.

Ruben: I still feel like Djordje could be the #10 we’re asking for eventually.

Adnan: I think his future lies as more of an #8 but he’s still got plenty of time to develop. At least we know we have backups in case Bastian and Dax need a rest.

Ruben: Well... Saturday says otherwise.

James Bridget: Well and I think it’s time to consider what this team will look like in 2019 sans Basti and Dax. Assuming no new rockstar players come in, can the kids make it work.

Obviously on the evidence from Saturday the answer is a strong “ehhhhhhhhh,” but there’s still time to work out some rust.

Ruben: True.

Adnan: Although Saturday did see Tchani still get a place in the team. Which is close to insanity at this point.

James Bridget: I don’t think it was totally unreasonable to give him another shot after having a good game against Vancouver. Plus, Saturday was an all-bench roster, so they sort of had to pick him anyway. I think we’re just stuck with him until the off-season.

Ruben: Tony Tchani playing long minutes shows a either a fundamental misunderstanding of his role, other how badly put together this roster is. Maybe both.

James Bridget: So, ok. Open Cup this week. Does the season depend on this game?

Ruben: I think that’s a fair assessment.

Adnan: If the Fire lose then it’s full on crisis mode. So in that case, yes.

James Bridget: Shall we do predictions?

Adnan: I do think they get the job done, if only to postpone the sadness. 3-1 victory on the night, but lose to DC in the semis.

Ruben: Fire on penalties.

Adnan: If Louisville takes us to penalties then we should just let them win.

James Bridget: Yeah I feel like just winning here isn’t enough. We have to win decisively. I’m going to say 2-0 Fires. But I’m also a bit anxious about the whole thing.

Alright, shift change!

The Seattle game was, uh, certainly something.

Claire Watkins: I got a headache just watching that game.

James Bridget: I didn’t get to see most of it because of Fire gameday coverage but I peeked at Twitter throughout the evening and things sounded Bad.

Claire: I don’t think anyone ended up as hurt as they looked but Chicago did have to make some, um, inopportune subs throughout.

James Bridget: I distinctly remember thinking as I saw some of the Twitter updates that if the injuries were as bad as they sounded that this might be it for the Red Stars this season.

Adriana Hooper: Those injuries certainly looked as bad as I feared when I went back and watched the game in full. I’m glad they don’t seem to be as bad as that initial heart stop moment. Tbh I was a bit disappointed in Seattle’s play and also obviously frustrated in watching my second very poorly officiated game of the day.

Claire: They’ve got a week off now though, so hopefully everyone will have time to rest up and be ready to go without Kerr and the USWNT players a week from Saturday.

James Bridget: Yuki retired from Japan, yeah?

Claire: I definitely would not anticipate her not being there for the Sky Blue game. Though stranger things have happened I guess.

Adriana: Yea rest is much needed. I don’t think Yuki retired. I just don’t think she’s been called in for a while. Although I’m not sure.

Claire: Ah, just looked up the Nadeshiko roster for the Tournament of Nations. Yuki will definitely still be with CRS for the break.

Adriana: That’ll be a boost for sure in this break. (In which I wish all players were playing this week but alas, nothing we can do lol.)

James Bridget: Imagine the NWSL actually observing the international break in full.

Adriana: Don’t speak of such sorcery.

Technically, NWSL teams can refuse to let any players not allocated USWNT go early but the NWSL has never followed that before so they’ve kind of set themselves for that. Although I don’t think any should be allowed to go early but that paid by USSF comes into play.

Claire: The good news at least is that Chicago isn’t playing that weekend in question, so the only game they take a hit on is one they agreed to at the beginning of the season. Not a coincidence it’s against Sky Blue.

Adriana: Ah that’s right. They only play the midweek game.

Claire: Not even midweek! (I only exclaim because I just realized this myself)

The Red Stars have a full week off, and then have the game against New Jersey the following Saturday. And if I’m honest with the way the game against the Reign went, I’m happy that week off is one earlier than the rest of the league.

lol and this is a time to cherish, since after Sky Blue begins the hell gauntlet that is Chicago’s end of the regular season.

Adriana: Oh shoot. Well dang, yea that’s still a nice long break then for them comparatively. Yea Chicago has a pretty brutal end of season to wrap up. And the Seattle game was so physical even against Sky Blue you’ve got to be ready and rest those knocks they may have picked up.

Claire: It’d be great to get a follow-up on Gilliland and Colaprico in particular, but we probably won’t have a great idea of how they’re feeling until the injury report comes out.

Do y’all think Casey Short goes back to USWNT camp this week?

James Bridget: As a Red Stars fan, I hope she doesn’t. As a USWNT fan looking at some of their remaining fullback options... kinda, yeah.

Adriana: Very true. It seems they’re “feeling” ok but no real IR update yet.

And I think Casey is going. It’s the first time Ellis has a possible opportunity to “see” her (her words lol,) in a while. So they’ll probably call her up to evaluate but I can almost guarantee she is playing. I imagine the call-up will see Naeher, Short, and Ertz. Don’t think there will be any others US-wise.

Claire: I think Moe Brian too, but yeah past them I agree.

Adriana: Oops forgot her. Yes her too.

Also wouldn’t be shocked to see all but Brian get significant minutes too. So that first week back after the 3 matches is going to be a bit brutal

Claire: I at least try to remind myself that Short’s injury was a freak thing mid-game, so she’s hopefully in less danger from camp alone.

Adriana: Very true and she was taken out and benched fairly soon after it. So less about where she was and more just about how it happened.