We here at Hot Time have been asking this question a lot lately:
Is the season over?
For the Well Actually literalists out there, we’re aware that the season doesn’t technically end until October 28th. But in the abstract sense? The sense that the Fire have something meaningful to play for? That is more likely to come well before the last MLS game of 2018 is played.
The Fire are still mathematically in the playoff chase, but even a cursory eyeball test of this squad will tell you that we’re not postseason material. We’re still in the Open Cup, but the upcoming semifinal tie in Philadelphia isn’t exactly inspiring confidence. We can tank for draft picks, but as the Jon Bakero saga reminded us, the Fire organization don’t really know what to do with young players. And if you can make a credible argument that the Fire can still play for pride, you are a pure and good cinnamon roll and should be protected at all costs.
It’s not just that the Fire are losing games. They’re dropping points to bad teams. Minnesota United, despondent as they have been this season, picked up one of their few wins of the season against us. Colorado were on a lengthy losing streak before we came to town and they ground out a draw. Toronto, defending MLS Cup champions but having fallen very far from grace, seemed like an easy win last night; even here, the Fire could not pull it together.
We now have to face Toronto again, this time on their own turf. If you can find reasons for hope in this game, or indeed the rest of the season, please share with us. Our well is dry.
Chicago Fire away MLS record vs Toronto FC: 4W-4D-7L, 26 GF / 30 GA, 16 pts out of 45
Before last weekend Toronto were on a lengthy winless streak in the league. They finally broke that streak... against us. They’re still bad, but they are probably better than us, and we might be giving them the confidence building they need to kick on. Cool. Cool cool cool.
Sanchez; Corrales, Campbell, Kappelhof, Vincent; Schweinsteiger, McCarty, Bronico; Katai, Edwards, Nikolic
Might as well let Edwards keep it up, if he’s able to. Also lowkey hoping this is the game when MdL makes his big comeback (likely off the bench, if it happens at all).
Keys To The Match
Primera Gol: Just gonna keep throwing this out there. Score first. Score first score first score first.
For Real This Time, Stop Osorio: I wrote last week that the Fire’s biggest job is figuring out how to shut down Jonathan Osorio. They, uh, did not do that, and Osorio added to his goal tally against us. I realize that asking this Fire team to learn from their mistakes is a bit much to ask for this season, but they really do need to figure this one out.
Don’t Panic: For much of this season (and likely further back) the Fire have been their own worst enemies. With that in mind, it’d be easy for this squad to psych themselves out tomorrow owing to the loss last weekend at home and their poor record on the year. Someone in that dressing room is going to have to deliver a pretty rousing speech to get them out of their funk.
How To Watch
Can the Fire pull it together up north? Let us know in the comments below!