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Roundtable: Wailing, Gnashing Of Teeth, Etc.

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The Despair Scale is being pushed to the limit here at Hot Time headquarters

MLS: Chicago Fire at Toronto FC Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

James Bridget Gordon: Happy Monday, y’all.

Let’s start with the Despair Scale check-in. I’m still at a 9, but at this point I’m basically saving my 10 for something truly awful.

Ruben Tisch: I’ve gone down the despair drain. After watching teams with superstars take over games that are not the Fire, I’m at a 10.

James Bridget: Oof

Adnan Bašić: I’m at the point where I need to ask if I’m allowed to go over 10. That bad

Ruben: Like, did you see what Zlatan did yesterday? He singlehandedly beat Orlando.

Adnan: I’d like one of those “star players” please.

James Bridget: We have one, his name is Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Adnan: And while I’m here can I get a “competent head coach.” And lastly one “owner who isn’t trying to get rid of all our fans.”

Ruben: Bastian Schweinsteiger can not 1 VS 11 the way Zlatan can. He’s not a goalscorer.

Adnan: And he’s not nearly as tall either.

James Bridget: That’s fine, but then we have to be clear on our terms here. You don’t want a “star player.” You want Zlatan.

Adnan: “Star player” was the wrong term to be fair. More like a match winner who can win a game singlehandedly. But those are only players who can play further up the pitch. Katai is brilliant but he’s not quite at that level just yet. But there are also much more pressing needs that have to be addressed first.

Ruben: Goalkeeper, yeah.

James Bridget: I guess my Unpopular Opinion is that I don’t want a player who can win a game by himself. Soccer is a team sport. I’d rather have a strong team than our current weak shit plus Zlatan. If for no other reason than we won’t go down the tubes if he misses a game through injury. Or, you know, gets suspended because he says the MLS All-Star Game is beneath him and refuses to play.

Ruben: The MLS All Star game is bad and everyone should refuse to play in it.

Adnan: I’m still peeved about how expensive tickets were last year

Ruben: And yes, a good team is a must, but you also need game changers to win championships.

James Bridget: I agree! But there’s “gamechanger” and then there’s “can win a game by themselves.” Very few people can do that. Zlatan can’t even do that most of the time. Let’s not forget that other than Orlando this weekend and that game against LAFC earlier this season, Zlatan’s performances with the Galaxy have mostly ranged from Okay to Good But Not Great.

Ruben: That’s fair. But we’re talking about feelings, not reality. The reality is Brandon Vincent is not a centerback.

James Bridget: Brandon Vincent is not a centerback!! And like. Him playing as a centerback has cost us points. Many points. But Pauno keeps doing the thing!

Ruben: The problem is I think he’s our best option. Christian Dean is no damn good, Jonathan Campbell has had issues this year.

James Bridget: Campbell having issues is still better than Vincent played out of position.

We also have Grant Lillard. And that new guy, the one who played in Argentine rec leagues or whatever.

Ruben: Is Grant Lillard healthy?

James Bridget: He’s currently injured, but before that happened he was just not being picked.

Ruben: Have a feeling he’s the new Hunter Jumper, hopefully without all the problematic things about Hunter Jumper.

James Bridget: Nah, he’s not Hunter Jumper. He’s Austin Berry.

Ruben: I think he might be a better soccer player then Berry.

Adnan: It might be me just being a member of the Grant Lillard bandwagon, but I still think he can be the clubs starting CB for the next decade if healthy. I’ve got high hopes for him.

I’ve given up on Campbell at this point and would still rather see Vincent at CB than him. Or even Ellis.

James Bridget: At this point I’m surprised Pauno hasn’t played Katai at CB. Though I’m sure that’s coming.

Adnan: I think Bastian was playing CB early on against Toronto, but I could be wrong. We might have to see him back there relatively soon.

James Bridget: He’s been dropping back as a third CB or sweeper all season.

Ruben: Last year too.

James Bridget: We haven’t even really broken the game down lol

Although honestly there’s not a lot to say. The Fire were Bad. They were Bad in all the same ways they’ve been bad all season and there’s no real sign things are going to get better.

Ruben: Yep. Some good moments going forward completely nullified by whatever that was at the back.

James Bridget: Indeed.

So I’m feeling like Pauno’s going to send out another B-Team against RSL in order to keep his stars fresh for the USOC semifinal.

Ruben: It’s probably a good idea.

James Bridget: It does make sense. I just... I can’t shake the feeling that the Fire are going to crap the bed in the Cup. And we’ll have tanked those league games for nothing.

Alright let’s do predictions for next weekend. I’m going with wailing, gnashing of teeth, and 3-1 RSL.

Adnan: We’re gonna lose against RSL, and then lose against Philly, and then probably lose every game for the rest of the season and reclaim the wooden spoon. Hopefully Cleveland gets a chance against RSL at least. Screw it I’ll say 5-0 RSL cause that’s just the way it’s been going.

James Bridget: Ruben you got anything for us?

Ruben: No.

James Bridget: We’re a bright and happy bunch around here.

Alright, shift change!

Wow, what a game on Saturday! Double hat trick from Yuki! Emily Boyd with the spectacular scorpion kick! Dani Colaprico calling down a thunderstorm to break up a counterattack! This game truly had it all.

Claire Watkins: I’m annoyed, JB

James Bridget: Yeah. The short-notice cancellation was total bullshit.

Ruben: How was it a postponement and not a forfeit?

Claire: No idea, but there’s no reason to play this game. Certainly not on September 4th.

Ruben: It would be Sky Blue, too.

Claire: Lol no one is surprised, but everyone is definitely disappointed.

James Bridget: Disappointed But Not Surprised: The Sky Blue FC Story

Anyway as Claire has pointed out the Red Stars basically have a month-long layoff and then have to play North Carolina. So that’s going to be fun.

Ruben: Do you think vigorous napping and escape rooms could help?

James Bridget: It would definitely help me.

So, uh. How about that Tournament of Nations! It is definitely a tournament. With nations.

Ruben: #BrandedFriendlies

Claire: It’s alright! Could be worse.

Naeher’s getting all three starts in goal, which seems to be a point of contention.

James Bridget: I’ve noticed that the tone of that criticism has turned pretty sharply from Give Other GKs A Chance to, like, openly resenting Naeher.

Adriana Hooper: I’m of the belief that USSF has made a mistake in goal once again and created a Solo situation but now that they’ve settled on their keeper, she has to get her reps in. The time to build your backups was the last 2 years and they didn’t. Now is not the time to do so and Naeher is #1.

Do I think they could handle her say not starting the games against Chile next month? For sure and honestly someone else should just for the sake of developing a backup plan. But the vitriol in general is too much from all sides for me. Like I will never quite understand openly hating players because they aren’t your pick. But that’s a whole other conversation.

Claire: I agree AHop - I think only playing one keeper is a bad idea. I also think Naeher is a perfectly good goalkeeper.

Adriana: Yep, I agree on both statements. I’ve had my fair share of criticism for Naeher over the last 2 years but I have no doubts that she is a good keeper. Especially after last years ToN but she’s improved in just this 1 year span. It’s the keeper crutch. Every goal against is your fault whether it actually was or not. No one looks at the buildup or anyone else.

James Bridget: One thing I think everyone can agree on: Sam Kerr is a Constant Fucking Delight

Claire: She’s so good.

It’s me, the number one Sam Kerr stan.

Ruben: If the Red Stars played Bayern Munich, how many goals would Sam Kerr score before they signed her?

James Bridget: Sam Kerr and Robert Lewandowski would make a pretty lethal strike partnership.