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Roundtable: Chi-Town Slow Jam

The Hot Time crew discusses Fire vs Revs, the end of the Red Stars’ season, and more

MLS: Chicago Fire at New England Revolution Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

James Bridget Gordon: Happy Monday, y’all.

How are we feeling about Saturday night?

Ruel Gutierrez Apostol: Squashing the NERevs potential playoff dreams is kinda cool.

Ruben Tisch: Richard Sanchez is what he is. I thought the team played well. The artificial turf at Gelette sucks. The Revs suck, The Pat’s suck. Bob Kraft sucks. Johan Keppelhof is good.

Adnan Bašić: Annoyed at the fact that Sanchez is still in goal, even though we know how bad he is. Cleveland might not be much better but there’s at least some hope left. But mostly feeling apathetic at this point.

James Bridget: I think the result is fair. I continue to be frustrated that we can just play well to get a win, we have to be totally dominant. (Which, uh, doesn’t happen much this season.) The Revs played “Africa” by Toto during halftime, which was definitely A Mood.

RJ: So Basti had some words to say after the match because of the actions of the refs.

Ruben: I mean, they were bad. And that’s bad by MLS standards.

Adnan: As always. Although at least we weren’t screwed over as hard as BWP and NYRB. His post game press conference was brilliant.

James Bridget: Basti seemed like he was trying to be diplomatic about it while still making his feelings known. Definitely more diplomatic than I would’ve been.

Not calling fouls is one thing. Letting play go on because a player is obviously hurt and unable to continue is just straight-up malfeasance.

Ruben: Not blowing the whistle once Bastian went down is one of the all time bad ref things.

Adnan: He’s gotta realize he can get away with criticizing the refs a lot more than most players.

James Bridget: Sure, but I think that makes it more important that he does speak out. Use his privilege to advocate for those who don’t have that same standing.

Adnan: Yea that’s what I mean. Someone’s gotta say something. People thought VAR was terrible only cause they saw MLS refs try and use it. Once the competent refs got it at the World Cup and actually used it properly people realized how good it is.

RJ: Tbh, anything can be terrible once MLS refs gets their hands on it.

Ruben: I think the worst part about it is that these guys and girls are professional referees. It’s not like they have a 9 to 5.

James Bridget: Right, and that I think just goes back to the lack of accountability and the ways PRO has insulated itself from meaningful scrutiny.

Ruben: Is Howard Webb still in charge?

James Bridget: Yes.

Ruben: Mannnn.

James Bridget: Getting back to the game-- who stood out for you most? I thought Raheem Edwards put in decent work after he was subbed on.

Ruben: Edwards was good. I thought Brandt Bronico was good. He had some real creative moments, but didn’t sacrifice anything defensively.

James Bridget: Are you saying Bronico is a creative player? Because that would be an extremely controversial take.

Ruben: Seriously, though, the way the turf was manipulating the ball made it really hard for me to evaluate performances. When you can’t judge the pace of the ball, it’s hard to control and do anything.

James Bridget: Right but there’s nothing we can do about that. The Revs play on turf. So do the Timbers.

Ruben: The Timbers have better turf.

James Bridget: How do we feel about Basti as centerback this week? He did well against Orlando but that was down to the quality of the opposition. How did he fare against the Revs?

Ruben: I thought he was fine. Not great or anything. But serviceable. The Fire have 5 quality CMs on the roster. Basti playing centerback means 3 of them can play. It is what it is.

Adnan: Honestly Basti at CB is far from the worst thing in the world from a tactical perspective. Because we have the depth at CM but not at CB. Is Lillard still out injured? Why hasn’t he featured?

Ruben: I think he is injured, yeah.

James Bridget: No he’s off the injury report. Pauno just doesn’t rate him, I think.

Ruben: Hmm...

That’s a mark against him coming back for me.

James Bridget: Yeah. In general I’m pretty much over Pauno’s weird vendettas. We’ve lost some decent people because of it since he took the job and this year we may end up losing almost our entire rookie class. It’d be one thing if he were getting results and we were still playoff contenders.

Adnan: If there’s one Fire I have absolute faith in being the future of our club it’s Lillard.

James Bridget: And these are the kind of games where Lillard, and the other younger players, should be getting a ton of minutes. There’s nothing to lose. But here we are.

Adnan: It might be a bit of a hot take, but I don’t wanna see Bastian/Dax/Niko in any away games this season. Hell I’d give them an early summer vacation. The only thing that could happen in these final few games is injury to those lads.

Ruben: Niko probably has a goals scored bonus to get. Get paid, young fella.

James Bridget: I’d play them for the home games. Especially the last one against DCU. But let the kids play on the road.

Adnan: Can we get some more Drew Conner please? I have no idea what he’s done to Pauno but he must be so far deep in the doghouse.

RJ: Maybe they can place Drew in that eSports thing the Fire has on the side.

James Bridget: I’m definitely in favor of more Drew Conner.

Alright, let’s move on to NYCFC. We all know the stakes here, which are minimal. Any reasons for optimism?

Ruben: No? I mean, every game is basically the same now. The Fire are gonna score some goals. Sanchez is gonna cost them points. Rinse, repeat.

RJ: Hoping for a draw at least because losing in Yankee Stadium is embarrassing.

James Bridget: I think a draw is definitely possible but it’s going to be tough.

Adnan: We’re gonna concede four and score none.

James Bridget: Woof.

Ruben: #FreeTommyMac

James Bridget: <stage whispers> Sign Tajouri-Shradi

Adnan: My predictions have gotten darker and darker as the year has gone on

Their keeper is pretty good the Fire should try and bring him in...

James Bridget: Alright, I think it’s time for the shift change.

I know South Side Trap is going to dive deep into Chicago’s semifinal loss and then the season as a whole, but I just want to get everyone’s feelings on the game now that we’ve had five or so days to process.

Claire Watkins: Idk I’m back from Portland for one day and suddenly Bastian Schweinsteiger is a center-back? Everything is all messed up.

Sandra Herrera: Chicago wyd while we were gone?

Claire: But I’d say the thing that has grown for me as the days have gone on, and in light of the final, is that Chicago played really damn well on Tuesday.

Sandra: Feels Oddly Good, man.

Claire: All over Portland, whenever we told people where we were from, they said they wished they were playing us this weekend. Which, duh, no one wants to be thrown in the North Carolina jaws of death.

But it was also nice to hear that, in a way, having Chicago play in front of Portland neutrals made them like the team too.

Sandra: Covering the game this week was a wild experience. Yes, Chicago lost the semi. Again. For a fourth time. But my goodness the soccer was so so so damm good that it was appreciated on both sides of the pitch in a neutral area and it was really cool to be around for that.

James Bridget: Yeah, result notwithstanding this was a good finale for the Red Stars. I’m just so proud of this team and I can’t wait for next year.

Claire: Just in general, this was an amazing week for women’s soccer in America. Think it might have a future here, folx.