Good News! We’ve reached the international break. This means we can all chill out and watch Przemysław Frankowski play for Poland, and not worry about another putrid first month of the season for the Fire. With that in mind, this is the final debrief.
This is what we learned from the Fire’s loss to the Seattle Sounders.
Basti Might be Done
I figured we get here at some point this year, but not this soon. There’s no word to describe Bastian Schweinsteiger’s performance other than awful. At central midfield, he was off the pace and was part of the the turnovers at inconvenient times brigade. And when he was placed into central defense, he put on his roller skates. He was constantly put off balance by attackers running at him and was beaten several times. What’s worse, he looked visually frustrated at himself several times, and seemed to check out of the game at times.
I know pretty much everyone was bad, but there’s a reason in particular that I hold Basti to such high standards. He’s supposed to be the difference maker. If I were any good at Photoshop, I’d superimpose his face over the Star Wars “you were the chosen one” meme. He’s supposed to be the guy who can take the game by the scruff of the neck and force a one in the win column and three points in the standings. And the fact of the matter is that he can’t do it anymore. That’s a big problem.
They’re Better Without Fullbacks
The FIre’s second half looked a lot better then the first half. Some of that is Seattle backing off after the penalty put them up 3-0, to be sure. But, a lot of it had to do with the Fire playing three at the back and pushing an extra player forward. They were finally able to get control of the midfield with Edwards and later, Brandt Bronico. Edward’s pace gave the fire another dimension that Seattle had to consider, and Bronico’s grit and determination helped put pressure on Seattle’s midfielders and defenders.
There’s an International Spot Problem
Speaking of Raheem Edwards, in order to get him onto the field, the Fire had to send Mo Adams to Memphis to become roster compliant. With Nico Gaitán officially signed, they now have two more international players than international roster spots. We saw against Seattle that Edwards is important to team performance, and the player on the roster he replaced in Mo Adams should be playing.
When Nelson Rodriguez was given the GM position, we were promised that above all else he could do for the club, the most emphasized was that he was real good at navigating the complex MLS roster rules and regulations. That the Fire are in a position where they have to loan out good players in order to stay roster compliant is further proof that N-Rod sold himself as being better than he actually is. It is another black mark on his time as the general manager. (There’s also a conversation to be had about whether Canadians should count as international players at all, but that’s for a different article.)
So, that’s what we learned from Saturday. What observations did you see? Tell us in the comments below!