This has been one hell of a week.
On the pitch, not much has changed. The Fire are coming off a win against the Red Bulls that despite having the disadvantage in passing numbers and possession, managed to cruise their way to victory thanks to a Nemanja Nikolic goal that was ruled to go in by way of Tim Parker. The defensive performance was spectacular, and Mo Adams was fantastic on debut.
Off the pitch, things are degrading rapidly. The relationship between fans and ownership is at an all time low with the leakage of the potential rebrand on Tuesday.
So it is in a sense, good, that the Fire find themselves on the road this week, away from all this tension and nonsense. They get to put off all the distractions of the inevitable pregame fan protests and tifo and the worrying about what all this means for them going forward. They get to just go out there and worry about playing soccer.
On the other hand, they’re going to Toronto.
TFC have been flawless in MLS so far. They’re a perfect 3-0-0 and have scored 10 goals and given up just three. Jozy Altidore is back from injury, and is better than ever, scoring 2 goals in as many games. And their new designated player Alejandro Pozuelo just won goal of the week on his debut. Greg Vanney’s squad are poised to run over the Fire this week.
Let’s hope being away from this mess helps.
Chicago Fire away MLS record vs Toronto FC: 4W-4D-8L, 26 GF / 33 GA, 16 pts out of 48
Ousted; Gutjahr, Marcelo, Schweinsteiger, Kappelhof; Adams, McCarty; Frankowski, Gaitán, Katai; Nikolic
The only change from last week should be Nico Gaitán in the Starting XI for CJ Sapong. His spectacular form ended last week, so he should be back to being in that supersub role he was signed for.
Keys To The Match
Stop Pozuelo: Alejandro Pozuelo is TFC’s newest Designated Player, and he’s had an immediate impact. In just the one game for the Reds, he has two goals and an assist to his name. This is largely going to be on the shoulders of Mo Adams to get done and it’s imperative he’s stopped if the Fire want to get any points out of this one, let alone all three.
Get Gaitán Involved: This probably goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway. The best route to victory is through your new star Argentine. Let the conductor conduct the orchestra. Let him control the pace and direction of the attack, and set up the goal scoring opportunities. The more he touches the ball the better the Fire’s chances.
Play Freely: The ongoing problems and panic are not the players concern. They can’t be worried about all the outside forces swirling around them. They need to go out on Saturday and concentrate on just playing soccer.
How To Watch
Away to TFC just happens to be the place of one of my favorite goals of all time.
Yes. That is a banger.
Yes, the highlight is in standard def.
Yes, that little white clothed blur banging in said banger is Logan Pause.
Anyway: TFC win 3-1.
What are your predictions for tomorrow? Let us know in the comments!