Through two matches of the 2020 MLS season, the Chicago Fire have only managed to grab one point. But, there are plenty of positives. The framework for a quality, exciting, fun team is there.
“That’s the basic thing we ask from the players is that they all work and fight together and that’s also something I said on the first day, that this is what we want to see,” Fire head coach Raphael Wicky said after Saturday’s draw with New England. “I think they showed that. We have to keep working. There were lots of positives, again, and we had a lot of chances. Of course in the end, the game can go to both sides, but we’re happy. It’s not easy to get a point here, on the road, against a home team, and we’re very happy with that point.”
And now, things are about to get even better.
As I reported yesterday, midfielder Luka Stojanović and right back Boris Sekulić did indeed arrive in Chicago last night, and it appears they wasted no time checking out the skyline view from the Museum Campus. With the additions of Gastón Giménez and Ignacio Aliseda late last week, it means all the club’s transfer and visa issues are now cleared up.
What’s more, CJ Sapong was training individually last week while recovering from a chest injury, and Wicky seemed fairly confident he’d be ready for the Orlando City match (Saturday, March 14, 6:30 p.m CT, WGN-TV, ESPN+). That’s another key player who’s about to become available.
In other words, everyone’s here. It took a bit of time to come together, but we’re about to see what this team can really do.
We saw glimpses of what Giménez can bring to the team, when he came on in the 63rd minute of yesterday’s match. His long ball to Djordje Mihailović helped create the goal by Jonathan Bornstein, and Giménez managed that after wrapping up his Velez career last Wednesday, flying to Chicago Thursday, training briefly on Friday before traveling to Boston, and jumping in the game with unfamiliar teammates on Saturday. Imagine what he’ll be able to give the team with a bit of rest and more comfort with his teammates.
Additionally, Aliseda didn’t even get into the match against the Revs. It means in Orlando, we could see all four new players, along with a healthy Sapong.
Robert Berić bagged a goal against Seattle, Alvaro Medrán has looked smooth in midfield in both matches, and homegrown signing Mauricio Pineda has been excellent in his first two games—even while playing two positions yesterday.
If not for a few mental errors—the offside issues in the first half of the Seattle match, and Francisco Calvo’s marking of Adam Buksa on the Revs’ goal yesterday—the Fire could have six points right now. Wicky’s been stressing patience since January. We knew this project would take time. But, they’re close.
“I think this group has really come together,” Bornstein said after scoring the equalizer against the Revs. “I’m really excited and hoping that we can get more points here in the next one on the road in Orlando and then definitely in that home opener on the 21st in Chicago.”
Let’s hope Jonny’s right. We’ll get to see in person in 13 days.