This year started out with so much potential. Coming out of training camp things were looking up for the Fire. There was a brand new vibe and even if the logo was (and still is) problematic, the team on the field looked good in preseason with new signings still on the way. They even proved they were in fighting shape by keeping up with the defending champions in their opening game, then drawing in Foxboro against a Revolution side that had a lot of firepower.
But from there, everything went down hill, both inside and outside of our MLS bubble. The world was brought to its knees by a pandemic so severe and mismanaged (in the United States) we’re still dealing with it at this very moment. And once they figured out how to resume soccer despite the virus still whirling around them, the Fire laid a big fat egg. They took a golden opportunity in the MLS is Back tournament to make a statement and turned it into mistake filled disasters and disappointment.
The funk they drove themselves into has followed them out of the mouse house. Aside from bludgeoning a FC Cincinnati side that was clearly not ready to play, the Men in (formerly) Red’s results have ranged from bitterly disappointing to rage inducing. I know it takes time for a brand new team and essentially a new organization to find themselves, but at a certain point, you have to start winning games. If not, to paraphrase Bob Slydell what is it you say we’re doing here?
Chicago Fire MLS record vs Columbus Crew : 26W-21D-19L, 91 GF / 101 GA, 99 pts out of 198
Chicago Fire home MLS record vs Columbus Crew: 16W-12D-6L, 51 GF / 39 GA, 54 pts out of 102
The Crew have been absolutly rolling since the resumption of the season. After clobbering the Fire in the season resumption opener and stumbling 1-0 to NYCFC, the Crew haven’t lost since. They both beat and tied FC Cincinnati, and beat fellow eastern conference favorites Philadelphia Union to stand at the top at 23 points.
There’s no real reason to squad rotate
Keys To The Match
Home Cooking: One of the strangest aspects about Soccer, and all sports really, is the idea that teams play better at home than on the road. I don’t know if it’s the familiar food or being in your own house sleeping in your own bed, but being home has a magical effect on teams.
The Fire need to take advantage of this against one of the best teams in the league. They need to play with energy and commitment that you expect from the home side. They need to be active, to be the aggressors in this match. They need to not let Columbus walk all over them and dominate like they did at MAPFRE Stadium at the beginning of the restart.
Be Direct: This is the antithesis of everything I, and probably Raphael Wicky believe in, but if it works, it works. Despite how good the Fire’s midfield is compared to the rest of the team, the best way to attack Columbus is to get them running towards their own goal. The Fire need to take advantage of their speed and play balls in over the top of Columbus’s center backs and either win the second ball or run on to it and force corner kicks or set pieces from dangerous areas.
How To Watch
Television: Univision TUDN
Streaming: Twitter Sports
Look it’s going to be tough, but the Fire do have a chance if everything goes their way. But lets be real, it never does. 3-1 to the Crew.