The Columbus Crew scored twice against the Chicago Fire last weekend in a 2-2 draw at Soldier Field. For the first, a Gyasi Zardes shot was misdirected off Fatai Alashe’s face. Then late in the match, a shot hit Zardes in the back of the legs, and somehow popped forward in the perfect spot for the U.S. international to bury the equalizer.
A few minutes before that second Crew goal, Przemyslaw Frankowski hit a sitter straight to Eloy Room that was, honestly, harder to miss than it would have been to make.
Those three plays conspired to ruin what would have been a great win over the first-place Crew. Was all this just a matter of bad luck?
“I think this is a bit of our luck right now that these are the kind of goals that we are conceding, where things are not really rolling our way in front of the goal defensively,” Goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth said after the Crew match. “But that being said, I think there are things that we can improve, absolutely, and we’re going to.”
Robert Berić, who broke his seven match scoreless streak to record his third goal of the season, agreed.
“I don’t know, we just don’t have this luck or I don’t know what is happening in these last couple of games,” Berić said. “We cannot manage to win a game. I think we just need a little push or a little luck, or a little something just to begin winning.”
For his part, Fire Head Coach Raphael Wicky refuses to believe in luck.
“I don’t know when, but we’ll turn this around because every game, there is a lot, a lot of good things,” Wicky said after the draw with Columbus. “We are a good team, we are playing good football, we’re creating a lot. Not sure if it’s luck; there’s certain situations in life and sport where maybe you have to do more so that it’s not luck, but that’s just my personal opinion.”
Certainly, luck plays some role in sport, as it does in life. Bad luck, whether it’s a strange bounce, a referee decision, or an injury—like the one suffered by Djordje Mihailović early in the match— can change a game in a sport where scoring is typically low. But, over the course of a season? Those things tend to even out. With a large enough sample size, Wicky is right: Teams make their own luck.
The Fire are back in training this week ahead of Saturday’s matchup with a quality Orlando City side (6:30 p.m. CT, WGN & ESPN+). Is this the match where things start to turn around for Chicago? Is this the game where the Fire finally get the lucky bounce?
“At this moment it’s hard and we have to keep working, keep training and I’m sure it’s going to change,” Berić said. “The luck is going to come our way for sure.”
We shall see.