Sometimes, I don’t think we appreciate how bad Nelson Rodriguez and Andrew Hauptman left the club for Joe Mansueto when they sold him the club, and it wasn’t just the things that we know like the horrid state of the academy or a lack of player scouting and personnel departments. The whole infrastructure was in tatters, including no employees, to take care of players coming to an unfamiliar city in an unfamiliar country and help them acclimate to living in the United States, especially in the middle of a global pandemic.
We can infer from the state of things The club was being run on a shoestring budget, and it’s going to take more time than you think to fix everything. It’s starting with the signing of homegrown players to show that the academy in a vital part of the organization, and I have high hopes for all of them, but it’s going to take time, money, and patience to literally rebuild the club— beyond what happens with the first team.
Chicago Fire away MLS record vs New England Revolution: 10W-5D-17L, 32 GF / 47 GA, 35 pts out of 96
There’s not really much to say here other than the Revs are continuing their dominance over almost everyone they play. Interestingly enough, their toughest test was the 3-2 squeaker against the very same Fire team they play on Saturday. They beat down Montreal 4-1 in their last outing and comfortably beat Orlando 2-1 the Wednesday beforehand.
While the lineup I have looks aesthetically pleasing with its symmetry and all, Injuries to the backline and the continuing unavailability of Brian Gutierrez is hampering the “start prepping for next year” mentality I want the current coaching staff to take into these final five games.
Specifically, I’d like to see Carlos Terán keep getting minutes and improve alongside Boris Sekulic on that right-hand side. However, both of them are listed as out on the MLS availability report. Meanwhile, Fede Navarro is still the major reason to keep watching these games for those of you who don’t get paid to do so. So it would behoove the Fire to keep him in the lineup as he uses these last games to get used to the pace and physicality of the league.
Keys To The Match
Fake Grass No Class: Until the New England Revolution are able to get themselves a stadium of their own, every MLS team are going to have to deal with the worst artificial turf field on the calendar. My stance on them as a whole has softened over the years with the quality of pitch in Atlanta and to a lesser extent Seattle largely changing my perspective, but New England’s field still produces unnatural bounces and strange kicks that will catch teams unfamiliar with these quarks out.
The Fire, more than anything else, have to read and control these bounces and try to catch the Revs out with them. They need to be ready for awkward hops maybe put some extra spin on the ball like a golfer would to get it to where you need it to go. They should get some crosses bouncing around in the box to get a foot on, and other similar things like that to create and put away scoring opportunities.
No Mistakes: The last time they played, the Fire were the better team against a rotated squad by being careful with the ball for large portions of the game and didn’t make loose passes and limited their turnovers n dangerous places. When they didn’t the Revs scored three times and won the game. If the Fire are able to play relatively mistake-free soccer, they have a good chance against New England, even if they play their first-choice XI.
How To Watch
Streaming: CFFC Live/ESPN+ out of market
The Fire always play New England tough, but the separation in quality is going to be too far to overcome. 3-1 to the Revs.