Things are looking bleak. The attack is a mess, the defense is a mess. Everything that could go wrong for the Former and Future Men in Red is going wrong, and it could get worse. The club and everyone around it are entering a stretch of games against good teams in hot and humid weather. It starts with Saturday against Miami and doesn’t really let up until the end of June against Cincinnati.
It feels like May has always been make or break for the Fire. When they made the playoffs in 2017, they went undefeated in 6 games and came close to winning all of them, only drawing to the LA Galaxy on May 6th. The next year, they lost 4 of 6 beating only Montreal and Orlando. If the past is prologue, we’re looking at another long bleak season. Let's hope things get better, but be prepared for it to get worse.
Chicago Fire all-time MLS record vs Inter Miami: 0W-0D-0L, 0 GF / 0 GA, 0pts out of 0
Chicago Fire home MLS record vs Inter Miami: 0W-0D-0L, 0 GF / 0 GA, 0 pts out of 0
Miami are sitting at a perfect .500 record of 2-2-2. They’re even 1-1-1 in the last three games with their loss coming against a Montreal side who interestingly have the same record. The important bit is that they’ve scored 7 goals in those previous three games, and are prepped to rip apart the mess we’re calling the Fire defense.
We all know how I feel at this point about Calvo, so I’m just going to leave him off my lineup card forever unless he shows me something better when he plays. As for the other changes, Luka should come back into the XI after getting the night off against DC, and Brian Gutierrez has impressed enough to earn that spot out on the left until Nacho Aliseda returns and they can have a proper position battle. Gimenez has had two poor games in a row, but I still think he’s better than either Kappelhof or Pineda at the 6. Gimenez is listed as questionable, but if he’s can play, he probably should.
Keys To The Match
Discipline on Defense: In most games, the home team likes to have control of the game. High possession numbers lead to more shots and, usually, goals. That’s not going to happen here. If the Fire are lucky (they’re rarely lucky) Miami will have control of the game and do nothing with it. Part of that is the Fire are going to magically do something that haven’t done all year— focus on defense for 90 minutes.
There have been good stretches of defensive play this season, like the opening minutes against New England, or the first half against Atlanta (except for the Barco wondergoal). This game is going to look a lot like the Atlanta match, and the Fire are going to have to improve on that performance if they want to sniff a point.
Don’t Waste Opportunities: The big weaknesses of Inter Miami is that they’re a bit weak at center back, and they don’t really press when they lose the ball. This means the Fire will have some room to work if they want to actually do that. It’s imperative that the Fire midfield finally get back to being the dominant force we know it can be. With Luka back in the squad after a game off, it should facilitate the squad somewhere back to the first few days of the season when they were at least competitive.
The forward and wingers are also going to need to step up here, too. Beric needs to time his runs better to not be offside. Frankie and Guti on the wings need to crash inside more to put pressure on old man Ryan Shawcross and make him make plays. And after all that, they need to put the ball in the back of the net, for god sakes.
Endure: Some games feel like they take no time at all. Kickoff to the half-hour mark can feel like five minutes, and the game ends in a blink of an eye. This game will not feel like that. It’s going to be a messy slog and almost a chore to watch. Fans have the luxury to bow out early, but the players do not. They need to be in it for all 90 minutes if they don’t want to be embarrassed and humiliated.
How To Watch
Television: UniMas, TUDN
If you thought some home cooking would help the club figure things out, you may be right, but not at the moment. The Fire are going to lose. The question then becomes by how much? I expect this one to be over early and turn into a laugher by the hour mark, thanks to the brothers Higuain. 4-0 to the Flamingos.