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Chicago Fire 0, CF Montreal 1: What We Learned

What have we learned from the Fire’s 5th loss of the season?

SOCCER: MAY 29 MLS - CF Montreal at Chicago Fire FC Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

This is the most infuriating Fire team since they set the draw record in 2014. The players can’t seem to get out of their own way and the coaching staff doesn’t seem to want to make the moves it needs to make to win games.

We Should Be Done With Calvo

It’s been clear to me since he was traded for during the 2019 season that Francisco Calvo was not good enough to start on a team whose ambitions were to make a deep run in the MLS playoffs. For all of his skill and talent, he lacks some of the most important qualities you look for in both a center-back and a club captain. All of that was once again put into the forefront of my mind on the goal the Fire gave up to Mason Toye that put them 1-0 down in the 87th minute.

Calvo left Wyatt Omsberg hanging by not yelling to him that a runner was coming behind him and he should switch from the zone to go and man-mark... or at least, step back to better contend the cross that was coming in. Instead, Omsberg was made to look like a fool who was caught out of position. He was in the right spot to interrupt a run to the near post or block a low cross back to the far post but was completely unaware of the run behind him. It was a shame because, until that moment, Omsberg was having a decent game aside from one blunder early on when he lost the ball in the sun.

The fact of the matter is Calvo is either incapable of communicating effectively with his teammates, or he doesn’t think he needs to. Regardless of which it is the Fire cannot afford to play him anymore. He only makes this team worse. If Wicky wants to keep his job, removing him from the lineup is the big move that needs to be done during the 3-week international break.

Robert Beric is Regressing

I’m about ready to call “I told you so” on the Fire’s unproductive center forward. Despite finishing second in the golden boot race last season, there were a lot of concerning things regarding how he was playing. I’ve mentioned pushing himself out wide for no reason ad Infinitum, but he also can’t stay onside when there’s just a hint of the backline pushing up. He was offside on five or six separate occasions where if he was just a little more conscious of where he was set up he would have been one on one with the goalkeeper. Not that it would have mattered. Unlike the man he replaced up top, Beric seems incapable of shooting his way out of a slump. At least with Nemanja Nikolic, if he missed his first, second, or even third good look at goal, you knew he would hit his fourth. Beric on the other hand looks like if he’s missed his first opportunity, he’s done for the day.

His team knows it too. A lot of the shots on goal were created and shot by other players. In his 77 minutes, Beric only put up one shot while his replacement Chinonso Offor had two shots in 13 minutes. It’s getting harder and harder to watch Beric struggle, but if anyone paid any attention to his production upon his signing, they’d know that last season was probably a fluke and that it was likely he’d be back in the single digits come this year.

The bottom line: the Fire need to find another striker, and quickly.

And Some Good News

Ignacio Aliseda is back, and his first action after coming in was to dribble around two defenders and win a free-kick in a dangerous spot. His return should be a boost for a team struggling to put goals on the board. With the international break providing three extra weeks for him to return to full fitness, he should be back starting on the left-hand side allowing for Brian Gutierrez to assume a super-sub role that should really fit where he is in his career. I expect to see some more dynamic play on the wings against the Crew, and I expect the team to create even more chances than they already are. They just need to find someone to turn those chances into goals.