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DC United 0, Chicago Fire 2: What We Learned

MLS: Chicago Fire at D.C. United Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Fire won a game. This would normally be a pretty big deal anyway. There hasn’t been a lot of that in the past few years. But what makes this one so special is that they haven’t lost yet! This is What We Learned about the Fire’s 2-0 win over DC United.

Gastón Giménez is Maddening.

It’s hard to find the words to describe the feelings Gastón Giménez incites. Once or twice a game, he does this:

He’ll completely fall asleep or worse, just not bother an effort. He had two plays like this in the game against DC United, and more of them throughout the last several games. He has a real effort problem. The frustrating part of all this is that he’s a really good player. Aside from the two times he failed to make an effort, he made play after play, from making the correct pass to spinning out of a 1 v 3 to keep possession, he played a good game. All of that culminated with a flick on that ended up being the assist on Jonathan Bornstein’s goal.

Giménez needs to be the guy who gives one hundred percent, one hundred percent of the time. His Designated Player contract demands no less for the club and every time he doesn’t, it could spell disaster.

So, I’m going to keep praising him during the week while also expressing anger and frustration with him during live tweets. Why? Because Gastón Giménez is a good player, but he’s infuriating to watch.

The Ezra Factor

Isn’t it nice having a real manager? Ezra Hendrickson has put nary a foot wrong for his first 3 games of the season. He came up with a few tactical changes specifically targeting DC that would end up with more scoring opportunities than in the last week’s game against Orlando. They did. They got 13 shots to 9 last week, and all of them were quality.

They also did something interesting with their shape. A midfielder, sometimes Shaqiri, sometimes someone else, would play up high alongside Przybylko is what looks like a two striker set up. The midfielder would drop later during the buildup, but initially, the DC centerbacks would have to make a choice on who to place at a numbers disadvantage, leaving an opportunity for a 1v1, creating extra space for more buildup or a through ball. Creating space in the attacking third had been a problem the first two games, and it was nice to see a creative solution that actually worked.

His substitutions were also really good. Bringing on Brian Gutierrez when he did gave them a much-needed boost for the flagging Fabian Herbers, who was largely irrelevant after making his wonderful pass that helped set up the first goal. He then brought in Fede for Pineda who was starting to lag a bit as Giménez was catching his second wind, and Jonathan Bornstein came in and scored a goal.

Ezra Hendrickson and his coaching staff have made a huge difference to the club, and are a big reason the Fire are undefeated through three games. And I have every confidence that they can keep it up because of the coaching staff.