The Fire took a big step toward playoff legitimacy by showing that they can indeed win away from Toyota Park. A 1-0 win over DC United moves them into second place in the Eastern Conference and more importantly, establishes some confidence away from home while helping to erase the memory of an ugly 1 win in almost 50 MLS matches over the last several seasons.
What Are They All About? DC United
The run continues. This past Wednesday the Chicago Fire overcame another hurdle in their busy week of soccer by defeating a lackluster Colorado Rapids side 3-0 at Toyota Park. They came out with a winning mentality and pressed from the start as Nemanja Nikolic reiterated his intent of becoming the Golden Boot winner by notching a goal in the fifteenth minute of the match.
The Fire resoundly defeated a Colorado Rapids team that currently sits at the bottom of MLS. The result was expected but what makes the win impressive is that it comes on the heels of the 4-1 win over Seattle just four days before. Chicago's form at home (5-0-1) has been convincing enough to allow even the most cynical of supporters to believe that this team will seriously challenge for a playoff spot in the East.
What Are They All About? Colorado Rapids
Toyota Park is a fortress. This past weekend the Chicago Fire defeated the Seattle Sounders 4-1 in front of a "sold out" crowd. The result extended their 2017 home unbeaten streak to five matches and the performance reiterated the resurgence present within the club.
The Fire have squandered opportunities at home in front of big crowds in the last seven years but didn't waste the chance to make an impression in front of a national television audience this time. Seattle has been in less than top form early this season but they're still formidable as defending MLS Cup Champions despite the slow start.
What Are They All About? Seattle Sounders
The glass is half empty. This past Saturday the Chicago Fire drew on the road against the LA Galaxy 2-2. They put together one of their finest performances of the season in the first half and in the second they reminded onlookers why that tingling sense of doubt continues to linger in the depths of their stomachs.
Even before they took a 2-0 lead, this game represented the Fire's best chance to get somethingout of one of three consecutive road games. Chicago squandered an early two-goal lead and dropped two points that they are surely going to need come October. Los Angeles is a team in flux that isn't playing well and the Fire failed to put them away.
What Are They All About? LA Galaxy
The speculative road form, in terms of results continues. This past weekend the Chicago Fire fell 2-1 against the New York Red Bulls in New Jersey. The match saw the sides split possession but Chicago created more scoring opportunities, putting twice as many shots on target as the home side.
A few weeks ago I wrote a piece over at theAthletic.com about Bastian Schweinsteiger's arrival and how it compared to the Fire's last big name signing in 2007. I spoke to the Fire's General Manager at the time, John Guppy about the buzz and excitement created by Cuauhtemoc Blanco's arrival and how a short-notice announcement of an introduction turned into 5,000 people showing up at Toyota Park to greet him.
The Fire played well enough for a draw and possibly all three points but came away with nothing. A handful of missed chances, a bad touch, and another defensive lapse on the right side led to a blown opportunity against an Eastern Conference opponent on the road. Chicago won the possession battle (51-49), took more shots (14/5 to 10/3), and had a higher passing percentage (71-68) than New York but failed to capitalize when they had to.
What Are They All About? New York Red Bulls
Is the dream over? This past weekend the Chicago Fire lost 3-1 against Toronto FC on the back of a master class from Sebastian Giovinco. Many supporters and pundits quickly jumped to the conclusion that perhaps the real Chicago Fire had finally come to the surface.
The latest episode of the Fire Confidential Live podcast is up. Jeff and I take a look back at the first seven games of the season, Bastian Schweinsteiger's signing, the MLSPU salary data, and answer a few questions.
The first big road test for the Fire in the new Schweinsteiger era didn't turn out well. Toronto FC, the presumed class of the Eastern Conference, handled Chicago reasonably easily en route to a 3-1 victory over the visitors. Their game plan wasn't difficult to guess coming in. Crowd Schweinsteiger, attack the right side, and test the goalkeeper at any opportunity.
Soorie, What Are They All Aboot, eh? Toronto FC
"It is very important for us that we won. This is the first consecutive win we have had since I have been here". Although Paunovic spoke those words with a sigh of relief, by the end of his post-match press conference after Chicago's 3-0 thrashing of New England, he was full of hope and confidence.
The most important thing the Fire have shown they can finally do is beat teams that they should beat at home. The Revolution offered little resistance by allowing the Fire plenty of room on the ball, even before the expulsion of Je-Vaughn Watson for a silly second yellow card, and the final numbers showed the home team's dominance.