The Chicago Fire won't win awards for stylish soccer after their first two matches of the 2017 campaign, but there are plenty of indications that they are on the right path. Their 2:0 win on Saturday over Real Salt Lake at Toyota Park was built on pragmatism, hard work, and taking advantage of opportunity.
The story that played out at PPL Park on Wednesday night was depressingly similar to the story that has been on display all season for the Chicago Fire. The Fire offense was missing a beginning, middle and end, so it was only a matter of time before the Philadelphia Union, no less feeble in attack than the Fire, would find the goal that would propel them to their second US Open Cup Final in as many years.
Jason Johnson rewards Frank Yallop with effort, a goal, and abighug. (photo via Chicago-Fire.com)
"Winning Cures All Ills" may be a cliche, but it's never seemed more applicable than this weekend atToyota Park.DespiteSection 8's "bannergate,"Head Coach Frank Yallop's job security, "#HauptmanOut," injury troubles, transfer window scrutiny, and Bridgeview finances,all anyone wouldtake away fromSaturday was the spark provided by a rejuvenated Mike Magee, Patrick Nyarko, and Michael Stephens and the clutchfinishingof Jason Johnson that delivered the Chicago Fire their first victory over the Seattle Sounders ever.
In the post-apocalyptic wasteland known as The Bridge View, the Chicago Fire is incapable of anything except draws, and OTF's Alex White is losing it...
Like most descents into madness, it all started reasonably enough. After last game's clean sheet, coach Frank Yallop elected to continue sacrificing offensive fire-power (personified by rookie Harrison Shipp) for a defensive set-up that achieved an elusive feat of not-bottling-things.
Harry Shipp notched another brace on Saturday (photo: chicago-fire.com)
OTF's Brendan Carr brings you more dropped points at home...
"Another one bites the dust," albeit an exciting one at home to Seattle. Meanwhile, Fire fans are left to think what's next. Nothing but the record seems to be falling for the Fire, as they dropped to a poor 2-4-8 on the weekend.
The rookie will learn to use his head more (photo: Chicago-fire.com)
OTF's Alex White draws some mixed conclusions after the Fire's latest result...
L.A. came to Chicago to play a game with everything on the line, filled with players at the top of their game and a shot at another championship on the line for two of the best-run organizations in the sport.
OTF contributor Daniel Casey mulls over Chicago Fire's third loss of the season...
This week I'm keeping it short.
Rage was the order of the day when Chicago Fire traveled to face Columbus Crew. I was already in a bad mood due to our nation's most recent gun massacre on the University of California-Santa Barbara campus.
Jeff Larentowicz reacts after Real Salt Lake game-tying goal. (image:YouTube.com)
OTF's Brian Howe Battle looks at Saturday'sFiremeltdown at home...
If drawing when you could have lost feels like victory (as the Fire did in Utah last year), and drawing when you could have won feels like defeat (as we've seen many times so far this year), what do youmake of losing a match you were winning in 88th minute?
Jhon Kennedy Hurtado opened the scoring, his first goal since 2009 (photo Chicago-Fire.com)
OTF contributor Daniel Casey mulls over the Chicago Fire's third straight draw...
Nothing was pretty about the match in our nation's capital last Saturday afternoon. Chilly, raining, and windy, the conditions at the ruin that is RFK Stadium reflected the morass upon which it was built.
Alex looked good in his new #7, as the Fire continued their preseason unbeaten run on Saturday (photo: chicago-fire.com)
OTF editor Scott Fenwick brings you a look at the second installment of the Fire's tussle down in Tuscon...
Frank Yallop and company had amassed an encouraging 5-0-0 preseason record heading into the second round of the Desert Diamond Classic, including a most recent 2-1 win over Colorado Rapids, and highlighted overall by admirable performances from the Fire's new youngsters and reserves.
Both the Chicago Fire and Columbus Crew come into 2017 looking to turn a page and forget about their respective dismal 2016 campaigns. They squared off on Saturday at MAPFRE Stadium in the season opener on a chilly afternoon and battled to a 1:1 draw. Based on the soccer on display it's unlikely that either side learned much about whether 2017 will bring more joy than 2016 did, but both teams have a lot of work ahead if they want to be competitive.
The Chicago Fire put on a display of powerful attacking capability en route to a 3:0 demolition of the Montreal Impact on Saturday. The soggy, miserable conditions at Toyota Park seemed to have a bigger effect on Montreal than on the home side. The Impact looked ready to pack it in by halftime.
The Chicago Fire uncorked their attacking power when they took on New York City FC on Friday at Yankee Stadium and were 2:0 up before a half hour had elapsed. But fundamental defensive errors at the most crucial moments proved costly, as NYC conjured goals in stoppage time of both halves and salvaged a point that they had no business winning.
It's always a neighborly thing to do to greet your newest neighbors with a plate of baked goods or to offer a cold beverage on a hot day. Last Saturday, the Fire went beyond the call of duty of being good neighbors when they tossed away three points to expansionist Orlando City.
OTF's Brian Howe Battle speaks to the facts, and then kind of goes of the rails a bit.
The Chicago Fire put an end theresurgent FC Dallas's undefeated streak by beating them 1-0 lastweekend. FCD's record is now an outstanding 12-8-6, but the draw-happy Men in Red were able to manufacturea three-point result at home.
Get out of theway, here comes a striker. (Via Chicago-Fire.com)
In a reversal of the endgame of their last match, the Chicago Fire pulled out an equalizer deep into stoppage time and grabbed a vital point at Columbus. Substitute Jason Johnson headed home Eric Gehrig's cross with almost the last touch of the match and the Fire nabbed a 2:2 draw.