After defeating the New York Red Bulls last weekend, April is already turning out to be a better month for the Chicago Fire than March. The Fire played their best game of this young MLS season and were able to triple their goal output for the season by winning against New York 3-1. Logan Pause came back from injury to anchor the midfield and Joel Lindpere played his best game as a Fire player after being slotted on the wing in place of Dilly Duka who was still out due to injury.
Your weekly gut check on the state of the Fire from OTF's writers and contributors...
Chicago Fire earned its first win this season with three goals against a lackluster RBNY side last Sunday. Beginning this Sunday however, they must face three of the top four Eastern Conference teams (Houston, Columbus, Montreal) in a thirteen day span.
We should expect to see an identical lineup to last week. If Logan Pause was healthy, then we could see a wrinkle or two, but I see Frank sticking to his guns tonight. Personally, I would rather see Kinney shift to RB if he has to play, with Anibaba in the middle with Berry. Honestly, the best bet might be to deploy someone like Mike Videira at RB, but I don't see that happening.
Please welcome OTF's new contributing writer Daniel Casey as he breaks down Chicago's Saturday night 3-2 win over Houston in game one of the Carolina Challenge Cup preseason tournament
It's been a positive preseason thus far for the Chicago Fire. New signings have begun to blend into the squad quite well and several newcomers look like they've certainly earned a spot for themselves come the regular season.
Before we get to the action, I want to give a hearty thanks to Brendan Hannan and Jeff Crandall and the rest of the team for their hard work in getting us live streams of these pre-season matches. They are certainly going above and beyond for the fans, and for that they deserve many kudos.
On Thursday, Major League Soccer announced the finalists and the schedule for their 2012 awards. New York's Thierry Henry, San Jose's Chris Wondolowski, and Kansas City's Graham Zusi are up for the Most Valuable Player. Rookie of the Year Finalists Austin Berry (Chicago Fire) Nick DeLeon (D.C. United) Darren Mattocks (Vancouver Whitecaps FC) Xbox Individual Fair Play Finalists* Ante Jazic (Chivas USA) Logan Pause (Chicago Fire) Heath Pearce (New York Red Bulls) *Selected by MLS.
Peter Lowery in action for the Chicago Fire (Photo via Getty Images)
After a seemingly prolific youth career and bountiful collegiate accolades, I found myself vying for a roster spot on a very good Chicago Fire team. With midfielders like Justin Mapp, Chris Rolfe, Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Logan Pause, John Thorrington, Patrick Nyarko, Steve King and other hungry young pro's all vying for starting roles, it was always going to be difficult to succeed in Chicago.
It's the 33rd minute. And things aren't going well for your Chicago Fire. The Montreal Impact are up 1 on a goal by Italian Marco Di Viao. The Men in Red have played a flat half an hour thus far, and a goal at this point seemed like a pipe dream. When Chris Rolfe cut through the middle and passed the ball to Jalil Anibaba, we all figured he'd waste the cross like he had before.
Rumors about Wells Thompson being traded to the Chicago Fire started yesterday. That's weird I
thought. Wells Thompson is a guy that this team doesn't need. The rumors persisted today but the
move seemed so odd, I brushed it off. I don't have that luxury anymore as Wells Thompson went to
Facebook to post a picture of himself in the Fire's locker room with the words, "Breaking News:
Newest Member of the Chicago Fire Team!
Nobody should question Chicago Fire captain Logan Pause's threshold for pain and drive to return
to the field from injury after what transpired in the last month.
During an Aug. 12Â game against the Philadelphia Union, Pause, 31, was defending a corner kick
when Bakary Soumare, his former teammate on the Fire and current Union defender making his team
debut, elevated for the ball, inadvertently striking Pause from behind.
The New England Revolution are facing the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park on Saturday night.
Bridgeview is definitely not a favored environment for the Revs to try and break their six-game
winless streak, but nevertheless they must try. Chicago is sitting pretty in fourth place with a
game in hand on the teams above them, and will be looking at this fixture as an easy three points
On most teams, regardless of sport, there are players who have a tremendous impact without
racking up impressive statistics. They make the players around them better. Only when they're gone
can their impact be truly measured.
Is Chicago Fire midfielder Logan Pause an example of such a player?
The Fire seem to have stumbled onto an epidemic of injuries at the right back spot but may get some help this weekend if team captain Logan Pause is able to return to the line-up. Pause returned to training last week but the club felt it was too early in his recovery to insert him into competition against Sporting Kansas City.
The Fire are looking to register their elusive first goal and points of the 2013 campaign when they take on Sporting Kansas City in a Saturday matinee match on NBC Sports. The club's slow start has left fans disappointed and wondering where the spark is that helped them qualify for the 2012 playoffs while establishing a franchise record of 17 wins in a season.
Although many see the MLS draft particularly as a very hit or miss affair, the Fire have always done a great job of drafting players that end up being major contributors to the team. The list is really a who's who of Fire teams, both past and present. Carlos Bocanegra (2000), Damani Ralph (2003), Logan Pause (2003), Chris Rolfe (2005), Sega (2005), Bakary Soumare (2007), Patrick Nyarko (2008), Sean Johnson (2010), Jalil Anibaba (2011), and Austin Berry (2012) is a pretty star studded lineup to have as a draft history.
Last year I looked into the concept of 'Carryover Minutes' and their relationship to success in Major League Soccer. I define carryover minutes as minutes that come from a player that was on a team the previous year. For example, the Chicago Fire received carryover minutes last night from Sean Johnson, Jalil Anibaba, Gonzalo Segares, Logan Pause, Patrick Nyarko, Dominic Oduro, and Daniel Paladini.
There has been a lot of talk recently about how Chicago doesn't get much respect from media
outlets. The roots of this might deserve further treatment than what they will get here but take a
look at MLS' top 10 soccer journalists as listed by MLSSoccer.com last August. Seattle, New York,
Saturday's win was the third straight match in which the Fire have scored multiple goals. This
all comes after only scoring 2 goals for the entire month of July. Yes, our last three matches were
against some pretty poor competition, but these are games good teams must win.
While part of the goal production can be attributed to the opponents the Fire have faced in
August, some of this credit should also go to the acquisition of Sherjill MacDonald and Alvaro
Fernandez and to the fact that Rolfe seems to be looking more comfortable with his role in the
In case you missed it, per the official Fire site, Logan is getting some light training work in.
Although he is likely still 2-3 weeks from returning (which matches the original timeline given),
it's still welcome news for Fire fans. I think a lot of fans take him for granted sometimes.
Sunday was a great win by the Fire and the squad garnered 3 important points in the standings.
As per usual, the Fire got the job done after going down a goal early. The Fire have come back so
many times this year, that I'm starting to get a little complacent with conceding early goals.
Hopefully the player don't start feeling the same.
This week the Hot Time In Old Town crew talks about the Fire's 3-1 win in Philadelphia including
a goal from our favorite German centerback, how the team may cope with the loss of captain Logan
Pause, looks at the standings in the East, previews the game against New England (Nick makes a
delightful prediction), thanks Sporting Kansas City for beating Seattle to keep the Fire as Kings
of the Cup, talks about Marco Pappa's transfer to Heerenveen, and quickly preview the friendly
between Mexico and the United States National Team.
The rivalry between the Fire and Revolution has been gaining strength the past few years, and
there is never a shortage for action and intrigue when these two teams meet. Tomorrow night
shouldn't be any different. Although the Fire come into the matchup without their captain Logan
Pause, the Men in Red are definitely heading in the right direction.
After looking pretty decent in their 2-0 win over FGCU the other day, the Fire struggled a bit more today, mostly in a fairly punch-less 1st half. In the Fire's defense, they were playing into a very stiff wind, which played some crazy tricks with the ball. It's pretty hard for any team to be as accurate with passes, crosses, and long balls when kicking into a gale.
As we look forward to the end of the offseason and to the start of preseason, we have to wonder what is going through the head of head coach Frank Klopas. What kind of moves will he make? What kind of formations and tactics will he employ throughout the 2013 season? These are the 2 major questions in my mind that I will delve into and try to answer for you.
Chicago's Austin Berry is Major League Soccer's Rookie of the Year, MLS announced on Monday. Berry led across all of the voting blocks, receiving over half the votes in the club and media sections and over 30% of the player votes. Also announced on Monday, Berry's teammate Logan Pause is the 2012 Individual Fair Play winner and the New England Revolution won the team Fair Play award.