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The beautiful game as seen by a fan living it every day

Fire’s Downs and Ups

After a loss on the road 3-1 against the Philadelphia Union, the Fire returned home to defeat the San Jose Earthquakes 2-1. Longtime MLS vet Alan Gordon scored a goal in both matches and now has 3 goals in 3 games. He was later named the Man of the Match. The Fire have struggled this season to get an unbeaten run going.

Aleksander Katai also scored a goal in the match, His fourth of the season. The match saw the first start for Forward Luis Solignac who returned from injury, after having last played in mid-March. Solignac adds pace on the wing for the Fire. Another bright spot for the Fire in the match was the return from injury of reigning Golden Boot Winner Nemanja Nikolic.

Brandt Bronico made his second straight start in the match and got his second assist on the Katai goal. He had an assist on the lone goal from Alan Gordon. Katai seems to be adjusting more to Major League Soccer, Head coach Veljko Paunovic wants him to be more creative in the game.

After the loss in Philadelphia Paunovic had this to say, ‘I mean, we always learn from games like this. Whenever you lose, win or tie, there are always positives and negatives to take away from each match. We showed character, we fought a good comeback which we’ve done in the past, showing that the team is capable of doing that. If we didn’t concede the third goal, we would have had more options by the end of the game to tie the game. That was unfortunate but that’s the way the game goes sometimes” Chicago Fire Communications

In looking forward to the next game against San Jose, Head Coach Paunovic had this to say about how the team can improve on their performance. “There are always mistakes in a game where we can have a little more awareness. Sometimes we need to rest our defense and sometimes being a little bit sharper especially when we create more opportunities having more clarity.” Chicago Fire Communications

Despite the win Paunovic did not mince words in his postgame Press Conference about the team’s performance in the final 20 minutes. “I’m not happy with the performance, I’m not happy with the result. Especially with that play we conceded the goal. I’m not happy with how we treated our opponent and the outcome, the lack of seriousness, lack of professionalism. I told the guys and I’ll speak with them Monday, especially individuals will hear me out. I’m a competitor and if I see that someone is not competing in that locker room, you better change or you’re not going to be here. I’m very serious about this. What I saw in the last 15-20 minutes, I was sick, I was really sick. If that happens again, I’m not going to be here or somebody won’t be here. I’m saying this very, very clearly and they will hear from me.” Chicago Fire Communications

The Fire begin play in the Lama Hunt US Open Cup this Wednesday June 6th in Columbus against the Columbus Crew. The Fire have won the competition 4 times. Winning it in their first year as part of the Famous double in 1998. They won both the Open Cup and the MLS cup that year. The game is a single-elimination game so the Fire must win to advance to the next round. Maybe we will see the return of midfielder Dax McCarty from injury, otherwise called by me as the “Dax Factor.” Perhaps this could be the return to the glory days for the Fire.