After a 4-3 loss to Orlando in what I’ll not so fondly remember as “The Collapse”, the Crew needs to bounce back in a hurry against an increasingly desperate Chicago Fire team tonight at the friendly confines of Lower.com Field.
I say the Fire is increasingly desperate because, after the MLS season resumed at the conclusion of the Leagues Cup, they lost five straight games before finally managing a scoreless draw against Montreal Saturday night. In those six games, Chicago has scored just twice and currently sits two points behind D.C. United for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. When you’re losing games and can’t score, that translates to a desperate team.
After the loss to Houston a few weeks ago, midfielder Aiden Morris told his teammates that good teams don’t lose two in a row. The Crew responded with a win on the road in Montreal. Because of the way they lost to Orlando, moving on from it is a little different than the setback in Houston. They had a two-goal lead in the 72nd minute and appeared to have the game under control. The win would have moved them out of fifth place and ahead of Orlando in the Eastern Conference. Now, they are five points behind the Lions and two points arrears of Philadelphia, who has played one less game.
Although Fire goalkeeper Chris Brady was outstanding against Montreal in recording his seventh clean sheet, he gave up four in a loss to D.C. in their preceding game. Regardless of the lineup head coach Wilfried Nancy goes with, I have no doubt the Crew will be able to score. It’s the other end that worries me. Who will Nancy use on the back line? Because, once substitutions began against Orlando, that’s when the problems started. I doubt he’ll go with the same starters back there as he did Saturday, because a trip to Dallas is looming in just a few days.
When you look at how well the Crew has played at home, they should be able to bounce back and handle a team struggling like Chicago.