Chicago Fire vs Philadelphia Union Preview
By Ben Schuman Stoler in News on Sep 10, 2010 5:45PM
The Fire head into Philly tomorrow afternoon (5PM CST/ FSC) to check out the expansion Union and the new PPL stadium. Philly is racked with injuries all over the place, especially in defense, and hopefully Fire midfielders and whoever starts up top (probably John again) can take advantage this time. Marco Pappa's return should help connect the midfield to attack, too. Last time the two played, the Fire beat Peter Nowak's squad 2-1. This time there's another former Fire staple representing Philly - surely Justin Mapp will want to show the Fire they made a mistake in letting him go.
After yet another disappointing result Wednesday night, Fire coach Carlos de los Cobos said, “It is a pity that we didn't win a game that we deserved it to do so. We have two or three clear opportunities that we weren't able to finish. But, from my point of view, there was an improvement on our defense's performance. The team played strong against a tough team, yet unfortunately, we couldn't win a game, considering the efforts we made on the field."
And yet again we find ourselves caught between the optimism of what look like steady improvements - Nery Castillo's growing fitness and impact, Collins John's renewed dedication to the cause, solid work by DeSean Robinson - and the fact that for all the improvements and additions, the Fire still aren't getting the points they need to make the playoffs.
The fact is that it's hard to know where to put the blame. It's easy to blame players for not taking the opportunities they're given - the Freddie miss (above) sort of sums that up, doesn't it - but the whole team needs to be examined. Speculation is growing about de los Cobos's future, too.
In short, then, pressure is building everywhere. It's not going to get any easier. With nine games left, time's running out.