Chicago Fire and Red Stars: What went wrong?

he Chicago Fire - (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
he Chicago Fire - (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Red Stars
Chicago Red Stars – (Photo by Rob Gray/ISI Photos/Getty Images). /

Reality Check for the Red Stars and the Fire

I was right to point out that the Chicago Red Stars would struggle to find someone to take up the goal-scoring mantle from the departing Sam Kerr. The team not only saw a lack of goals, but a lack of shots in general. After Orlando’s withdrawal led to a schedule change for Chicago (a theme from this summer), the Red Stars suddenly had to face some of the toughest teams in the league, losing to the Washington Spirit and North Carolina Courage, only picking up their four points against the Portland Thorns and Utah Royals.

This didn’t deter the team too much as they would grind their way through the knockout round, surpassing the OL Reign on penalties and finally showing a finishing touch in a 3-2 victory over Sky Blue FC. In the end, however, injuries and fatigue caught up to the Red Stars, and they fell in the final against the Houston Dash.

The Chicago Fire wouldn’t get as close to my predictions. Also, getting a schedule change due to withdrawing teams, the Fire ended up getting a rematch against the Seattle Sounders. With the new and seemingly improved team, the Fire dismantled Seattle in a 2-1 victory.

After the game, it seemed like the league finally took notice, even giving Chicago top 5 odds to win the entire tournament. Then, the team fell apart in the second game against San Jose, losing 2-0 as the defense buckled.

However, the Fire were still almost guaranteed a spot in the knockout round of the tournament, as long as they didn’t lose by more than one goal to Vancouver, a team now using their third-string goalkeeper. Despite sending everything they had forward and out-shooting the Whitecaps 27-4, Chicago would lose focus after a long rain delay and lost the game 2-0, eliminating them in the group stage.

Going into their respective tournaments, both teams had a very similar outlook: a team with something to prove that no one really knew anything about. And in turn, their outcomes were very similar. Here are three reasons why: