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 Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Reason Two for Similar Outcomes for the Fire and Red Stars -They Were Who We Thought They Were

Going into each tournament, both teams’ weaknesses were fairly well known, and those weaknesses proved to be the most glaring problem all the way through. The Chicago Red Stars obviously needed to fill a Kerr-shaped hole at the top of the formation, and in the end, they never really did.

Kealia Ohai was potent at moving the ball into the attack, and Rachel Hill found the space to cross the ball, but the offense still felt lacking in the final shot. The player who most closely resembled a true striker was Savannah McCaskill in the game against Sky Blue FC, where she picked up a goal and an assist. Otherwise, much of the offense came from the defense, further reinforcing the predicted weakness in the attack.

The Chicago Fire had a different, less stated weakness. One that most fans preferred to just not think about. That was in goalkeeping. Since the Fire’s creation, they would consistently have some of the best goalkeeping in the league, with Zach Thornton giving way to Matt Pickens, Jon Busch, and then Sean Johnson.

Since Johnson was traded away back in 2016, the team has severely lacked in that area of the pitch, and fans have seen so many goalkeepers walk in and out of the starting spot. This time, it’s Kenneth Kronholm, who gave up five goals on six shots on target. That is a terrible save rate, and watching some of these goals are incredibly frustrating in the way that he positions himself.

While there were other issues for both teams, the main weakness was something that didn’t just come out of nowhere. These issues were well known going into the tournament, but the hope was that they would either be ignored or the expected quality around them would overcome the deficiencies.