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 Fire
Chicago Fire (Photo by Timothy Bouwer/ISI Photos/Getty Images) /

Reason Three for Similar Outcomes for the Fire and Red Stars -Questionable Coaches

Something that also seemed to get highlighted in the way the tournaments shaped out for both teams was that the coaching on display raised a lot of eyebrows within their respective fan bases.

The Chicago Red Stars’ head coach Rory Dames seemed to approach the NWSL Challenge Cup as if it were a preseason cup, putting out almost a complete B-Team in the second game of the preliminary round.

That wouldn’t be quite as much of a problem as the line-up he chose for the final, which saw him moving Bianca St. Georges to left back and placing Zory Goralski at right back. St. Georges had had a stand-out tournament so far, culminating in an amazing game against Sky Blue FC in the semi-final where her work on the right side with Watt was a massive difference-maker.

So moving her to the opposite side made very little sense, as Goralski was equally uncomfortable on either side. In fact, it might’ve even been better to place Goralski at center back and Sarah Gorden at left back to replace the injured Casey Short. In the end, we can only wonder if Goralski would’ve still conceded the early penalty if she were at center back.

Much like the rest of the team, Raphael Wicky was hired relatively late into the process for the Chicago Fire, only signing with the club after Christmas last year. Wicky came in with somewhat mixed reviews.

While he’s a young coach who had some success coaching FC Basel in the Champion’s League, he also was one of the first coaches in recent Basel history not to win the league. It was tough to judge him in the early games of the season as he worked with a fairly limited roster. But at the #MLSisBack tournament, his strange decisions started popping up.

The decision to play guys like Elliot Collier and Fabian Herbers over more highly-rated players like homegrown Djordje Mihailovic and new Designated Player Nacho Aliseda left a lot of fans scratching their heads and asking questions.

In the end, this may be all the Chicago soccer we get in 2020. With the COVID-19 Pandemic still shutting down America and much of the world, it’s unlikely that we will get much more soccer in general.

The NWSL doesn’t seem to have any plans for a real season this year after the Challenge Cup, and while MLS has dates scheduled for teams in their home markets, MLB is proving that working without a bubble is not very effective.

So much for a Miracle Summer…