Chicago Fire: 3 Things learned in shutout loss vs Columbus Crew

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

Three things we learned from the Chicago Fire loss to the Columbus Crew.

On a Thursday evening, the Chicago Fire traveled to the Mapfre Stadium to take on Columbus Crew in the restart of the MLS Season. Here are three things we learned from the Fire’s 3-0 loss to the Crew.

Chicago had a month of preparation for the restart of the season. The Fire look to bounce back after crashing out of the MLS Is Back Tournament in the group stages. Eastern Conference side Columbus Crew had Chicago completely controlled in the first half. In the second half, Chicago would fight back. But lack of effectiveness saw Columbus fire back, sealing the three points for their team.

Here are three things we learned from the Fire’s 3-0 loss to the Crew.

Chicago needs to be better defensively and build confidence

Previously since the start of the 2020 season, we have seen the Fire make defensive errors that have cost them games, and yet once again, it is the same story. With a growing young team full of talents such as 21-year-old Miguel Navarro and 22-year-old homegrown talent Mauricio Pineda, captain Francisco Calvo must take these two players under his wing and help them gain experience and become calmer when defending.

In the game, the Fire played zonal marking in their back four-line inside their own 18-yard box, which led to Derrick Etienne Jr. being unmarked, allowing him to take a free shot on goal which he converted spectacularly. The Fire must be better defensively aware in their half when it comes to defending attacks.

They must also be calmer on defense as Miguel Navarro conceded a rash penalty right before the end of the first half, which thankfully Gyasi Zardes missed. But would make amends scoring before the end of the game. Miguel Navarro has the pace to keep up with fast attacking opposition players, but he needs to be more careful with the tackles that he lunges in for. Better passing from the Fire and more defensive awareness marking their opponents will help them evade attacking worries from opposing teams.

Raphael Wicky’s pressing system is working

Chicago Fire Coach Raphael Wicky decided to change the Fire’s formation to a 4-2-3-1 for tactical flexibility. The fire did look better with Gaston Giminez and Alvaro Medran in the midfield two holding up possession in front of the back four line. Through this pressing system, Chicago was able to shut down Josh Williams from creating too many opportunities for Columbus.

As Chicago presses high up on the field, it helps them create quick counter-attacking opportunities. The Fire do not need much to create opportunities on the break, having players get into the box when a counter-attack starts. If Chicago can find ways to take advantage of their attacking opportunities through their press on defense, this system could be the way for Raphael Wicky from here on out.

Hope for the rebuild of a new Fire team

This Chicago Fire team is full of new faces and young talent. They lost many veterans but are rebuilding a new team and have a good base.

Columbus was only in control in the first 20 minutes of the game, in which they also scored. But Chicago did create excellent opportunities putting pressure on Columbus, causing them to have to defend and keep possession in their own half. They had more shots than Columbus and had relatively almost about the same amount of possession as Columbus. Columbus is a good team both in defensive and attack. The 3-0 loss doesn’t capture the entirety of the game.

Ignacio Aliseda is a young, wonderfully talented player with blistering pace. He needs to be better when striking his shot in the final third. If Aliseda can find a way to link up with Beric up forward and Frankowski, partnering with Mihailovic on the wings effectively, Chicago Fire will have a tremendous attacking output from their midfield and forwards and will be able to scare their opponents from their counter attacks.

Chicago needs to continue to build off this game with its good high pressing system. Chicago must continue to build their confidence in the future to become lethal in the final third. Once Chicago finds their rhythm, they will be okay. They created many excellent opportunities against a good defensive Columbus team. Things should click for Raphel Wicky’s side soon.