Red Bulls hand Fire seventh straight loss

The Fire's slim playoff hopes slid further into the distance after a seventh consecutive loss in league play and eight overall against MLS competition. Following Wednesday night's US Open Cup disappointment, both Nemanja Nikolic and Aleksandar Katai started on the bench.

The Fire mustered one shot one goal but played a more cohesive defensive game with Bastian Schweinsteiger again deployed as a third centerback. Bradley Wright Phillips scored in the 55th minute following a Dax McCarty turnover to provide all of the scoring in the contest.

Michael de Leeuw made his long awaited return from injury in the 73rd minute.

The 1-0 defeat dropped their record to 6-14-5 on the season.

Fire line-up

Sanchez; Hasler, Kappelhof, Schweinsteiger, Vincent, Corrales; Conner, McCarty, Bronico (Katai 58'), Edwards (Nikolic 61'); Solignac (de Leeuw 73')

Subs not used: Cleveland, Mihailovic, Gordon, Dean

Filed under: 2018 regular season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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    Blah, blah, blah same old bullshit from Pauno. This is getting old, this asshole has to go. Please take NRod and Andi with him.


  • Dax's words just summed up the entire CF97 experience: awful.
    I feel bad for him, a player of his abilities stuck in this spot.

    I'm glad that he at least gave a mention of the supporter/FO situation (in light of all circumstances.)

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    Listening to Pauno's interview, let's hope they found that firm set of mind that they desperately needed near the end of last season.

    Here's hoping.

  • There's reason to be less than hopeful. From July 5, 2017 through the season ending playoff loss to the Red Bulls the Fire were 5W-9L-3D. This year in all competitions, MLS and Open Cup, they are 9W-15L-5D.

    With a combined record of 14W-24L-8D over the past 13 months there's adequate reason to question just how firm that set of mind can be.

  • My frustration with the front office and coaching has reached a point I never thought possible. Every game the team tries a new gimmick to thwart the opposition's attack. Having Schweinsteiger basically man marking BWP was just another gimmick that failed. Part of the reason the team does not play in sync might be due to the constantly changing formations and tactics. The Fire needs a coach/manager that will impose a style of play on his players rather than shifting the style of play week in and week out based on the opposition.

    Every week its a guessing game as to who will play where and what formation will be used. How can a team getnin sync if they are constantly being asked to perform different roles. I feel really bad for these players having to put up with this. Playing for a coach who has to adjust tactics every week and often during each game really just sends a message that he does not have confidence in his players. Why play for him then?

  • In reply to Krasov:

    100% agree. Pauno needs to read a book or two on sports psychology. Professional athletes are not PhD's, MBA's, MD's etc. They have trained their whole life to one do thing one, excel at a physical activity based upon structure and repetition. With that comes familiarity with their expectations in their role on the field. When that is constantly tinkered with, they are not at optimal performance.
    His constant changes are not helping them to perform at their best.

    He also was touted as someone who can develop young talent, last year we saw flashes of promise in DJ and Connor, this year both rotting on the bench.

    I as a fan was glad to see him when he came on board, he was energetic and optimistic, he was everything Yallop wasn't. But he has failed, terribly, he needs to go.

  • In reply to Fireman1:

    I think that the Fire's current structure makes player development difficult. Players who are not ready to play on the big stage of the first team can only improve their game if there is a reserve team. Rodriguez continues to insist that the Fire don't need a reserve team, so that leaves the coach (any coach, not just Paunovic) in a dilemma, because his performance is judged by wins and losses.

    Forcing a young player into the first team and seeing whether he sinks or swims is not development. If the player somehow survives and becomes a contributor, great. If not, he becomes a roster player who helps makes up the numbers. He gets to the end of his contract, the Fire decline his option, and they move on to the next draftee who has to sink or swim.

    We'll never know if such a player was ever going to be good enough because the club's structure doesn't provide the opportunity to develop if he's not quite ready.

    OTOH, trying to "develop" a 21-year-old college player is already a little late. A properly run academy should be pumping out talented teenagers ready to step into the first team. But the Fire don't have that either.

  • In reply to StaryByk3:

    I kind of get the impression that our academy system does create a decent amount of talent, but they're smart enough to not sign with the first team after seeing what has happened during the Hauptman years.
    A USL team, from a purely developmental standpoint would make sense, but what do I know, right?

  • In reply to Fireman1:

    DJ must be the worst practice player of all time. The fact that he can't get any minutes with our severe lack of a wide player is crazy to me.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Pauno appears to have clear favorites or extreme tunnel vision. Or Pauno wants to play him out of his natural position and he cannot do what is being asked of him.

    If I were a potential homegrown player I would stay as far away from this team as possible under the current stewardship of the team.

  • This team and players have NEVER believed in Pauno the moment he came into town. Worse coach in the MLS. Period.

  • In reply to FutbolJunky:

    I've been saying this since the middle of his first season. He is in way over his head with running a professional team. There isn't a single player who has improved in the last 3 seasons. Literally every player has performed worse under him. He still thinks it's cool to be "flexible" and play at the opponents weakness. The main problem with his philosophy is that he never addresses OUR weaknesses. It's frustrating to watch a team with some decent talent perform so miserably. The second he is no longer the manager, we will instantly be a better team.

  • GR, when is your piece on Mansueto's purchase coming? I cannot wait to read it. Will you answer this question: Why would someone pay potentially 10s of millions of dollars to be a minority owner? I don't think having access to the VIP parking lot is worth that much.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    Especially when that spot is still most likely gravel...

  • In reply to Krasov:

    I will address that question. I'm looking to get that out some time in September. I want to cover all angles on that one.

  • I really don't think Pauno is the problem. I don't think he is a great coach , but they are certainly more disciplined and conditioned. I do think he plays people out of position, but in the case of Vincent he seems to be at least making some improvements. The real problem is that the Fire seem intent on scouring the Lithuanian league and the Lichtenstein national team for talent and not identifying better players. Look at the team they have been sending out there lately, which contains players that they cut or sent down to USL. If you watch some of the other MLS games, and since you have to get ESPN + to watch the Fire now, you see that so many teams have really talented South American players; Portland, DC, Dallas and Houston, not to mention a host of others. All we can get in Latin players is a very average forward and some guy from Olimpio in Honduras who they immediately send to Indy?

    I know everyone worships Dax but he is playing like crap and looks old and tired. Hungarian striker was a one off wonder, and the only real player they have is Bastian. He should get man of the match every single time he suits up. The disappointing thing about this year is that they didn't do a damn thing in the offseason when they knew they had serious injuries. And even given all that, they would be still close to a playoff spot with a decent keeper. The ownership has screwed up the fan base by not giving them something worthwhile to come and see and wtf is going on with these supporter group issues too? Its total chaos.

  • In reply to Dstep:

    This is the most talented team we have had in years. You say Dax has played like crap but then praise Bastian like he is some world beater. If connecting passes is your criteria then he is a world beater. He floats around the field and doesn’t do much either. Is he our best player, yes. Is he a great player, yes. Can he win a match for us, clearly not. He was probably playing the most long balls on Saturday. This team is so one dimensional because of the way Pauno has them playing. Last week we played with 5 in the back, two defensive midfielders, and Bronco playing as a center mid. Then we played sideways passes until we were under so much pressure that we played a long ball to nobody, for the entire match. Right now we play no differently than we did under yallop. Can’t defend, can’t connect 5 passes in a row, and can’t score. The only difference is yallop had cocis, igboananike, Fondy, Gilberto, adailton, Harrington, Stephens to work with. Pauno plays the same way as yallop with Bastian, Dax, Niko, Katai, Kap, and Vincent. Pauno will go down as the worst coach in Fire history and he would do it with the second most talented squad in history.

  • In reply to Dstep:

    We all know AH is part of the problem, but at the very least he cut the checks to get us some talent, the people he ha hired to build and improve it have failed.


    If you were given a MLS fantasy team with Dax, Scheinie, Katai, Niko and MdL as starters, throw in Gordo, Lucho, and a healthy Pollster as subs, you would be quite happy.

    On paper this team should be able to produce, on the field? That falls on VP. Young talent who trains everyday with the above mentioned but not improved enough (in his opinion) to get significant minutes, that falls on VP. Playing players out of position with ineffective results, that falls on VP. (Don't we all despise JK for ruining the USMNT by doing the exact same thing? This guy does not get a pass)

    Above mentioned players were good signings by NR, but still not enough. Still no true CAM, still no true MLS level keeper, still no CB replacement for Meira. That falls on NR. If the kids we have are not good enough in their opinion, then replace with those that are, that falls on NR. There are literally thousands of players capable of playing MLS, many right here in the US, but the scouting cant find them and instead gives us du Prados, Bavas and Arshakyians, that falls on NR.

  • I, too, agree that Pauno is not the problem. I'll even go so far as to say that NR is not the problem though his professorial pomposity is grating.

    To me the problem is Hauptman. He either doesn't have the money to spend, or more likely, is unwilling to spend it. I can't believe that if he told NR to go out and get players equivalent to the leading MLS teams that NR wouldn't do it. It seems far more likely to me that NR has been given a budget and he has to figure out how to work within it, e.g. the 'value' proposition to which he keeps referring.

    Hauptman has now had this team for 11 years and every regime has had the same problem, e.g. they didn't bring in enough quality players to be competitive. If that truly bothered Hauptman he could have fixed that years ago. But he hasn't and I believe that's telling.

  • In reply to Marlin:

    No fan here of AH, he has a history of cheapness. But, can't believe I am defending him now, the Fire have 4th highest payroll in MLS, somewhere north of 13mil. He actually spent this year, and we are getting the same results when payroll wasn't even close to the current. That s on the manager.

  • I also believe that a competitive USL team in a downtown Chicago stadium is a dagger pointed directly at the heart of the Fire. That they have spent all season alienating their fan base via a poor performing team and banning supporter groups is unfathomable to me. Again, if that truly bothered Hauptman he could put an end to it immediately.

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