The (Alleged) Embers Under the Fire

As a man who tries to tell the truth at least 80% of the time, I’m not going to lie to you: I turned off the Houston Dynamo’s romp over the Chicago Fire after Nate Jaqua scored. More than the tinges of paranoia telling me that Jaqua scoring some augurs the Apocalypse, I turned off the game because I knew the Fire had, at most, one goal in them against a defense as stout as Houston’s.

Naturally, this means I missed Joseph Ngwenya’s super-sharp goal - seriously, find the video on this one (easy to find from here); it’s worth the look (assuming you can find your way past the Wall of Beckham).

All y’all know by now that the Fire never scored: worse, the Dynamo added yet another goal after Ngwenya’s.

With the Dynamo on a run nothing short of ominous, the key talking point from this game concerns Chicago; specifically, the view I share with’s Ian Plenderleith that, “the Fire didn’t play too badly for the first hour.” That’s the take-away for me: the Fire aren’t doomed; here and there, flashes of a competent team show. For instance,’s match report noted a slick back-heel from Thiago that freed Chris Armas in the area. I think "dead to rights" is overdoing it, but regardless as to whether Armas should have shot, he instead raced the end line with Chad Barrett shadowing him; in a move indicative of the disconnect between Fire players, Barrett took one seam while Armas, who pulled the ball back deeper than Barrett’s, took another. What looked like a near-certain goal fizzled to nothing....again.

The point is some decent parts are there for the Fire; someone only needs to connect them. Maybe this is Juan Carlos Osorio, maybe not. This isn’t to say the Fire can be made title contenders - I don’t think they’ve got the talent for that and their central midfield, with all due respect, is ancient - but they can become a respectable team before the season’s end.

And that should make some teams, particularly Eastern Conference teams, a little nervous.


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