Photo by Jeff Vorva
Bastian Schweinsteiger argues with the officials after the Fire was upset, 2-1, by expansion team Minnesota on Saturday night in Bridgeview.
CHICAGO FIRE AT MONTREAL IMPACT
WHEN: 6 p.m., Saturday
WHERE: Stade Saputo, Montreal
FIRE’S RECORD: 12-9-5
MONTREAL’S RECORD: 10-9-6
NOTEWORTHY: The Fire’s last road game was in Montreal and the Impact pulled off a 3-0 on Aug. 16 victory to drop Chicago’s record on the road to 2-7-4.
The face of the Fire was not smiling much on Saturday night.
Bastian Schweinsteiger, the man with the million-watt and million-dollar smile, had a lot of frowns and scowls as the Fire dropped a 2-1 decision to Minnesota United FC in front of an announced crowd of 18,048 at Toyota Park. It’s the Fire’s fourth straight loss and sixth setback in its last seven games and second straight loss in Bridgeview. And it came to an expansion team that entered the night 6-14-4 and was tied with Colorado for the worst record in Major League Soccer.
The Fire still entered this week in relatively decent shape for a playoff appearance as it was in fourth place in the East Division with a 12-9-5 mark, but the downward spiral is getting to the players.
Schweinsteiger kicked the ball in disgust at halftime when the Fire was trailing 2-0 (thanks to two Abu Danladi goals) and gave the referees and earful. He was whistled for a yellow card at the 84th minute and after the game he appeared to give officials a sarcastic handshake before barking at them some more.
Despite his frustrations, he was named by the fans as the Man of the Match.
The German star did not talk to the media after the game and the gloomy locker room was only broken up by aggravation. Agitated Dax McCarty wants the team to get back on the same level it was when it was tied with Toronto with the MLS’s best record in July.
"We've always had a sense of urgency but clearly now, with the way things have gone in the last couple of games, I think that needs to be ramped up to another level,” he said. “The playoffs are certainly not a certainty right now so we need to make sure we stay positive and try to get back on the right track."
McCarty joined the U.S. Men’s National Team Monday and will miss Saturday’s action at Montreal.
The Fire outshot Minnesota 20-8 and had a 57-percent possession advantage but those two usually important stats did not produce a victory.
"I am worried, I'm actually not happy with the performance on defense,’’ Fire coach Veljko Paunovic said. “We concede very easy goals, I think we can always go back and see the individual mistakes but also the collective mistakes and both are what kills us. However, we're working on that. Today the back line worked very well actually as a unit. But those individual mistakes we couldn't fix in those moments. We have to get back to where we have more clean sheets, especially at home. That's our goal, that's something that has to become the priority and were working on that."
David Accam scored his 14th goal of the season (with an assist from Schweinsteiger) to stay hot. Nemanja Nikolic, however, is scoreless in eight straight games after opening up his Fire career with 16 goals in the first 18 games.