In the highly anticipated “Return to Red” home opener, the Fire fell short to visitors FC Cincinnati 2-1.

Chicago Fire can't overcome mistakes, lose 2-1 to FC Cincinnati in home opener - On Tap Sports Net

The lone goal came from Shaqiri off a penalty and Cincinnati’s goals were scored by Aaron Boupendza and Miles Robinson. While the team’s performance wasn’t the best and the Fire remain winless, the red uniforms were great to see again, the attendance was great, and a close game against one of the league’s best teams isn’t all bad.

Too Early to Panic

Yes, it’s not the start to the season we all wanted. Especially after all the offseason hype and what seems like good signings on paper. But, Fire faithful need to remind themselves that MLS has given us an absolute nightmare start to the season in terms of opponent difficulty. First three games being Philadelphia (Top 4 Eastern Conference Team), and Cincy (2023 Supporters Shield Winners) and Columbus (Reigning MLS Champs). Although the offseason was a step in the right direction, I don’t think even the most optimistic fan was expecting to make the jump to a contending powerhouse, or at least not this soon without letting the team build chemistry. As long as the Fire remain competitive in these games and we see progress, especially with the new guys, then I am content. After this three game stretch though, the training wheels are off and I expect to see a win against Montreal on the 16th.

 

Defensive Woes and Lack of Cuypers Production

It’s no secret that the Fire backline didn’t exactly have a great game. I’ve seen some say that if it wasn’t for Chris Brady’s  performance, Cincinnati could’ve easily at minimum put one more goal in the back of the net, and I agree. The first goal allowed was a total blunder by Czichos, and the second was classic Fire set piece defending. In total, the Fire allowed 14 shots, 6 of them being on target.

MLS: FC Cincinnati at Chicago Fire FC | Fieldlevel | rockdalenewtoncitizen.com

The other glaring weakness was the lack of ability to get Hugo Cuypers the ball. He once again wasn’t able to get a shot off, and only had a couple plays in the final third on the ball. It seems like in the 180ish minutes he’s played this season he’s been sent lazy lobs and short direct passes only. As a number 9 and sole, you rely on your teammates to put in you in the position to score goals, and the team hasn’t been able to do that for him yet. Once we unlock Cuypers I think the offense will get a lot more creative and we’ll see more shots on goals from the whole team.

 

The Fire’s next game is at Columbus next Saturday at 6:30 PM Central.

 

 

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