Coming off a 4-0 loss at home and sitting in 13th place in the Eastern Conference is not a place you want to be almost 10 games in. 

Despite the seemingly great offseason, no one expected the Fire to jump right into contention for the MLS Cup; most were just happy to be expecting the playoffs.

Needless to say, things have not gone to plan, and last week’s embarrassing home loss at the hands of Real Salt Lake has had many fans and analysts saying the Fire’s playoff drought will surely continue.

If people are this pessimistic before the ten-game mark hits, clearly, there are issues at hand, so let’s break down what can be identified as the main issues. 

2nd Most Goals Allowed


Perhaps the most glaring issue so far is the defense. On paper, it doesn’t look like the second-worst defense in the league; Arigoni and Gutman, when both healthy, could be a top ten or top five Fullback duo in the league, and Chris Brady is one of the league’s best keepers despite his young age. It just seems like every game, there’s a dumb giveaway leading to a goal or a man not being marked in a dangerous position. Gutman needs to get healthy, the center backs need to step up their play, Brady needs to show those spectacular saves he showed so much last season, and the dumb gift-wrapped goals to the other teams need to stop. It’s completely fixable, and the defense has potential, but as of so far, one clean sheet for the whole season is just not good enough. 

Hugo Cuypers’ Struggles

Without a doubt, the Belgian was the biggest signing of the offseason. The long-awaited DP #9 Chicago needed the fix to the offensive problems, or at least we thought… It can be argued that Hugo Cuypers’ isn’t at fault one bit for his lack of production, and rather it’s the team around him and the tactics that are the problem, but whatever the case is, Hugo has two goals and only a grand total of five shots on target through nine starts.

Your most expensive player in club history, averaging one shot on target per every two games, is almost horrendous, no matter how you look at it. Cuypers is the guy we need; his track record in Belgium proves it, but he needs to find a way to get involved more ASAP, and Klopas’ staff is responsible for solving this as well.

Predictable, Bland Tactics

Frank Klopas is a very loved guy throughout the whole club. He’s a former player regarded as a Fire legend and has all the passion in the world for the club. But he’s slowly starting to prove to the majority of the fan base that he may be better suited as a motivational assistant coach, just as he was before. The product on the field seems predictable, mostly the offense, as it seems like the plan is one-dimensional a lot of the time.

Yes, you can blame the players who are the ones doing the actual playing, but the roster seems a little too good on paper to be sitting at two wins in nine games, making it almost impossible not to point a finger at the tactics.

The Good News: It’s The MLS

What I mean by this is that the Fire is fortunately in the only league in the world where if a team just goes on form in the last couple of months of play, they can win the whole thing (I am not saying they will, just technically speaking).

A start like this would be a nightmare in a league with only a couple of promotion spots or one champion spot up for grabs, but in MLS, over half the league makes the playoffs.

If the Fire can just patch up their problems and avoid health issues by the middle of the season, there is still hope something can be made out of this season to end the long-awaited playoff drought.


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