Before the game, Pimiento and I sat down to record the second edition of our Crosstown Podcast. We discussed Friday’s upcoming match between the U.S. and Colombia. In addition to Copa América, we touched base on the USWNT’s current financial situation (will they strike?), updates on the Chicago Fire, and the status of the Chicago Red Stars, as they USWNT prepare for the Olympics.
Until next time, stay up-to-date on the latest soccer news by following Pimiento and me on Twitter.
Now that David Accam has returned from injury, the Fire have added their most dangerous attacking threat back to the starting eleven. Accam and Kennedy Igboananike have looked dangerous together in recent matches. If their on-field chemistry continues, more goals scoring opportunities from these two are sure to come.
Coach Veljko Paunović has several options to use at center mid, and he’s certainly taken advantage of trying a variety of them there this season. My instinct is for Paunovic to start newly signed Khaly Thiam, Matt Polster, and Razvan Cocis in the center, while also keeping Joao Meira, Michael Stephens, and Arturo Alvarez as dependable options too.
As a recent signing, it would be wasteful not to start Thiam on a regular basis. His skillset and size could be an important factor for the Fire’s midfield line.
Many fans have been unhappy with Meira’s play this season. He seems more comfortable playing in front of the backline rather than as a defender. However, with so many viable options to start at center mid, it will be a challenging position for Meira to crack on a regular basis.
Polster holding strong at center mid against the Portland Timbers.
Sean Johnson or Matt Lampson? This question has lingered since the very beginning of the 2016 season for the Chicago Fire. Lampson has started nine games, and Johnson has started three. My heart says Johnson, and stats certainly don’t lie.
The Chicago Fire have won the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup (USOC) four times (1998, 2000, 2003, 2006) since joining Major League Soccer in 1998, and they’ve been the runner-up twice (2004, 2011). They’ve even been known as Kings of the Cup.
On Wednesday, Indy Eleven defeated Louisville City FC 2-1 to move onto the fourth round of the USOC play. This is their third appearance in the USOC tournament and their second time playing in the fourth round. This time around, Indy will meet the Chicago Fire on June 15 at Toyota Park.
Indy and Chicago have only met once before in a friendly match on April 1, 2014, where the Fire won 3-1. This made the Chicago Fire as inaugural champions of the Schlabst Cup – the Schlabst Cup was born due to Peter Wilt’s (more on Wilt below) invention of Schlabst, best known as Milwaukee’s black and tan – a combination of Schlitz beer and Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Section 8 Chicago cheering the Chicago Fire on in the Fire’s first meeting with Indy Eleven in Indiana in 2014. Photo credit: Section 8 Chicago
It may not sound like these two teams have a lot in common, but they do. Indy Eleven and Chicago Fire have several connections that make this matchup an exciting one. I asked a few key participants some questions about the upcoming matchup. Let’s take a look at what they had to say…
Thanks to Twitter I’ve been fortunate to connect with countless fans of the Chicago Fire that I may have never met otherwise. Jeff Krause is one of those fans. A few years ago Krause and I connected on Twitter over the Chicago Fire and the Chicago Red Stars. Since then we’ve gotten to know one another at Section 8 Chicago tailgates and Fire watch parties.
Not only is Krause a Fire fan, he is also a freelance writer, who is best known for his contribution to Chicagoland Soccer News and Fire Confidential Live covering the Chicago Fire.
I appreciate Krause taking the time to talk about his experience as a soccer blogger. I hope you enjoy getting to know him as much as I did.
Your Twitter bio says that you are a freelance writer – When did you start freelancing and what inspired you to do so?
JK: As far as specifically freelance writing, I really only started doing so in the last year. Up to that point, all my previous writing was through another site, however doing so has afforded me the opportunity to contract out some work as a writer, which is when I added “freelance” to my writing resume.
You have been contributing at Chicagoland Soccer News – Who else have you freelanced for, and are there any other blogs/sites that you contribute to?
I recently had the opportunity to interview Rivera. I hope you enjoy getting to know the man behind Fire Confidential as much as I did.
When did you first start Fire Confidential?
GR: Fire Confidential was started in 2009 as part of Chicago Tribune’s ChicagoNow blogging community. The Fire Confidential blog essentially replaced the Tribune’s “Red Card” blog, which was written by their last full-time soccer reporter, Luis Arroyave. Luis was reassigned to the Entertainment and Nightlife beat and the Trib decided not to replace him with a full-time soccer reporter. The original Fire Confidential writer was Sam Stejskal, who is now a contributor at MLSsoccer.com. I commented more frequently than other commenters on both blogs and began interaction with Sam via Fire Confidential.
What motivated you to start Fire Confidential?
GR: I didn’t technically “start” it, although the content is somewhat different than it originally was presented. Early in 2010, Sam received and accepted an offer to begin covering the Fire for MLSsoccer.com. This left a void and the Trib/ChicagoNow apparently had no one in mind to replace him. I felt that there wasn’t any other outlet available to Fire fans for actual coverage of the club and didn’t want the work that Luis and Sam put into reporting go to waste. I felt that “real”, daily Fire coverage was about to disappear, and I didn’t want that to happen.
I had an idea in mind of how the blog should be presented. I thought that there should be an outlet that covered and discussed the Fire in the same manner that all other major sports teams in the city were handled. It didn’t exist anywhere else in this market. Although the Sun-Times and Daily Herald had reporters assigned to the team – space and coverage was still limited.
I reached out to Sam and he put me in touch with ChicagoNow’s community manager, Jimmy Greenfield, and I pitched him my idea. He was more than happy to find someone who seemed passionate about covering the team, especially at the rates that were being offered, and he handed me the keys to the blog in April of 2010. My motivation for taking over Fire Confidential was based almost entirely on my feeling and desire to keep Fire discussion alive in someplace more mainstream than message boards like BigSoccer.
The Chicago Fire are in the middle of a long away game stretch, they have four games in 11 days, three of these games are on the road. Unfortunately, for the Men in Red, they’ve already lost these first two games and will now face New York Red Bulls on Wednesday.