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Fire Mon Apr 21 2008

Soccer is Weird

The Chicago Fire lost their first game of the season, despite playing some of their most impressive soccer of the season. More than any other sport, soccer’s funny like that – a team can dominate most of the game and still lose. And before anyone starts talking about it being unfair, they should take a trip in a time machine to last week and have a chat with a San Jose fan.

So the good thing about this week’s performance – not just Blanco created chances. Barrett and Frankowski continued some of their almost telepathic combination play, and even Justin Mapp looked moderately active. Blanco, of course, was still Blanco.

The bad thing about this week - they didn’t finish those chances. It looked like the whole team took a trip in a time machine to last season, when profligate finishing almost caused the Fire to miss out on the playoffs. As a one-off it’s not a big deal. At every level, team’s have days like that. The worry is that it could get in the team’s head, like it obviously did last year when every single Fire player approached a chance at goal like a golfer with a case of the yips (hey, golfers, is that a real thing or did I just see it in a golf movie?). Nothing embodied that more than Chad Barrett whose frustrated, pained body language was a hallmark of the team's shortcomings last season. Yesterday, Chad missed a whopper of a chance in the 40th minute, but still played well throughout the game and showed the improved decision making we've seen from all season. It really looks like he's grown up a lot in the offseason, as this postgame quote about missing the missed chance indicates:

"It's not as bad as it used to be. I know I can score and I know everything's going to be fine. It's just one day - one bad day and we lose. And it's probably the sickest feeling to lose at home especially to a team that we have dominated here."

Maybe the more worrying thing is how disjointed and outright tired the team looked after Denis Hamlet made his three substitutions.

 
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