Fast start imperative for USMNT

On June 10, the USA beat reigning world champions Germany 3-2 in their own backyard, backing up a victory over Holland five days earlier, and all seemed rosy in the garden of Jurgen Klinsmann.

Fast forward five months, and those roses have started to wilt. The joys of summer have been replaced by the concerns of autumn, with it possible that a winter of discontent lies ahead.

A semi-final showing at the Gold Cup was the least that was expected, but failure to overcome Panama – for a second time in the competition – in the third place play-off rather compounded the misery of a last-four reversal against Jamaica.Continue Reading

Seb Hines helps get good form to Orlando City

A major reason for the good form shown by Orlando City in the new MLS campaign has been the presence of defender Seb Hines. He has been virtually unshakeable in the defence and it has contributed to the team making a challenge for the final series.

As the team plans for the upcoming friendly match against West Brom and other English clubs, Hines claims that the numerous injury problems suffered by his squad will not change their will to win. Orlando are expected to have an advantage over West Brom, whose players have just returned from summer holidays.

On the other hand, Orlando City are in the middle of their campaign. Even though there will be signs of exhaustion from the players, they are also likely to be much more difficult than the counterparts. Due to the injury situation, there are suggestions that manager Adrian Heath will go for a new partnership forHines.The 27-year-old has claimed that he is not worried about playing with a new defender at the back, as he is confident of establishing a partnership sooner rather than later. He has featured in 16 games over the course of the campaign. Only 20-year-old defender Rafael Ramos has played in more games this campaign.Continue Reading

Three statement signings the Fire should consider

The number of world-renowned soccer players moving to the MLS over the past 12 months seems to have reached an all-time high. Yet somehow the arrival of all this talent has passed Chicago Fire by.

The MLS is now able to boast the likes of Kaka, Andrea Pirlo, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba and David Villa in its ranks, but there is a feeling the Fire remain on the outside looking in when it comes to all this talent.Continue Reading

How can Chicago Fire improve

After 22 matches, Chicago Fire are currently bottom of the MLS’ Eastern Conference and have recorded just 23 points so far – the lowest across the entire MLS. Head coach Frank Yallop’s position is in serious jeopardy but Chicago’s lowly league position isn’t necessarily solely down to the coach’s mistakes. Simply put, their players haven’t been good enough. However, the Fire’s supporters will be full of optimism looking ahead to next season, knowing that it cannot get any worse than it already is.

Bizarrely, Chicago can still reach the playoffs despite currently sitting at the bottom of MLS’ two divisions. In theory, it’s very unlikely that this will happen but stranger things have happened. Chicago Fire are priced at around 200/1 to win the MLS Cup with betfair and other betting websites, which would require them to put together an incredible run of form in the regular season before beating the league’s best teams throughout the playoffs. This is incredibly unlikely and, to ensure that they have the best possible chance of success next season, the Fire should begin to focus on improving their squad in the near future.

Chicago have shown glimpses throughout the season, but unfortunately glimpses just aren’t enough to reach the postseason. In an ever-improving MLS, Yallop’s side must invest heavily in the offseason to stand any chance of challenging for the MLS Cup next term. While it may be counter-productive to even suggest that the Fire can compete for a second MLS Cup success after their poor season, they could certainly challenge for a playoff position with astute spending in the transfer market. This season hasn’t been a complete disaster though, and Chicago can hold their heads high after their impressive US Open Cup run. Although they lost out to Philadelphia Union in the semi-finals, they more than held their own throughout the competition.

There’s no doubt that Chicago Fire have had a disappointing season yet there are still positive signs that suggest they could improve next season. Their impressive run in the US Open Cup has not gone unnoticed and, although Yallop’s position as head coach remains under threat, the squad will believe that they are capable of putting together a good run of form next season. With a bit of luck and a couple of transfers, Chicago could profit in 2016 and may be the surprise package in the MLS.

Michael Parkhurst stated that he was left extremely disappointed

Columbus Crew defender Michael Parkhurst stated that he was left extremely disappointed with Chicago Fire managing a very late equaliser in the recent 2-2 draw between the two teams.

It looked like the home team were heading for three easy points after managing to open a two-goal advantage after the 55th minute. Kei Kamara had scored both goals in the match up until that point, but the game was made one-sided towards the end after Chicago Fire made some crucial changes that resulted in the team getting a point.Parkhurst then revealed that Columbus should have been far more clinical in attack from here on.

The game could have been very different had Columbus taken advantage of the several counter-attacking opportunities that would have seen the score go to 3-1 rather than 2-2. Even though they have taken a point that keeps them with other teams like New York Red Bulls and Orlando City, this appears to have given the Columbus players a sense of defeat. Gregg Berhalter said after the defeat that the players were devastated that a game that seemed close to being three points resulted in a draw. Midfielder Justin Meram said that Columbus tried to control the threat from Chicago but they were simply unable to deal with the long balls that came their way.Continue Reading