May was a month for the books in Chicago. Schweinsteiger and co. managed to go undefeated and create a soccer buzz in the Windy City. With the road trip drought fading away, it looks like The Men in Red are finally stable on the right side of the red line. Draws against LA on the road paired with wins against Seattle, Colorado, DC(away) and Dallas adds up to 13 points in the 5 games. That plus Nemaja Nicolic’s player of the month, 6 goal performance gives Fire fans a real reason for optimism.
The teams undefeated streak can be credited to much more than just Nicolic’s goal scoring record. The breakout of Brandon Vincent as an attacking fullback and Matt Polster covering the former hole of Michael Harrington has really highlighted the talent gluing together.
As a perfect May came to an end, the away trip to Orlando managed to both ground and excite me at the same time. First the good, with the undefeated streak away from home reaching three, it is difficult to say there is much of a stigma for the Fire on the road like in recent seasons. On the other hand, did Orlando figure out Paunovic? Jason Kreis’s team didn’t need 11 or even 10 men to keep the shutout. That is why, with all of this May hype, I must take the success with a grain of salt.
The staff has done a fantastic job thus far of covering the holes in the lineup but the gaps are still relevant and the trip to Orlando showed just that. Neither Michael de Leeuw nor Bastian Schweinsteiger are Attacking playmakers and sometimes that leaves the Fire offense too one dimensional. Let’s look for Paunovic to to tweak around that offense a little earlier in a game when the chances are not coming. It would be great to see Daniel Johnson get a few more minutes and provide some sparks that we saw a few times earlier in the season.
The Fire now look forward into the summer which begins with a “revenge match” against, expansion team, Atlanta United this coming Saturday at 3pm at Toyota Park.
-Apologies for the lack of May coverage, look out for more frequent coverage the rest of the season
-Tulsa Continues to be a fantastic partner and NR seems to think it could be the long term solution
-Tulsa: Arshakayan refuses to participate and Calistri continues to impress
-Depth will be tested this summer as Polster(Drew), Accam(DJ), and McCarty(Juni) are all potential misses for international duty throughout the summer