The signing of Bastian Schweinsteiger meant hope to Fire fans that have endured the last few dreadful years of so called soccer at Toyota Park. In a way it signaled the dawn of a new era. The era of the Schwein was supposed to shift the direction of the organization as a whole. For a brief second at Ohare Airport 500 Fire fans believed it truly would. All worries seemed to have at least temporarily faded. There was no more thinking about the back to back wooden spoons or even the Bridgeview stadium debacle.
That unwavering support around Bastian Schweinsteiger meant bliss for Fire fans. No, I am not talking Brian Bliss. Just yesterday Basti made his first appearance in Fire red and he was dynamic. To convince me of the signing, it only took a few perfectly weighted passes, a nutmeg, a dummie, and one goal. Unfortunately it wasn’t long until I saw Harrington and Bava give up a ridiculously soft goal that maybe could have been prevented by Ramos and Johnson. Just a thought.
This reminded me of the most important take away from the match, soccer is a team sport. Yes, a healthy Basti brings a lot to Chicago and MLS but there are 10 other players on the field! When two of those players are Harrington and Bava, you are going to be giving up soft goals and that is frustrating to watch. Fortunately Schwein kept us in the game with a goal of his own and changed the dynamic of the match after forcing a red card on Montreal with a perfectly weighted pass. Hopefully these perfectly weighted passes can start finding their way to Nemanja Nicolic. Nico has said it himself, he works best when he can find space behind the backline. That should be exactly what Schweinsteiger provides.
Next week Chicago hosts Columbus in a rematch of the season opener. After a 1-1 tie in Columbus, Chicago hopes to take all three this time at home. With Kappelhof returning and Juninho gone this lineup will see some changes. In addition to this, Matt Polster could see his return from injury and MDL is very questionable after exiting the game with an arm or wrist injury. Although Fire fans might be questionable about it, I am hoping for Paunovic to push Kappelhof to right back and use Meira and Campbell together in the middle. Kappelhof is best in the middle but I would rather see Harrington on the bench. Rumors are starting to creep in of a more permanent right back fix and it’s even being said that Drew Connor has been looked at for that position.
Lastly, down in Tulsa things are looking good. Chicago Fire USL affiliate team, Tulsa Roughnecks are off to a 2-0 start. Joey Calistri has started both matches getting an assist and a goal, Collin Fernandez has played every minute of the season so far, and Decovic made his first appearance last match. This is working out a lot better than it did with St. Louis.