Fire at a loss following dip in form

SuperLiga defeat to Morelia has team searching for answers


BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – You could call the Fire’s 5-1 SuperLiga loss to Mexican club Monarcas Morelia at Toyota Park on Wednesday night a lot of things, but Fire head coach Carlos de los Cobos had his own words for the heavy defeat.

“[It was the] worst game I’ve [coached] since I joined the Fire,” he said.

But whatever you call Wednesday night’s drubbing, you would most definitely agree that Morelia dominated Chicago right from the start, getting a goal from midfielder Elias Hernandez in the third minute to take the lead.

WATCH: FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

And Monarcas didn’t stop there. Luis Gabriel Rey doubled the advantage in the 34th before Miguel Sabah made it 3-0 in the 40th. Morelia should’ve had a fourth in the 45th, but a linesman incorrectly ruled Rey offside, disallowing his sliding tap-in.

Fire rookie right back Steven Kinney pulled Chicago within two shortly after halftime, giving the team a glimmer of hope. But halftime substitute Rafael Marquez Lugo dramatically slammed the door shut on any chances of a Chicago comeback a minute after Kinney’s goal. His left-footed rocket from 25 yards tore the top left corner of the net, ripping out the hearts of the Fire faithful in the process.

Substitute Jaime Lozano would add a fifth in the 70th minute. His goal iced the cake for Morelia, who outclassed the Fire in every phase of the game.

“Today it looked like everybody was just dead,” Fire defender C.J. Brown said after the match. “Nobody could move. We couldn’t hold the ball, we couldn’t mark people and we couldn’t read the game very well.”

Brown put a special emphasis on “we couldn’t mark people.” And he had good reason to: The Fire’s marking was mostly sloppy.

“All of [the goals conceded] were the same,” Brown said. “We stopped moving, stopped marking, stopped paying attention to what we were doing and they score goals. That’s pretty typical of how we get scored on. We lose our man, we’re not tracking right, and we’re not helping each other.”

Brown didn’t have an answer as to why Chicago’s quality of play took such a dive.

“If I had the answer, it would be changed,” he said. “We’ve been asked, ‘Is there an answer to it?’ We’ve been asked, ‘Is it this? Is it that? Can we change this? Can we change that?’ We try to change things and were still getting the same results. I don’t know what it is.”

Something Brown does know is that he’s never felt this way in any of his previous 12 seasons with the club.

“I don’t feel good and I’m sure the rest of the guys don’t feel good,” Brown said. “I haven’t felt anything like this [before]. It’s different. It’s not happy; it’s not a good feeling.”