Fire need to be better in possession vs. Portland according to head coach Frank Klopas

Klopas pleased with play of Alex, pushes need for more possession against Timbers

Alex

Photo Credit: 
Brian Kersey Chicago Fire

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- Usually conceding 63% possession at home to the worst team in the league doesn’t bode well for the result on the scoreboard but it didn’t seem to affect the Fire too much in their 2-0 win over D.C. United Sunday.

“[Our possession] wasn’t great,” said Fire head coach Frank Klopas. “It was the kind of game where also D.C. had a lot of possession but in spots where it didn’t hurt you.

“Playing out of transition I think we weren’t great and that initial ball we forced a lot of times. Any time we got a little bit of rhythm we were the more dangerous team.”

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With Fire captain Logan Pause (right) injured at midweek and Daniel Paladini not 100 percent, Klopas elected to give Alex his second straight start, slotting into central midfield with Jeff Larentowicz.

Though possession wasn’t held as much as he would have liked, Klopas was pleased with the Brazilian attacker’s offensive play the past two matches.

“He’s had two good games, he brings that ability onto the field – when he gets the ball he can make good passes and connect plays together, another guy that supports the forwards.”

With the Fire welcoming a more wide open team in Portland on Saturday, Klopas would likely slot Pause back into midfield if he’s recovered from the groin injury suffered in last week’s Open Cup match at Charlotte.

The Fire captain jogged during training Tuesday and Klopas said he’s being evaluated day-to-day. If he’s not able to go, Paladini seems like the next option.

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Whoever ends up playing in midfield, the Fire manager was adamant they have to do a better job in possession.

“You have to be good with the ball for sure. You keep turning the ball over and you’re going to chase a lot. They’re going to play different. They play with [Frederic] Piquionne at forward and [Diego] Valeri underneath, they have their extra guy in the midfield with him.

“In possession we have to be good, they spread out a lot so in transition there’s going to be spaces but it’s a different match. It all starts by taking care of the ball.”