A major factor in the Fire’s Saturday night defeat to the New York Red Bulls was Chicago’s slow start to the game.
The Fire looked sluggish from the opening whistle, and though the team’s play greatly improved in the second half, Chicago’s lackadaisical beginning to the match proved too much to overcome [WATCH HIGHLIGHTS HERE].
What is to blame for the Fire’s poor first-half play? MLSsoccer.com spoke with Fire technical director Frank Klopas after the match and he offered his take.
"I'm a little disappointed that we lost," Klopas said over the phone Saturday night. "I think my main concern going into the game was the fact that we haven't had a game in a while."
The Fire had scheduled a final preseason scrimmage against Notre Dame University for March 20 but had to cancel due to inclement weather.
"I think it hurt us a little bit that we didn't play a game last week, and I think it showed in the first half when we weren't as sharp," Klopas said. "But I think the second half was a different game. I think we were a better team in the second half; we were able to move the ball better, but unfortunately they scored a great goal and that was all it took."
Expect head coach Carlos de los Cobos to work hard this week to ensure that his players come out of the gate strong at Colorado on Saturday. The Fire will need a solid effort for the full 90 minutes if they are to beat the Rapids, who impressed in their 1-0 road victory against Chivas USA this past weekend.