Leading up to a short two game road trip, the Fire had gone through a stretch earning 7 of a potential 9 points. They were playing well and improving a little bit in each game giving us fans hope. Unfortunately they stumbled out of the gate in the first leg of the road trip and suffered an embarrassing 4-1 loss in Toronto, with two goals coming from former Fire scapegoat Chad Barrett.
They then followed up the defeat north of the border with what felt like a loss in Kansas City. After going up by two goals early in the second half, the team let the game get away from them and only earned one point with some second half play that was as miserable as the weather.
The guys came home from the road trip and began preparing for a friendly match against Paris Saint-Germain. With a chance to showcase themselves to the world the team played flat, and that’s putting it kindly. Needless to say, the Fire have been less than stellar lately.
The Fire and the Burn, I mean FC Dallas, were once a great rivalry. The games were tough, hard fought matches that were exciting to watch and full of drama. The players hated each other. The fans hated each other. During the early years of the league the two teams would sometimes play each other as many as seven times in one year. Injuries, cards, suspensions were a normal part of those early games.
Those Burn teams were full of players worthy of your hate, too. Diving, cheating scum bags like Ariel Graziani and hacks like Leonel Alvarez. I wouldn’t even pay Alvarez to clean the porta-potties at Toyota Park, much less let him on the field. And they all had terrible hair as well. Trust me, I know bad hair.
Here’s a quick recap from an old Fire/Burn game:
“The Fire's final regular-season match at Soldier Field won't be remembered for anything good.
Frightening injuries to Fire players DaMarcus Beasley and Ante Razov marred a 2-2 draw with the Dallas Burn Saturday in a match that drew the biggest crowd of the season--24,866. Both players were knocked unconscious and carried from the field on stretchers after trainer Rich Monis applied neck braces.
Beasley and Razov eventually regained consciousness and were taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for CAT scans. The team considered both head trauma injuries and said they would be re-evaluated on Monday or Tuesday.”
Those games were mean.
Out of that rivalry was born the “Brimstone Cup”, a fan created cup that would go to the team that won the annual series. It was an embodiment of that rivalry and a bragging point for the supporters. It was created in part to help motivate the teams and give a little something extra to the team that could win. And win it Dallas has, for the past eight years. The Fire won the first ever Brimstone Cup in 2001 and unfortunately hasn’t taken it back since.
The Fire have never beaten Dallas at Toyota Park. Last year’s game was a perfect example of how the series has gone for most of the decade with Dallas coming to town sitting bottom of the league at the time (if I remember correctly) and still giving the Fire an embarrassing defeat on their home field.
The past three games have felt like the traditional Dallas malaise has taken hold of the team. There’s no fight in these players right now. There’s no life. Saturday’s game against PSG looked like the team was swimming, not running. The team needs some attitude on the field, a personality.
The Fire are going to play Dallas next week and barring a miraculous recovery by midfielder John Thorrington, I don’t see where that attitude is going to come from. Someone has to command this team if we’re going to break the curse of the Brimstone Cup. Let’s not even talk about competing for a playoff spot. It could be a star player or a role player but it has to be someone or Dallas will embarrass us on our home field again.