The Chicago Fire look to get their first win of the season Thursday night as they travel to Washington, D.C. to take on D.C. United at Audi Field.
The Fire have struggled to kick off their 2021 campaign as they have been outscored 9-3 by their opponents with just one point to show for their performances.
Fans have begun to voice their displeasure, with some even calling for Sporting Director Georg Heitz and Raphael Wickey to be sacked. While Wickey says he has “the full support of the club”, the team must begin putting wins on the board or the questions surrounding the manager’s future will only intensify.
The Fire have a chance to get back on the right track tonight against D.C. United, a team that also has struggled out of the gate with just one win in four matches thus far.
How did you get to become a DC United fan and how/when did RFK Refugees begin?
Jon: I was later to soccer than I’d like to admit now. I think falling in love with soccer during a World Cup is probably an American cliche, but…I’m basic like that. I was bewitched by the French team in 2006, and the chaos of the Zidane headbutt…it was perfect. I started following DC United that year, and shortly thereafter I was a season ticket holder and it engulfed my life.
RFK Refugees started after Ted and I, who met each other through another podcast he hosted (Around the League on CSRN), decided there was a big gap for our kind of DC United coverage (meaning nonprofessional chucklehead fans). We unfortunately have gotten much better and more professional, so we’ve failed in that regard, but I guess we’ll cope.
From the (little) DC United action I’ve seen, it honestly doesn’t seem like the side is playing all that bad, even though results haven’t gone your way. Have you guys been unlucky or have these been really bad performances that are just a sign of what is to come?
Jon: Well, despite how much new coach Hernan Losada doesn’t want to talk about it, injuries have decimated this team early this season, to the point where United had three available field players against Columbus. Losada is instituting a dramatically new system of play with mostly the same group of players he inherited from Ben Olsen, but early signs are promising. Despite the results, DC is winning the xG battle despite missing up to eight first-choice players. So yeah, unlucky seems partially right but also just treading water until the reinforcements arrive.
What is the style of play that Hernan Losada likes to play?
Jon: It’s still early, but what we can say for sure is he likes to press as much as humanly possible, requiring superhuman endurance out of his players. He likes to create overloads and he likes to play vertical soccer. Again, he’s been trying to accomplish that with guys that were projected to be the last guys on the roster, so who knows what we look like when the starters are out there.
As a Fire fan, what should we look out for when it comes to players or a style of play from DCU?
Jon: Ask me again later in the season! Honestly, there hasn’t been one danger man for United so far. Moses Nyeman, the frustratingly young midfielder for United, was called the best player on the team right now by Losada, and it would be hard to find fault in that. Every other player is either not on the field right now or struggling to find their form. If Russell Canouse is healthy and playing, he would be another player to focus in on.
As a DCU fan, what are you worried about when you look over at the Fire dugout?
Jon: I’m afraid of everything. I think you have players that can score and we have a makeshift defense learning a new system and our backup goalie starting his fifth game in a row. Anything is possible.
That said… I’m an optimist and I see United continuing your run of misery a little longer and winning this game 2-0.