ST. PAUL, MN – While they had been far from perfect, the first month-and-a-half was full of more positives than negatives for Chicago Fire FC.

The club went unbeaten in their first five matches, the first time they’d done that since 2009, and only had one loss in the first seven times they took the field.

But then came this week.

First, there was the surprising upset in the opening round of the US Open Cup at home to UCL League One side Union Omaha in a shootout that ended the Fire’s run in the tournament just as it began. Then on Saturday came the club’s worst loss of the season despite getting their best player back in the lineup.

After missing essentially the last three MLS matches with a calf injury, Xherdan Shaqiri returned to the lineup against Minnesota United FC at Allianz Field in St. Paul, but his presence wouldn’t be enough to wake up a dormant offense.

The club failed to score for the sixth time in eight MLS matches and their defense couldn’t bail them out in a 3-0 loss on Saturday afternoon. Ezra Hendrickson’s squad falls to 2-2-4 on the season as they slip into a four-way tie for seventh in the Eastern Conference standings.

Unlike in a few games, chances were there for the Fire to score as they outshot Minnesota 12-11 and in shots on goal 4-3. But the hosts would breakthrough for three goals after the 72nd minute and Federico Navarro was lost to two yellow cards late, and the match got away from the Fire late.

“We have opportunities, like you said, to play a guy who may be in a better position and we chose to do otherwise with the ball. So these are things that we have to look at this game again and talk about it and discuss it with the team because we need to improve going forward,” said Hendrickson. “I thought, especially in the first half, when we defended and we won the ball, we just gave it away too easily, sometimes not even under pressure.

“So we weren’t very clinical. We weren’t very technical on the night. But these are things we can improve and we just have to keep working.”