Chicago Fire FC heads to the MLS international break after a rough start to the 2021 season

Chicago Fire FC

CHICAGO, IL – MAY 29: Chicago Fire midfielder Gaston Gimenez (30) kicks the ball in action during a game between the Chicago Fire and the CF Montréal on May 29, 2021, at Soldier Field in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

CHICAGO – Is this break coming at the right or the wrong time for Raphael Wicky’s team?

It depends.

Chicago Fire FC has certainly picked up the pace of their play in their last two matches, controlling the pace in a win over Inter Miami CF on June 22nd then outshooting CF Montreal 19-6 on Saturday at Soldier Field.

But that match, like others over the past two months for the club, ended in disappointment. An 87th minute goal for the visitors then a disallowed goal for the Fire on an offsides call minutes later led to a 1-0 loss ahead of MLS’s international break.

“Yeah, for sure it’s very bad. If we won this game the mood would’ve been great, because last week we won, so we would have six points from the last two week,” said defender Boris Sekulic of the defeat. “Unfortunately we lost again, so always, before these breaks it’s bad to lose but it is what it is. Like I said, you can not go back but we have to think about the future.”

For the moment, that’s three weeks off since they won’t play again till June 19th when they face reigning MLS champion Columbus at Historic Crew Saturday on WGN-TV. When they come back, they’ll have a lot of ground to make up as they approach the summer months thanks to the 1-5-1 start.

With just four out of a possible 21 points to start the season, the Fire currently sit tied for last in the league with FC Cincinnati. They’re currently seven points out of the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, which is currently being held by Nashville SC.

Goal scoring continues to be a major problem for the club even with a surge in the chances over the past two matches. Their four total for the season – three of which have been scored by Luka Stojanovic – are the lowest in all of MLS.

Getting that offense started will be a goal for Wicky once the season resumes, though he will give players a few days off before resuming training later this week. A few players are looking to return to play by the time June 19th arrives, giving some hope for a surge once the club gets going.

After the game in Columbus, the club will play nine of their next 11 games at Soldier Field.

“We have guys coming back- Nacho (Aliseda) is coming back. Fabi (Herbers) is getting back and hopefully Elliot Collier will be back at one point in these three weeks. Carlos Terán is now getting back,” said Wicky. “Hopefully, we can use this time to give the players who were injured some more training sessions and some more rhythm to be ready for the next game.”

A few players won’t have the time out of competition as they take advantage of the break to represent their home countries in international play. Defender Francisco Calvo will play for Costa Rica Concacaf Nations League matches, midfielder Przemysław Frankowski joins the Poland national team for EURO 2020, and midfielder Gastón Giménez will play for Paraguay in two CONMEBOL 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches.

All three will return in time for the club’s June 19th match against Columbus where they hope to shake of a bad start as their summer begins.

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