Fire has been able to shrug off early deficits of late
BY SETH GRUEN For Sun-Times Media June 21, 2013 10:58PM
Updated: July 23, 2013 6:17AM
Call it positive spin, but the Fire doesn’t seem overly concerned about its tendency to give up early goals during a streak that hasn’t seen the team lose a game since May 18 in Philadelphia.
Of course, the club’s goal every game is to earn a clean sheet, but the Fire (4-7-3) has proved over the last month that it has the ability to overcome early deficits.
In its most recent game against the Colorado Rapids at home, the club allowed the first goal but rallied to earn a 2-1 victory. The win gives the Fire the opportunity to re-establish itself as contenders for an Eastern Conference playoff spot if it can win on the road against the Columbus Crew on Saturday.
“I don’t think much of it [allowing early goals] simply because we’re getting results,” right back Jalil Anibaba said. “If anything, it’s showing the character that we have within the group. Even though we’re going down early, we’re still finding ways to get results and turn them into positives.”
Allowing early goals isn’t a habit the Fire has acquired recently. All last season, it was the trend for a team that was able to make the playoffs because of its stellar play in the second half of games.
It only became an issue this season when the Fire was losing and struggling to score.
“It’s not really a lot of teams breaking us down and beating us, so if we shore things up from our end, that will help eliminate the early goals,” center back Austin Berry said.
Still, the Fire hasn’t dismissed the issue entirely.
Though the back line’s movements looked more fluid Wednesday, the Fire defensive four is trying to gel with Bakary Soumare, who has been with the team for only about a month.
“We got to keep working on our box defending,” coach Frank Klopas said. “This is something we talked about. Baky is someone that’s now new into the group and we’ve been working on that. I think that’s crucial — our ability to mark in the box.”