Defensively, Fire must do the tight thing
BY SETH GRUEN For Sun-Times Media July 19, 2013 9:02PM
D.C. United at Fire
The facts: 7:30 p.m., Ch. 50.
Updated: August 21, 2013 6:17AM
There was an ongoing debate during practice this week over the reasons behind the Fire’s two-game skid after it had gone nearly six weeks without a loss.
Some attributed the losses to lapses in concentration. Others had more technical reasons for the team allowing questionable goals.
But the players agreed on one thing: They can’t continue to dole out scoring chances Saturday against D.C. United at Toyota Park.
That was the case Sunday in the 3-1 loss to the Whitecaps in Vancouver when the Fire allowed three second-half goals.
“We just have to make sure we don’t give up easy goals,” coach Frank Klopas said.
“Mistakes that we made, [Vancouver] capitalized on, and [we’ve] just got to be better with that because sometimes you don’t put chances away, but you’ve still got to walk away with points.”
Mental lapses, staying tight defensively and defending on the counterattack after set pieces have all been points of contention this season.
Recently they’ve been glossed over because of the Fire’s uncanny ability to rally.
But over the last two weeks, the issues resurfaced.
Center back Austin Berry wrestled with exactly how to qualify those brief moments in which the Fire has blown the last two games, though he tended to favor a more technical explanation.
“We could have been tighter on everything, so I don’t know if it’s more mental lapse than just being tight,” Berry said.
Recognizing that awareness of coverages is kind of a mental issue, Berry did somewhat of a double take.
“Yeah, a little bit mentally,” he said. “You have to be tight to the guy.”