Fire seeks answers to offensive woes
By SETH GRUEN For Sun-Times Media May 3, 2013 10:54PM
New England Revolution v Chicago Fire
Updated: June 6, 2013 6:46AM
With the Fire struggling to score, coach Frank Klopas is doing all he can to get his team to generate offense consistently.
Fire attackers work on finishing drills during training, and scrimmages are played on shorter fields to allow the offense more
opportunity to work on its play in the offensive zone.
By all accounts, those measures have worked in practice. The players the Fire expected to be its elite scorers before the season regularly put the ball into the net during training sessions.
But the fact they haven’t done so in games indicates the Fire likely has a mental barrier to overcome.
‘‘It’s probably a bit of concentration and confidence,’’ forward Chris Rolfe said. ‘‘Those things play a big part in what we do. We find ourselves in pretty good spots, and something else is not quite clicking.’’
Though offensive players ultimately are judged on how many goals they score, the Fire has created more chances than its number of goals would indicate.
While the Fire (2-5-1) has scored only six goals this
season, it often finds itself creating as many chances as its foes. That has allowed the Fire to remain confident it will find its rhythm in finishing those chances.
‘‘It’s just not falling for us,’’ midfielder Patrick Nyarko said. ‘‘I always keep saying this, and I really believe it: If we’re not creating chances, it’s time to get worried.
‘‘Guys on our team can finish; it’s just not happening for us right now. That’s what I feel, and I’m not pushing the panic button. The way things are going right now, teams are not pulling away from us. We’re right in the middle of the pack.’’
But nearly a quarter of the way through the season, the Fire can’t rely on teams ahead of them to remain stagnant.
Reserve forward Maicon Santos leads the Fire with two goals — both in a 3-1 victory April 7 against the New York Red Bulls — so there
really hasn’t been a player who has stood out as a
capable finisher to date.
But because the Fire had a bye this weekend, Klopas has been able to focus solely on his team in an effort to find the right combination of players. The Fire has used a number of different personnel groupings and tactics during practice.
‘‘This break gives us some opportunity to kind of work through some things and try some different things in training,’’ Klopas said.
‘‘You give them confidence on the training pitch and just make sure that you do a lot of repetition and just build up play in the [offensive zone] so the chemistry can get even better.’’