It’s always fun to see what happens in MLS when the player store is about to close for the season. Some teams, having resolved all of their player needs early, get to relax and stand in judgment of those teams forced to scamper about on deadline day looking for oh god just ANY decent midfielder please. There’s a parable about an ant and a grasshopper you’ve no doubt heard. The ant stores up all the food they need for winter, while the grasshopper spends its time, I don’t know, hopping on grass I suppose. When winter comes the grasshopper begs the ant for some food but the ant is like lol, and there’s a lesson to be learned in that. Anyway, LAFC are the ant, Colorado are the grasshopper, and New England is the heretofore unseen third character - a drunk shirtless carpet beetle rolling around the snow screaming how they’re going to live forever.Read More
Welcome to Setting the Table, this week featuring a whole lot of Houston vs Chicago. Each week we take some time to focus on the best chance creators in MLS from the last weekend. If you want to see the best chances that were wasted check out Lowered Expectations. Here we focus on chances that ended with the ball in the back of the net.
#5 Nemanja Nikolic to Diego Campos, Chicago Fire, 16th minute, 0.369 expected goals
Passes in sequence: 2
Welcome to Lowered Expectations, the week 12 edition! Each week, we go about posting chalkboards and GIFs of the weekend’s best open-play shot attempts which did not quite live up to expectations (and rarely do we update this paragraph). We look at each one and not only evaluate the results, but also the process leading to them.
#5 - Tosaint Ricketts, Toronto FC, 63rd minute, 0.295 expected goals
Assisted by: Victor Vasquez
Passes in sequence: 4
Welcome to Lowered Expectations, the week nine edition! Each week, we go about posting chalkboards and GIFs of the weekend’s best open-play shot attempts that did not quite live up to expectations (and rarely do we update this paragraph). We look at each one and not only evaluate the results, but also the process that led to them.
#5 - Mac Steeves, Houston Dynamo, 91st minute, 0.463 expected goals
Assisted by: Andrew Wenger
Passes in sequence: 2
The Chicago Fire had a tremendous 2017, and it seems their 2018 squad will mostly look like that one. In many leagues, this stability, paired with the team’s younger players developing further, would spell positive results for the upcoming season. But the increasing amount of allocation money coming into the league means that the Fire’s competitors are stockpiling TAM-level players while Chicago stands pat. In all, the Fire may fail to improve without adding a few more pieces.
The Chicago Fire’s 2017 season should be considered a remarkable one. After two consecutive wooden spoons, the Fire finished the season in 3rd in the Eastern Conference. They put together an 11 game unbeaten streak that had them at the top of the East on July 1st. They had the league’s Golden Boot winner, Nemanja Nikolic, who put in 24 goals. Though they ultimately bowed out of the playoffs with a 4-0 home loss to the Red Bulls in the knockout round, the massive turnaround from 2016 should mark the season a success.Read More
If it were truly possible to tank in the Major League of Soccer, the Chicago Fire have been making a valiant effort to test that theory in recent seasons. What was once only considered gross incompetence has been given a shiny veneer of professionalism with the addition of Nelson Rodriguez in 2016. By proceeding to sell everything that wasn’t nailed down for various forms of GarberBucks, the roster began to resemble the closest thing to a full rebuild that the club has desperately needed since the waning days of the Blanco era. The remaining question, as has always been the question in the annual reshuffle of the Men in Red, is will this process actually succeed? Is it even a process at all? If a team fails in the suburbs, does anyone even notice?
There is, however, cause for hope. Piles of league money, in various shapes, sizes, and colors, has slowly turned the roster from a collection of aged out journeymen and long-term projects to…a slightly more cohesive group of journeymen and slightly less speculative projects. The mysterious departure of Harrison “Don’t Call Me Justin” Shipp aside, the outlines of Rodriguez’ plan has been to build prudently through the draft and complement with a very specific type of experience. Everything outside of this, every scrap of dead money, wrung out to sale for as much as he can grab.
Dax is after the jump.Read More