While much of the attention this week in the build up to the Columbus Crew’s Saturday game was about the closing of Crew Stadium, there is still a match to be played. And the Black & Gold’s opponent on Saturday night is an old rival in the Chicago Fire.
The Fire hasn’t enjoyed the best start to the 2021 season, currently sitting on just four points and tied for last place in the Eastern Conference. But as Crew head coach Caleb Porter said this week, Chicago is not a team to be overlooked with the talent on the roster.
To learn a bit more about the Fire ahead of the game, we turned to our friends at Hot Time in Old Town and managing editor Patrick McCraney.
Questions for Hot Time in Old Town
Massive Report: It hasn’t been the start to the season Fire fans likely hoped after coming close to making the playoffs last year. What do you attribute the slow start to and can it be fixed?
Hot Time in Old Town: With just four goals scored in 2021, the Fire are a disaster in front of the net right now. Teams have managed to be able to mark Robert Beric out of the game, and, outside Luka Stojanovic, other players have not shown they can finish. Last year the Fire were a brand of bad that still make fans hopeful. It has not been the case in 2021.
MR: Przemysław Frankowski seems like a big loss being with his country in the Euros. What kind of impact is it not having the Polish player for this game?
HTiOT: I’m actually looking forward to seeing what the team looks like with Frankowski away on Euro duty. His pace is outstanding, but he’s struggled to finish over the last couple seasons. He’s a good enough player that I understand why Raphael Wicky uses him most weeks, but I feel like the Fire attack has been stale and could use something fresh.
MR: Crew fans won’t like me saying this, but I thought Robert Beric should have won MLS Newcomer of the Year last season. But this year, he has just one goal in seven games. Is there a reason the forward hasn’t gotten going after a 12-goal performance last year?
HTiOT: Beric has been a streaky player his entire career. He went seven games in a row without a goal in 2020, then went on a tear and nearly won the Golden Boot after scoring 10 goals last fall. History shows he will snap out of this goalless streak, but I don’t think the last match at Crew Stadium is the place where he’ll break through.
To read Massive Report’s answers to Hot Time in Old Town’s questions, click here.