Published on June 29th, 2017 | by John Carollo1
That’s Incentive: Fire 0-0 Cincinnati (P1-3) US Open Cup Recap
Wow. So the new and improved Fire that has been challenging for the top spot in MLS just lost to a mid-table USL team. This is just insane. The Fire, who have always done amazingly in the US Open Cup, looked limp out there against a Cincinnati team that had everything to prove. While every other article you’ll read will probably talk about the amazing Cinderella story that is Cincy or the idea of a lower league team beating a top division team in the cup; but we should all be reminded that the other side needed this too. The Fire have been knocked out of a competition that is their “thing”. It’s historically been their best competition, but we haven’t won it since 2006. This is not a good look, but let’s get into it.
First, I really hope an MLS team was watching this and decided to sign Cincy goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt, because he had the best night ever. He had 10 saves, 3 of which were penalty saves, and if he wasn’t man of the match, then something went wrong in the voting process. The second thing of consequence was that Dax and Accam were not with the team that went to Ohio. Instead, they both were with their respective national teams. This game proved how much we needed both. I don’t know exactly whether it’s a bad thing we won’t have them for a while, or it’s a good thing we have them at all; but it’s a thing.
What’s bad with this game is that we just went 120 minutes with another 90 to go in two days back home. That was basically our A-Team out there, who probably wasn’t even 90 minutes fit after a game only 4 days before. Adding onto that, teams now have a second playbook as to how to shut down our offense. At the very least it looks like it shuts down their offense as well; but the Fire showed their weakness against Orlando and now Cincy. That idea is to pull back and let the Fire punch themselves out. Give them a ton space, but not within the 18. This plan worked for two teams that saw us as a big enough threat to bunker against and it worked both times.
So what’s good about this game is that first, we know what our problems are. This wasn’t a mysterious game where we were jumped with something completely different. This is a problem that’s been around for a bit. Now the team knows that they need to do something to make our attack work in a bunker situation. Other than that, this game is incentive for the rest of the season. We don’t need to focus on another competition anymore. Our entire focus is on MLS. That means we give everything we’ve got and more to get the Supporter’s Shield.
I hope you like this new format of a recap. If you don’t, tell us in the comments and if you do, tell us in the comments. This is the time for feedback on this site. Good things are coming.