The Chicago Fire fell 2-1 to the Portland Timbers on May 20 at JELD-WEN Field. Unfortunately, the Fire were not able to overcome an early lead by the Timbers, and mistakes contributed to the disappointing match. The team seems to have lost some of its momentum from the earlier games.
The defense issues and mistakes that fans have seen all season were also a prominent part of the game at JELD-WEN Field. The Chicago Fire allowed the Portland Timbers to score with the help of Logan Pause. Unfortunately, the Fire's captain Logan Pause helped the Timbers get a second goal through a deflection. Pause later explained, "It came quick and my first reaction was to just get something on it. It was a bummer that it went the way it did and giving up not only an own goal, but two goals off set pieces were a bit disappointing."
The Portland Timbers were able to effectively limit Dominic Oduro. I also question head coach Frank Klopas' decision of leaving one forward at the top. It is a strategy that makes it too easy for the other team to overpower the Chicago Fire. I am also concerned about the removal of Oduro from the game in the 60th minute. He has had hamstring problems before, and it may have contributed to his early exit from the match.
Blaming a Smaller Field
Dan Gargan has shared his dissatisfaction with the results of the May 20 game by blaming the smaller field. The Portland Timbers' JELD-WEN Field is significantly smaller than Toyota Park, and Gargan referred to it as a "shoe box." However, the field cannot be blamed for everything that went wrong during the game.
The set piece defense was awful on May 20, and this is one area that needs to be improved. The overall issues with defense need to be addressed immediately. However, there was one glimmer of hope that emerged from the May 20 game. In contrast to some of the earlier matches this season, the Chicago Fire were actually able to control ball possession.
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Lana follows MLS, UEFA and FIFA. She has been a faithful fan of the Chicago Fire since 1998. Follow @Lana_Bandoim on Twitter.