The Chicago Fire lost to the New York Red Bulls on July 18 at the Red Bull Arena with a final score of 1-0. More problems may be ahead for the Fire because they had to rely on defenders to provide offensive action in this game. It is a sad reality on a team that is now lacking both a decent attacking midfielder and a reliable forward.
Battling the heat at the Red Bull Arena, goalie Sean Johnson provided three saves. Unfortunately, it was impossible to stop Thierry Henry's goal in the 71st minute that gave the Red Bulls the lead. Johnson gave another consistent and strong performance that fans have seen this season.
Defense Tries to Save the Game
Defense deserves some credit for at least attempting to salvage the game. Defender Dan Gargan attempted to make a shot and bring some offense to the game. Gonzalo Segares also tried to score during the match but was not successful. The most disturbing aspect of the Chicago Fire's defense attempting to score was the lack of effort from the actual midfield and forward. Head coach Frank Klopas deserves some of the blame because he continues to believe that using one forward is sufficient. Multiple games have shown that Chicago cannot win with one striker.
Is it too Late to Bring Back Sebastian Grazzini?
Once again, Alex only played for a portion of the game and continued his streak of 0 goals contributed to the Fire. It is not clear if his fitness level is preventing him from being able to play for the full 90 minutes. Nevertheless, the club has presented Alex as the savior that could replace Sebastian Grazzini in the past, but he has not been an adequate substitute.
The July 18 game was a perfect example of the problems that the team faces without an attacking midfielder like Sebastian Grazzini. If the Chicago Fire cannot bring him back, then it is time to consider another midfielder in addition to Alex. I think the search for an extra striker should continue, but the midfield should not be forgotten.
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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.