The Fire try to remain positive amid four-game losing skid originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
That was one of the themes of the Fire’s pregame press conference ahead of their match against CF Montréal.
It’s no secret things have taken a turn for the worst since coming back from Leagues Cup break. Prior to that break, the Fire had won five out of their last six games. Since then, they’ve lost four in a row, conceding 11 goals in the process.
It’s no surprise manager Frank Klopas was asked about the team’s mentality during this losing streak.
“With us, the importance of getting organized and being clear about the game plan and giving the players good training sessions where they get their confidence and making sure we really enforce that positive energy and belief within the group and having the mentality that it’s on to the next one, let’s prepare really well and make sure we leave everything on the field. Have that kind of mentality” Klopas said.
“It’s not always easy when you lose games so I think coming in the next day and making sure myself, as the coach and the staff are super positive and we’re trying to give the guys all the confidence in the world but also making sure we prepare well on the training pitch.”
Despite the bad run of form, the Fire are within distance of the last MLS playoff spot. The Fire currently sit in 10th place but only two points behind D.C. United and only three points behind Montréal.
While there will still be six games left after the Montréal match, it’s as close to a “must win” game as there can be.
“This game is very important for a lot of reasons,” Gastón Giménez said. “Not just the difference in points in the standings, which is important. But it’s also important to get the three points because there are seven games left. I think this game either takes you out or puts you in the playoffs in every sense of the word. It helps us be confident and together as a group and to believe that we can do it, that we can make it.”
In order for the Fire to turn their season around, they need to get back to what they were doing during their good run of form. They need to be better defensively.
“Defensively we have to play a great game. We have to take care of all the little details that are happening during the game,” Giménez said. “Not allow ourselves to commit the same mistakes that have gotten us into trouble before and offensively we know that we have many opportunities to score so we have to put ourselves in those places again and score and come away with three points.”
Klopas also stressed the Fire converting when the opportunities arise. The Fire have let some chances slip away during their losing streak and have been punished for it.
But most importantly, it’s getting more organized defensively that remains the focus.
Good results bring confidence and that might be what it takes for the Fire to snap out of it.
They can be as positive as they want but at the end of the day, it’s about picking up a win and climbing into a playoff spot.
“Look, we’re a good team, we’re in a little bit of a downslide and we got to find our way and show our character to get out of this. We’re still in it,” Klopas said. “It’s always going to be a battle in the end. That’s how it always is in MLS and the parity within the league but it’s getting pretty tight right now and every game that we play is a playoff game. We can’t hide from that. You can’t sugarcoat that.”
A win against Montréal would put the Fire’s postseason destiny back in their own hands and bring some of that positivity and confidence back.