Galaxy gift El Trafico to LAFC, Red Bulls blew it with Carnell & more from Matchday 8

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Galaxy gift El Trafico to LAFC, Red Bulls blew it with Carnell & more from Matchday 8

In terms of postgame press conference power rankings, Chicago Fire head coach Ezra Hendrickson is probably at the top of the league. This is his first answer to what was a very simple question – one he could’ve blown off, but instead used as a chance to explain the whole game:

“Well, first the injuries. Just unfortunate that we had to take off Gaston (Gimenez) at halftime. He just pulled something in his upper leg, and then (Carlos) Teran was having pain in his knee area, so he couldn’t continue. And then later on, Fabi (Herbers) also was hurting, so he had to come out.

“But regardless of that, and that affects what you do as far as your subs and stuff like that. But regardless of that, you know, being at home, being up 2-0 again, take nothing from them, it’s a good team that we’re playing against tonight. They’re in the semifinals of the (Concacaf) Champions League for a reason. That being said, though, again, at home, up 2-0. We just have to, one, finish our chances when we do get them because there’s an opportunity to go up three, maybe even 4-0 and really put the game out and we don’t do that.

“And then secondly, it’s the second time now, late in the game, that we’ve had the ball in a box to clear. We don’t clear it, we try to play out when we’re under pressure and tonight, it led to a PK, because we missed that pass. And then I don’t know what the foul was all about. There was no need to foul there. We just made a very, very poor decision on that foul. Once they got that PK, they kind of got some momentum, kind of had us back on our heels a little bit. And you know, we had some moments after that, with (Georgios) Koutsias in the box getting some balls from Shaq and stuff. But after that, I think they had the better of the game.

“But at the end of the day, like I told them, at home, you have to have the mentality of, even though it’s not a loss tonight, again, it felt like a loss. And so, our mentality in games, late in games, we’re not going to have 90 minutes of the ball, we’re not going to be on top of a team 90 minutes; rarely does that happen in this game. The key is, when you haven’t had the better part of the game, can you keep the ball out of the back of the net? And right now, we’re not able to do that. When we’re under pressure, we’re kind of breaking.”

And that sums it up: When the Fire are in control of the ball, and subsequently in control of the rhythm of the game (and note that Gaston Giménez, who I’ve ripped a bunch over the years, has been a key to that), they play with both more energy and purpose and are actually really good.

When they lose control of the ball and are forced to scramble – to fight and rotate and make big individual plays – they are still the Chicago Fire.

Philly are very much not the version of the Union we’ve come to expect over the past few years, down below the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs line in the East with a quarter of the season gone. But they’ve shown a lot of life this week, and I’ll be surprised if they don’t start spinning that into more complete performances within the league.

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