The Union has lost just 3 games this season. However, all of their losses have a common theme. Trap games on the road against teams not in a playoff position. With the Chicago Fire hot and gunning for a playoff spot, the Union faces an important test. Defending home field and proving they can bounce back.
The Union’s first loss was at Toronto. It was early in the season, but Toronto was struggling at the time. The second loss was the Chicago Fire. The Fire was last in the Eastern Conference at the time. The third and most recent loss, was FC Cincinnatti’s throttling of the Union last Saturday.
The thing all these losses had in common is the Union was on the road with the expectation they grabbed at least 1 point. Now, the Union needs to defend Subaru Park and not fall victim to another trap game.
The Fire Are Hot
Since the Fire defeated the Union back on June 29th, the Fire has been, well, on fire. Climbing from last in the East to sitting in a playoff spot today. They are right behind FC Cincy, who just throttled the Union.
Now, the Fire should not do to the Union what Cincy did. Cincy is practically Union 2, knows exactly how the Union play, and had the firepower to do exactly what they did to the Union. However, that fact does not make this any less of a trap game.
The Union needs a bounce-back win. However, the Fire is going to do all they can to pour more doubt onto the Union. On top of that, former Union striker Kacper Pryzyblko will be looking to show his hold team up for sending him away.
Is it a Must Win for the Union?
The Union sits fairly comfortably in first, with a 3-point lead over NYCFC. Even with the loss over the weekend, all top 5 teams in the East lost as well. So ground was not really lost. Nonetheless, this does certainly feel like a must-win game.
The loss to Cincy hurt. It practically knocks the Union out of contention for the Supporters Shield. In all fairness to LAFC, no one was likely to catch them anyways. Not only that, but the top-ranked Union defense got knocked around, exposed, and outplayed in every phase of the game.
One can take the “glass half full” approach now. Let’s face it, the Union needed a punch in the face, knock down to earth game. However, that makes this game with the Fire even more important.
The Union needs to come out and snuff the fire out. Defend home field, where they have not lost yet this year. Showing that the loss to Cincy was a wake-up call and not an alarm.
Another loss, this time at home, would spew a lot of doubt over what the Union has done this year. While that is unfair, it’s the world we live in. With 10 games left, 5 of them at home and only 3 against playoff teams, the Union needs to run the table and clinch the 1 seed in the East. It all starts with defending home field against a hot Chicago Fire.
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