Fire Searching For a True No. 10

Though the start to the season hasn't been terrible, Chicago needs a playmaker
by Kiran Balan   |   Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Ladder 97 – column on Chicago Fire & the Chicagoland area soccer scene.

In the first 4 games of the season, there have been some growing concerns for the Chicago Fire. Addressing these concerns early will be vital for the Fire, if they want to make their long awaited return to the playoffs.

The Fire lack a true No. 10 – a playmaker who can spark creativity and create scoring opportunities for the likes of Mike Magee and Quincy Amarikwa. A growing need for a playmaker who is comfortable on the ball and is able to hold the ball in key positions is what has been missing for the Fire. Alex for the most part has shared that role with Mike Magee, but Alex lacks the passing quality that rookie Harry Shipp possess. Maybe it’s time to throw Shipp in the deep end and make him the Fire’s primary playmaker.  It is completely understandable that as a rookie, Shipp will need time to acclimate to MLS, but so far he has been able to overcome many hurdles and has shown his quality.

Magee is by far more suited as a true striker, and we all know he has an eye for goal. He will definitely be able to get more quality chances created in front of goal with the likes of Shipp pulling the strings in the attacking third. Chances will open up for Quincy Amarikwa, who has deservedly been inserted into the starting lineup by coach Frank Yallop. Amarikwa has scored 2 goals in 4 games this season and has been one of the more passionate players for the Fire.

Another big concern for the team is giving up goals off set pieces. Balls that come into the box aren’t getting cleared properly and effectively, and teams are taking advantage of resulting chances that come up.  The goals that they have given up have been very ugly and have hurt the team’s chances of getting crucial wins. Defending set pieces is a group task, and a lack of communication is what results in giving up easily defendable goals. Once the likes of Segares and Palmer return to the first team we will see a more water-tight defensive effort. The team will get organized on defense.

It’d be better for the Fire’s problems addressed early in the season, rather than during the crunch time towards playoffs.

It is still very early in the season for the Fire. Once the returning incumbent wingbacks come back, then the Fire’s defensive mistakes will definitely decrease. The chemistry up top between players will improve as well. If the lack of creativity continues, a change of formation will be on the docket.

NEXT UP:  April 5 – Chicago Fire vs. Philadelphia Union, Toyota Park, Bridgeview, Ill. 5 p.m. EST, My50 Chicago, TWCSC Wisconsin


Illinois State University
Club Domestic:
Chicago Fire
Club Foreign:
Columnist for his hometown MLS team, Chicago Fire. When he’s not flying down the left wing for ISU FC or in a pick-up game, he can be seen watching the beautiful game. A die-hard Chelsea and USMNT fan, he is keen to growing his soccer knowledge.