BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – After yet another mental error cost them a goal in last week’s 1-1 draw at the Colorado Rapids, the Chicago Fire are focusing on clamping down in the back this Saturday against the Vancouver Whitecaps at Toyota Park (8:30 p.m. ET; Watch for FREE online).
Center back Yamith Cuesta was at fault in Colorado, leaving Rapids striker Andre Akpan alone to bury a shot from inside the box.
WATCH: Akpan levels the game
But Cuesta isn’t the only perpetrator in the Fire’s back four as multiple defenders have made simple mistakes that have lost Chicago points this year. However, those mistakes have the defense motivated to play a clean game against the Whitecaps this weekend.
“We’ve been [making mental errors] since way back,” left back Gonzalo Segares told MLSsoccer.com. “It was the same mistakes in Portland, in Seattle, just little mistakes that can be eliminated with maturity. I think we have a young group and that’s how we’re going to learn. It’s just going back to the video, trying to see what we did wrong and trying to fix it so it doesn’t happen again.”
If the Fire's back four eliminates the mental errors on Saturday, they’ll do so against a high-powered offense. Vancouver attackers Eric Hassli, Camilo and Davide Chumiento have looked dangerous all season, helping the 'Caps tally a Western Conference-leading 11 goals.
“I think we’re going to have our hands full,” Segares said. “They’re definitely really dangerous up top. They have guys with a lot of mobility and a lot of experience so it’s definitely going to be a tough game.”
Tough or not, the Fire understand that anything less than three points will be unacceptable. Chicago believe the expansion Whitecaps are beatable and they'll need to take care of business at home to start to climb their way back up the Eastern Conference table.
“It’s very important,” Segares said. “I think that we got a bit of momentum this past game against Colorado and we've got to keep it going, especially with the home crowd, we've just got to get those three points. This match is really, really important for us. The team has been working hard and trying to correct the mistakes we’ve been making. I think we’ve been getting better and it’s really important to get a win and keep it going.”
Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @samstejskal.