BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Center back Arne Friedrich isn’t worried about the Chicago Fire defense after a rough performance in the first half of last Friday’s 2-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City.
But the game does serve as a reminder that the Fire can’t always overcome stretches of poor play ahead of a match against the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday (8:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
“We didn’t play with confidence, and there was no reason for it,” Friedrich told MLSsoccer.com. “In the second half, you saw it was much better, when we played a little more confident. Everybody was asking for the ball, and that was completely different from the first half.”
Chicago have shown a propensity to come back from deficits, winning eight games after falling behind, including four come-from-behind wins in their last nine games.
But just one of eight wins has come against a team currently in playoff position.
“It’s been happening quite a bit,” midfielder Logan Pause said. “We really feel like we need to come out with the right energy and mentality. As these games get harder and harder and tighten up, with the playoffs hopefully on the horizon, we’re not going to be able to afford to slip up early.”
The Fire do have reason to be confident headed into Wednesday’s game against Philadelphia: In games coming off a loss, they’re 5-1-2.
If they beat the Union, Chicago will leap back into second place with a matchup against New York, who currently reside in second, looming on Saturday (3:30 pm ET, NBC).
“We need to come out and at home with confidence and press early,” head coach Frank Klopas said. “We haven’t been down the whole season. We’ve lost games before, and you just have to move on.”
While there are issues, Friedrich knows that any problems that arose on Friday had more to do with mental lapse than the Fire defense falling apart.
“I have no doubt that we’ll do much better Wednesday because you saw on Friday that we showed character, and everybody knows what to do, and we did much better in the second half,” Friedrich said. “I would be concerned if we played all 90 minutes like we did in the first half.”