BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – For at least one week, Chicago Fire won't have to answer questions about their ability to put the ball in the back of the net. And they won't have talk about notching their first win or why they've committed so many mental errors and defensive mistakes.
After scoring just one goal during an 0-3-1 start, the Fire finally clicked on all cylinders in a 3-1 win over the New York Red Bulls on Sunday, giving them the confidence that was waning during the first month of the season.
“It's a huge relief,” defender Austin Berry said. “It's nice to see that all the hard work is going somewhere. It's a fun day.”
For the first time this season, the Fire's passing was crisp, and the offensive players were in sync. While a wonder-strike from Thierry Henry was inches from putting the Fire in a deficit, the Fire defense committed very few of the silly mistakes that plagued them during an 0-3-1 start.
And they were competent for an entire game, with two goals from Maicon Santos sealing a much-needed first win.
“I think we finally showed what we really are,” midfielder Jeff Larentowicz said. “We've lost games that were kind of out of character, and tonight was definitely what we're about. We were making mistakes in games that we just don't really make. We're a better team than we showed with those little things. I think tonight, we repaired those little things.”
The pressure was building loss by loss. But head coach Frank Klopas knew that this group, which on paper has only improved from last year's playoff team, was capable of winning games.
On Sunday, they finally validated that confidence.
“Being with this group every day, the quality that we had, and what we have shown so far, it wasn't an indication of the group that we had,” Klopas said. “I feel good because, sure, some of the [mistakes] that I saw, more than anything, were [due to] the pressure. You try too hard and everything … The attitude of the whole group was fantastic.”