BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Chicago Fire head coach Frank Klopas said he always planned on giving his players Thursday and Friday off during the two-week league-wide break.
But the long weekend comes after a particularly stressful stretch, when Chicago went 1-4-0 and was bounced from the US Open Cup at the first time of asking.
“It’s good, because we lost a lot of games,” midfielder Pável Pardo (above) told MLSsoccer.com. “This week is good. Everybody can focus again on what we have to do to be better.”
Klopas said he wants his players to get away from the game after Wednesday’s practice, and not just because of their recent stretch.
“This is a good little time when you have an opportunity to get away from the game,” Klopas said. “There’s no other time throughout the season where players can take a break and get away from the training pitches. Sometimes that’s hard to say, and really there’s no other time. It’s a long grind.”
For the first 68 minutes of the Fire’s 2-0 loss to New England Revolution this past Saturday, the Fire held steady, but two mental lapses led to two goals in the span of four minutes. In the Fire’s previous MLS game against Columbus, they allowed two goals in the first half.
Pardo thinks Chicago are playing well but need to focus on the finer points in order to stop their skid.
“I think we are [going] in the right way," the former Mexican international said. "We have to focus on details. We are not really bad, we play good if you analyze every game. This team is not bad. We create opportunities to score.”
During their two-week slide, the Fire played in five different cities, with their only win resulting from a home game against a depleted FC Dallas team. But Pardo doesn’t blame the travel or the high concentration of games.
“We don’t have to have excuses,” Pardo said. “We are professionals and we have to win every game. I know some games, we were unlucky, but this is the sport. For me, the excuses are for the losers.”