BRIDGEVIEW Ill. – The Chicago Fire lost their third game in a row on Sunday, falling to the LA Galaxy 2-1 at Toyota Park.
But the club isn't blaming the slide on poor play, but rather a series of small, correctable mistakes.
"I think we’re playing well,” Fire defender Jalil Anibaba said after Sunday's match. “There are minute errors that we need to correct, but we just need to stay together as a unit. Times like these show character and we have to figure out what our character is and we’ll be fine.”
“We’re pretty disappointed, but we can’t let our heads down,” added Fire defender Gonzalo Segares. “We haven’t been playing as bad as our results. We’ve been working hard; it’s just little mistakes that have been hurting us.”
Little mistakes ruined an otherwise solid game for Chicago on Sunday. The Fire’s first error came in the 18th minute, when forward Gaston Puerari got behind the LA defense, only to send his one-on-one opportunity with goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts just wide of the frame.
Chicago had another one-on-one with Ricketts just 10 minutes later. This time Segares slipped behind the Galaxy backline, but – like Puerari – he missed his chance, dragging his low shot wide of the net.
Both players were left to rue their near misses after the match.
“I don’t get a 1-v-1 with the goalkeeper that often,” Segares said. “I wish I could get it back.”
The Fire slipped up on the defensive end in the 42nd minute. There seemed to be a miscommunication along the backline, and no one picked up Galaxy striker Chad Barrett at the top of the box. That mistake allowed the former Fire forward to collect a cross and slot home from 10 yards out.
“It’s those little breakdowns that we’re having defensively that have been hurting us a lot,” Segares said. “The goal definitely brought the momentum down, and it was definitely tough on us.”
The Fire know they’ll have to start finishing better and eliminating mistakes in the back if they’re to get out of their rut against Houston next week. But they're also well aware that it’s early in the season, and that they have to keep their heads up if they want to stop their streak.
“We have to key in on our mistakes and correct them,” Anibaba said. “And we have to just stay calm. It’s still early, we still have to keep a good attitude and stay positive.”