Xherdan Shaqiri

Three observations from the Fire's 3-1 loss to Orlando City


The Chicago Fire saw their two-game winning streak snapped following a 3-1 loss to Orlando City on Saturday.

Here are three observations from the loss.

VAR controversy

Down a goal heading into the second half, the Fire had the opportunity to equalize in the 50th minute. Kei Kamara connected with a header off a corner only to see his shot saved by Orlando City keeper Pedro Gallese. The Fire still could have equalized had Fabian Herbers managed to make better contact. Herbers stumbled and fell before striking the ball, allowing enough time for his shot to be cleared off the line.

However, down the other end and once the ball went out of play, the referee was awaiting word from VAR to see if Kamara's header had cleared the line.

Based on one replay, it looked like it had. On another, it wasn't conclusive.

Given the technology available, it has to be frustrating for Frank Klopas and his team that there is no goal line camera angle where you can determine whether or not the ball crossed the line. Even more so that there is no goal line technology.

The other call the Fire could feel hard done by is on the third goal where Ramiro Enrique clearly makes an attempt for the ball despite in an offside position. Neither the referee nor the linesman whistle for an offside and the goal stood. The argument here is he laid off and didn't interfere with play.

The action is somewhat similar to a play in the Manchester Derby where Marcus Rashford, clearly offside as well, went for the ball but ended up backing off, leading to Bruno Fernandes scoring. On that occasion, the effort to play the ball was more blatant.

Xherdan Shaqiri is hit-and-miss

One could argue none of the Fire's forwards covered themselves in glory. The team only had eight shots, with only four on target. But one would hope that Xherdan Shaqiri would be able to stand out given his trajectory and Designated Player status.

While he wasn't egregiously bad, it was a reminder of what the Fire have gotten from Shaqiri since he's arrived.

That he had no influence in the first half could be attributed to the fact the Fire rarely had the ball so he wasn't allowed to do so. However, that wasn't the case in the second half.

Down 2-0, he could have cut into the lead when he was practically all alone inside the box, all but having a one-on-one against the keeper. But it was still a toss-up as to whether he was going to score or not and his shot ended up going over the bar for a goal kick. He did manage to convert his penalty minutes later. He ultimately was subbed off late in the game.

His situation is an interesting one, again, given how much the Fire committed to him and less than stellar return. What's more, the emergence of Brian Gutierrez has called into question where Shaqiri fits on the pitch and whether the pair can function at their best with both of them on the pitch at the same time.

Six points out of nine a good road trip for the Fire

The manner of the loss to Orlando City is going to sting for the Fire but it should not take away from the fact that they came away from a three-game road trip with two wins. Getting six points out of a possible nine is a good result no matter which way you look at it.

However, the Fire are in a position where they can seldom afford to drop too many more points.

If this team wants a shot at making the postseason, they need to win and pick up as many points as possible. With D.C. United losing, the Fire remain only three points behind a playoff spot. The bad part is they're in 13th place, meaning there are a handful of teams they would still have to leapfrog.

The Fire do have an upcoming four game stretch where they play all their games at Soldier Field. It is going to be an important stretch where it could determine if they have anything to play for the rest of the season. But it won't get off to an easy start as the first of their four opponents is Nashville who currently sit second place in the Eastern Conference.

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