Fire defend Wicky after falling to last with loss to FC Cincinnati

The Fire’s new logo was seemingly received positively by the team’s fans. Famed broadcaster Arlo White’s voice is sounding as smooth and velvety as advertised during his summer cameo. Neither matter much because of how bad the team is on the field.

SHARE Fire defend Wicky after falling to last with loss to FC Cincinnati
Fire midfielder Luka Stojanovic controls the ball during the first half of Wednesday’s game.

Fire midfielder Luka Stojanovic controls the ball during the first half of Wednesday’s game.

Courtesy of the Fire

The Fire’s new logo seemingly was received positively by the team’s fans. Famed broadcaster Arlo White’s voice is sounding as smooth and velvety as advertised during his summer cameo.

Neither matter much because of how bad the Fire are on the field.

In a matchup of the bottom two clubs in Major League Soccer, the Fire lost to FC Cincinnati 1-0 on Wednesday night, falling to last in the 27-team league. In front of an announced Soldier Field crowd of 5,926, the Fire (1-7-1, four points) began their four-game homestand with another performance that will lead to even more questions about the progress of the team and the future of coach Raphael Wicky.

Wicky said his job security is out of his control but likes being the coach and working with the players and staff. The question about his status, he said, would have to go to other people.

“The only thing I can say is I’m here 100% committed,” Wicky said.

During the closing moments of the match, an audible WICKY OUT! chant was heard. Both captain Francisco Calvo and goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth are standing behind Wicky, whose contract has a club option for 2022.

“We support Wicky all the way,” Calvo said. “He’s our coach, and he’s going to be our coach hopefully for many years.”

Said Shuttleworth: “One hundred percent; I think Rapha is a great manager. He puts us in positions to succeed.”

Of course, questions like that are natural with how things have gone in 2020 and now 2021, though the team wasn’t built by Wicky. The Fire have scored four goals in nine games, with two coming in the first 15 minutes of the season. And barring something extremely unlikely, the Fire will miss the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year while failing to move closer to the middle of the league, let alone the top.

Coming off a 2-0 loss to Columbus — after which Wicky questioned their urgency during the first half — the Fire surrendered nine shots on goal in the opening 45 minutes while they mustered none of their own. Shuttleworth stopped all nine shots, getting the Fire to intermission tied despite the lopsided stats.

After that first-half dominance, FC Cincinnati took the lead in the 50th minute when midfielder Alvaro Barreal got a free kick past Shuttleworth. The Fire thought they tied the game in second-half stoppage time when Robert Beric headed the ball in, but the goal was ruled offside after review.

“The team is hurt,” Calvo said. “It’s a long season in front of us. We cannot put our heads down. I know it’s a difficult stretch for the club and for us, but we need to keep going.”

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