May 30, 2023

Chicago Fire concede another “ridiculous” late goal leaving Ezra Hendrickson frustrated

The Chicago Fire collapsed once again, this time in their 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls on Saturday night. The team conceded a late goal from a set piece, a scene that has become all too familiar for Ezra Hendrickson’s side.

The Fire have now dropped points due to last-minute goals in their last two MLS fixtures, inspiring a 2-1 loss against Atlanta United and the 1-1 draw vs. the New York Red Bulls. Both games saw the late goals from a corner in which Chicago failed to mark opposing players.

“It’s the same thing that has happened three times now. Late in the game, corner kick and we decide we’re not going to mark our man. On corners, each man has a responsibility, each man has a player that they’re supposed to be marking. They know it. It’s not like we don’t know it,” Hendrickson bluntly stated.

“But I have to take responsibility because at the end of the day I’m the head coach and it’s my team and we’re letting these points slip away like that. Obviously I’m not out there marking, but I have to get guys on the pitch who are going to step up in these precious situations and just not get beat. Just not get beat. We are at home, a minute or two or so to go. They get a corner and we lose our mark. Once again. It’s just ridiculous and it has to stop.”

Visibly upset, Hendrickson hinted at training solely to defend corner kicks: “We’re just going to have to spend maybe a whole training session just training to defend corner kicks because we’re just horrible at it.”

While the 2023 MLS season is still young, Chicago are dropping points right now that could potentially harm playoff chances later on as they have missed out on the postseason in recent years.

“It has to stop and we are just gonna have to train harder and harder at defending set pieces, defending corner kicks in particular because this cannot keep happening. It’s early in the season, yes, but these points are crucial points,” the coach added.

Chicago are 11th in the Eastern Conference with 11 points in 10 games. If they continue this theme of conceding late on in games they could find themselves even further down the table sooner rather than later.