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3 Questions With: Hot Time In Old Town - New York Red Bulls vs Chicago Fire, MLS 2018, Match 6

A familiar face is back in town as the Red Bulls try to build off last week’s big win.

MLS: Eastern Conference Knockout Round-New York Red Bulls at Chicago Fire Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Bulls got on track last week against the Montreal Impact with Bradley Wright-Phillips and Kaku making quick work of the Red Bull Arena visitors.

This week they’ll look to maintain their momentum as the Chicago Fire come to town, bringing former RBNY captain Dax McCarty and World Cup legend Bastian Schweinsteiger in tow.

To give us some insight as to what we can expect from the Red Bulls’ opponent this week, we had a lovely sitdown with Sean Spence, Editor-in-Chief of Hot Time In Old Town. And after another fruitless argument over which is better - NY Pizza vs Chicago-style pizza - he was kind enough to answer three questions about the Fire:

1) Our old friend Dax McCarty seemed a bit tense after the game against the Galaxy. What’s been the cause of the team’s early-season struggles?

Sean Spence: “There’s just not enough talent on the field to really compete in MLS at this point. The overall roster is quite a bit thinner than last year’s, with Juninho and David Accam the big-money misses, and add to that an injury plague that extended back to the end of last season - starters Michael de Leeuw, Matt Polster, Luis Solignac and Djordje Mihalovic have missed most or all of the season, and will be out for a while yet. Oh, and the coach has decided the one decent signing made this offseason (Aleksandr Katai) is actually Mr. Poopy Poopai and won’t start him, because that is a thing he seems to do every year and it’s super fun. We are talking about a team that started Jason Collier, a rookie target man, in attacking midfield against the Galaxy. Hence Dax’s exasperation - he arguably wasn’t engaged in criticism in that moment, only description. The Fire Aren’t Good Enough. (Again.)”

2) Rumor has it that an anonymous Eastern Conference team made a $750k bid for Lee Nguyen, and you guys got a ton of money this past winter from Philly for David Accam. So be honest: Was it you?

Sean Spence: “...I’d love it if the Fire were the ones buying Lee. The reason they might not is that it’s painfully obvious that they - meaning Nelson Rodriguez and his soul-mate Velko Paunovic - could’ve had him in earlier for very similar or maybe less money, could’ve had him integrated and part of the starting XI the whole time, but instead they sat and waited for the roster’s obvious weakness to force them to panic-buy him for top dollar. Obviously it’s best to bite the bullet and get him in ASAP if you’re going to do it, but after this offseason, I wonder if they might just vapor-lock again, feeling that doing nothing and hoping for the best would be better than an acquisition that, while helping the roster, could hurt the reputation and self-esteem of the front office.”

3) I know the season is pretty young, but which new acquisition from this past winter has made the biggest impact for the team so far?

Sean Spence: “Uhhhhhh ...Tony Tchani has managed to demonstrate pretty conclusively that the basic time-and-space-control template the Fire won with in 2017 was going to be unworkable, so long as the lineup includes “12. Tony Tchani.” So that’s impactful, just not maybe in the way you’d like.

“Going for positivity, I guess I’d say Diego Campos has had the best bits of play of the offseason acquisitions. Katai is obviously head and shoulders above everyone else the Fire brought in this season - and would actually fit really well in the Red Bulls system, a grinder who creates chances very well in fluid transition situations, plus he can really dribble - but we haven’t seen him getting much time. Here’s to hopin’.”

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Many thanks to Sean Spence for his time, and please check out Once A Metro’s answers to Sean’s questions at Hot Time In Old Town.