Friday, April 22, 2011

Floundering Fire confront Dynamo

Jalil Anibaba -- Getty Images
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- The Chicago Fire's current three-game losing streak is creeping into the realm of historic proportions if the team cannot turn things around Saturday when it hosts the Houston Dynamo at Toyota Park.

One more loss would put this stretch among only a handful of four-game Fire droughts, the most recent being a four-game skid in May of 2007.

"The mentality's always strong, but the confidence, we've lost a little bit of," Fire head coach Carlos de los Cobos said Friday following training.

The Fire (1-3-1, four points) have had to rely on some of their younger personnel to shoulder the load this season. Second-year goalkeeper Sean Johnson and 2011 first-round draft pick and defender Jalil Anibaba thrust themselves into starting roles. But both have been prone to some big mistakes in recent matches.

De los Cobos decided before last week's 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy to turn to 33-year-old goalkeeper Jon Conway, who will return to the starting lineup Saturday against Houston. De los Cobos said that Anibaba continues to maintain his starting right back role.

"I think patience is the key, for everybody," 12-year veteran Conway said. "A lot's expected of these young guys, but they are young guys. You've got to realize that being thrown into this sort of environment, this quick and as tough as it may be, sometimes it takes a little bit longer. For me, all I do is show up and train like I have for my whole career and just train hard, and maybe that translates over to them and they can take that from me. I have had a long run of things, fortunately, and maybe that helps them out with getting over what they have to get over."


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