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Questions with Hot Time in Old Town ahead of RSL-Fire match

With tomorrow's match rapidly approaching, we've talked to Ryan Sealock at SB Nation Chicago Fire blog Hot Time in Old Town about how his side's doing and how they've been faring since we last met — way back in May 2012.

Jonathan Daniel

1. As we now see Chicago Fire only once a year - it's like a family reunion or some such - most of us don't really know what you've been up to for the last year. What've things been like?

Well, not so good this year. as you probably remember, we came into the last month of 2012 in good form. Rather than locking up a top spot in the East, we slid into the playoffs and got knocked out against Houston. Heading into the season, most of us here at HTIOT were pretty confident of a top 3 finish in the East. As it stands now, we will be lucky to climb out of the doldrums we are in. It's a long season of course, but right now nothing can go right in Fire land.

Heading into the game this weekend, Real Salt Lake will be facing a team that has featured a decently solid defense the past month. We are still prone to costly mental lapses on the back line however. The Fire have a midfield that just can't put it together yet, and a striking duo that, well, doesn't score goals. As you can see, it's not been fun so far in the Windy City this season.

2. On that note, it doesn't seem you're doing at all well this season. How can that be corrected? Is this season going to just "one of those seasons," or can the Fire pull out of their slump?

It's pretty evident this isn't a slump that we were hoping the first few weeks. The team has regressed badly from last year. Although the sum of the off-season moves would have seemed to be positive, the production from those moves has been non-existent. And a rash of injuries has not made it any better.

While the Fire did re-acquire Bakary Soumare today to help fortify a hurting back line, more help is needed. Depth issues still persist on defense, and left wing is still a question mark. Dilly Duka has yet to really nail down the spot, and Joel Lindpere hasn't fared any better. As mentioned above, the Fire just can't score. The team has 6 total goals this year. So, yeah...

3. Getting Soumare back, huh? Think he plays Saturday? Should RSL fans be worried if he returns?

Although it's not certain he will play Saturday, I think odds are good he at least makes an appearance, if not a start. And it would be a definite boost to the team. Fire fans are happy today hearing about the move and his return to the Windy City. His return should certainly make it tougher for the RSL attack. While the Fire have been employing a CB duo of Austin Berry and Jalil Anibaba, the Men in Red will be much better off with a Soumare/Berry pairing.

The Fire have been struggling at right back, with Jalil Anibaba the only thing closest to a true RB on the roster. This move will allow him to slot back into the position that he is trying to grow in to. RSL fans should definitely kep an eye on Soumare if he plays Saturday.

4. Not to forget other potentially impending trades, too: Mike Magee? (Please take him away, we don't want to see him thrice a season any longer.) Robbie Rogers? Michael Stephens? What will it takes for your side to finally come together?

Although Fire fans would rave if Mike Magee came to Chicago, it's hard to see LA giving him up for Robbie Rogers rights. While the Fire must maximize their value for those rights, the team will likely settle for some combination of allocation money and draft picks. Stephens would be a nice acquisition however, but his name hasn't been bandied about as much.

Fans are calling for some offensive signings this summer. Recent rumors have mentioned Francesco Totti, but that's just speculation at this point. While the team seems likely to make some moves, the problem becomes how far behind the pack we are when the summer window finally comes. This team is a mess right now. While the additions of Soumare and another couple of players should help, a complete rebuild could also be in order too. Fans are hoping this is not the case, but it is looking more and more likely by the game.

Predicted lineup?

Johnson, Thompson, Anibaba, Berry, Segares, Pause, Larentowicz, Duka, Lindpere, Rolfe, Nyarko