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Fire chalk up loss as lesson learned

BRIDGEVIEW -- The Chicago Fire are a collective bunch. Following last week's 4-1 loss to Toronto FC, the Fire players to their head coach were sharing the blame.

Defender C.J. Brown said the loss was squarely on the defense: "It was 100 percent our fault."

Midfielder and Chicago's lone goal scorer Logan Pause said "it's the whole collect -- us in the midfield, knowing when to go, when to stay."

And Fire head coach Carlos de los Cobos said, "It was my responsibility. I tried to push the team in the second half, tried to find the score, find the goal that would tie it."

The Fire came up short across the entire pitch, and Toronto capitalized. Simply put, Chicago hopes this match represents a lesson learned.

"We took one on the chin this past week. There's really no other way to look at it," Pause said. "It's unfortunate. We got exposed, tried to push the game a little bit in the second half, gave up that early goal right at the start of the second half -- that hurt us."

Chicago (2-3-2) prepares for a road trip to face the Kansas City Wizards (2-3-1) on Saturday. Reiterating the shortcomings from last week provides a vivid picture of just how much Chicago strayed from its game plan and what the Fire did well in some of their previous matches.

Organization: "I'm usually the one that keeps it fairly organized, and I didn't," Brown said. "I felt I was out of the play, pushed up somewhat too high and guys were running behind me, which is unusual. So a lot of it falls on me."

Discipline: "I think we were a little naive," Pause said. "Their second two goals actually came from us having opportunities in their box. They're a team that can kill you on the counter, and that's exactly what they did. Within two passes they were in our box, and I think we definitely pressed the game trying to equalize. That came with the expense of losing our heads, losing our discipline a little bit as a group."

"The problem was we didn't stay alert," De los Cobos said. "We didn't play with concentration at very important moments of the match."

Execution: "We went with the intention to push a little bit more, and when we push, it doesn't mean that our back line needs to get involved," Brown said. "We just need to stay tight to our marks. I felt I had to push, and that got me out of sorts and guys were just running behind us."

The Fire have pinpointed some of their flaws from last week. They still have plenty of other tests and opportunities to correct their wrongs.