Just as things were seemingly looking up, the Chicago Fire have been dealt a major blow to their impending playoff run.
After going down on Saturday night against NYCFC, our worst fears were confirmed yesterday: Michael de Leeuw has suffered a ruptured ACL, which will sideline him for the entirety of the MLS Cup Playoffs.
When I first heard the news, the only thing I could do was feel sorry for him; he is an incredibly hard worker, and always gives 100 percent for the club. He means so much to this team, and the players, coaches know it. He will come back stronger than ever, there’s no doubt about that; all the team can do now, however, is try to prepare for life without him, which will not be easy.
With three goals and eight assists on the year, his attacking presence will be a huge blow to a team that has just started regaining its luster going forward. Right now, it looks as though Djordje Mihailovic will have to pick up where the Lion left off, which is a role he’ll be relishing in his impressive form as of late.
It will also put a lot more pressure on the front three, who have depended on de Leeuw to link defense into attack all season, but with Niko back on fire, Solignac, Alvarez and Accam falling in behind, and Mihailovic more than likely becoming the centerpiece of the attacking movements from the midfield, all hope is certainly not lost.
For the Lion, this could not have happened at a worse time. For the team, the one positive is that they will have two regular season games to muster up a plan of attack without him. For both sides, nothing is ideal; however, great teams are those who battle through adversity, and I have seen plenty of battling from this team this season. They may have taken a few big hits, but they are not out of the fight.