Saturday's 1-1 draw against D.C. United marked the end of the first part of the Chicago Fire's schedule.
The Fire had five of the first seven matches of the season at home. They went 1-2-2 in those matches. Throw in two draws in two road matches and the Fire have seven points through seven matches.
That start for a new coach and a rebuilding team isn't damning without full context. The Fire are only two points behind the playoff line in the Eastern Conference and entered the weekend having played fewer matches than every other team in the league. However, failing to win matches at home is a concern for the team's prospects ahead.
"We’ll take the point, but at the same time we’re at home," midfielder Arturo Alvarez said after the match. "We want to start winning games at home. We need to.”
Things will get much more difficult ahead. The next match at home will be on May 21 and the number of road games will soon even out.
After yet another off weekend upcoming, the Fire will play at Vancouver (May 11), at New England (May 14) and at the New York Red Bulls (May 18). Three straight road games in eight days and including cross country travel will be a stiff test for the team.
“Now that we’re going on the road and we haven’t gotten points at home, we have to win on the road or else we’re going to be (in trouble) here so we need to get the wins and we need to win a game on the road now,” midfielder Michael Stephens said.
Coach Veljko Paunovic called the draw a fair result. Campbell's goal was the only shot on target for the Fire. D.C. had only three shots on goal.
Paunovic preached patience while still wanting more from the team's results.
“No doubt that we wanted to win this game more than anything," Paunovic said. "We had the opportunity. It was there, but still we have to understand that we are a young team, a team in the process, which requires a lot of effort to win games. I’m happy with one point. Of course they also had good opportunities to win the game and I think that’s where we are at this point."
There's nothing wrong with a team with so many new parts taking time to develop and MLS playoff spots are not lost in May. However, the upcoming road trip could put the Fire in an early hole unless things get better quickly.