The 2023 Schedule Show
The 2023 schedule is out and that means the return of the Hot Cast! Ruben and RJ return to talk first about the last month or so of soccer. From the World Cup and Xherdan Shaqiri's performances to the tragedy surrounding Grant Whal's passing. Then they talk bout Jhan Duran's situation. What clubs are coming for him, and where the best place for him to end up would be. After that, they transition into talking about the Fire's schedule. What are the most interesting games? What's the toughest stretch for the club? And is it an easy schedule or difficult? All of that and more on this schedule reveal edition of the Hot Cast.
December 21, 2022
The World Cast: Here Come the Knockouts
It's been an absolutely crazy couple of days in Qatar and Ruben and Alex are here to talk about it. Group E and Group H finished off with some crazy results and some surprise additions to the knockout stage. Ghana get revenge of a sort against Uruguay for the actions of 12 years ago and South Korea continue the country's year of miracles by beating Portugal and qualifying themselves into the last 16. Their reward? A match against Brazil. Meanwhile, the hosts look forward to the first knockout round. Ruben has some American optimism while Alex is not so sure. And Did Spain Miscalculate by wanting to finish 2nd in the Group? All that and more on the Group Stage wrap up edition of the World Cast
December 03, 2022
The World Cast: Decider Days
Welcome to episode 2 of the World Cast, Hot Time's World Cup podcast. Today on the show, Ruben and Alex start by talking about their feelings on the tournament as a whole, from the lack of quality games and the crackdown on protesters of all sorts to the amazing upsets and teams underperforming. Then they go over all the groups and scenarios on who will make the knockout stage. They talk about what went wrong for Mexico, which team is going to play spoiler, and which Cinderella teams are going to make it to the dance. They end the show discussing USA vs Iran and why Geovanni Reyna is going to be the most important player in the squad tomorrow. All that plus Can Wales ruin the England party on this edition of the World Cast!
November 29, 2022
The World Cast: World Cup Preview
Welcome to the World Cast! Hot Time in Old Town's World Cup podcast. In this episode, Ruben and Alex preview the group stage and get you ready for the month-long journey in West Asia. They start by going over the USMNT roster and attempt to figure out who's going to start up top and on the wings, as well as what their ideal XI is. They then go group by group talking about the teams and who will survive to the knockout stage. There are some spicy hot takes here, and you don't want to miss out on which big teams they think are going out in groups! But before all of that, there was a bit of MLS news they had to discuss. The pricing of the Apple TV deal was released and both Ruben and Alex have some thoughts (The WC preview starts at 10:52 if you want to skip the MLS media talk). All of that plus what is going to be the most entertaining game of the group stage on this preview edition of the World Cast.
November 17, 2022
The Grand Finale
On the final episode of the HotCast for the 2022 season, Ruben and RJ take stock of the Fire in a free-flowing conversation that takes you all over the place. They start with the question of whether or not the campaign was a disappointment (it was) and from there, they discuss what part randomness had to play in the fate of the 2022 Men in Red. From there, they discuss what the club needs to do in the offseason to improve, and little room for error there is. Plus, Ruben has a bad take about the GM position. All of that and more on the season finale of the Hot Cast
October 17, 2022
On this week's episode of the Hot Cast, Ruben and RJ break down all things Fire at Cincinnati. They discuss all the blossoming of young talent on this team after the Team of the Week performances by both Brian Gutierrez and Jhon Duran. They then question whether or no the team is better without Xherdan Shaqiri, and what that could mean going into next year. They then leapfrog from that to discussing where the Fire would be best served by DP's with all this young talent on the roster. Do you want to stick a DP in front of Guti, Duran or Mueller? And finally, at the end of the show, they also briefly discuss the findings of the Yates investigation of the NWSL misconduct allegations. All that and more on The Hot Cast.
October 04, 2022
Should I Stay or Should I Go?
The Hot Cast returns as Ruben and RJ are here to herald the end of the season. They start the show talking about Saturday's collapse against Charlotte, and the play of Kendell Burks, and how he's a talented but not an MLS-level player. (yet, according to Ruben) And from there, they talk about Xherdan Shaqiri. How he seems uninterested in helping the Fire and they discuss whether or not the Fire should accept a deal for him, what a deal like that would look like, and where it could come from. After that they talk about some of the good things that came from that game, including the emergence of Jhon Duran and the continued improvement of Brian Gutierrez. All of that plus some needed clarification on their comments about Georg Heitz and Nelson Rodriguez.
September 19, 2022
Clearing the Table
On today's show, Ruben and RJ talk about the virtual end of the Chicago Fire's season. They go over the good, bad, and indifferent of the two games against Miami and Montreal- including the performances of their younger players. That dovetails into a discussion about Ezra's job as a coach as well as Georg Heitz's positive and negative qualities. Then, they start thinking about next season a bit as they discuss where the roster needs to improve, and what space they have on the roster to do so. All of that plus Gaga under Graham Potter on this week's Hot Cast.
September 15, 2022
Ruben and RJ are back to discuss the week in Fire news. They start by briefly discussing the results of the two Derbys from last week, both 0-0 draws on the road. They complain a bit about the Gillette Stadium field quality and lament the lack of finishing from Fire attackers. Then they talk about the injuries that have plagued the team's creative players for the last month. They then get positive with praise for the defense and the job the coaching staff have done to make them one of the best units in MLS. All of that plus a look ahead on this week's Hot Cast.
September 05, 2022
Ruben and RJ are back this week to prematurely eulogize the Chicago Fire's season. They dissect the loss against Montreal and explain how it wasn't that bad a performance until they couldn't score any goals. They then talked about the injuries to Shaqiri and Czichos and how that, more than the loss itself, was the nail in the Fire's coffin. They then talk about how the club are going to finish the season with these injuries and a two-game rivalry week on the horizon. Finally, they talk about the emotions of the upcoming week of matches and Ruben tries to convince you to go to Columbus this weekend. All that and more on this week's Hot Cast.
August 29, 2022
Ruben and RJ are back to discuss the demoralizing loss to NYCFC. They break down what went wrong for the Fire, including an in-depth explanation of what happened during the pigeon's first goal. They also discuss what City did well and how they smothered the Fire's potent midfield attack. They eventually move on to talk about the injury problems and what they're going to do if Carlos Teran isn't healthy. They also look at the remaining 8 games to see if the Fire can do the damn thing. Ruben is more positive whereas RJ has trouble believing, and you can't really blame him. All that and more on this week's Hot Cast.
August 22, 2022
GG Go Next
The Hot Cast returns to look at the Fire's loss against the Union. Ruben and RJ break down the defensive errors, and both of them have positive and negative things to say. They then talk about what the Fire should do moving forward without Gaston Gimenez, including tactics and personnel decisions that need to be made rather quickly. After that, they leave MLS behind to talk a little about the first ever Girrard/Lampard coaching derby and a detour to the Field of Dreams game. All of that and more on this week's Hot Cast.
August 15, 2022
Ruben and RJ return with another episode of the Hot Cast. On today's show, they rap about the Fire's come from behind win on the road in Charlotte. They discuss how this wouldn't have happened in the past, and how this team's mental fortitude projects to good things going forward. They also talk about how good the defense was, considering the circumstances, and they praise Xherdan Shaqiri and Kacper Przybylko for finally coming into their own. Then they talk about all the news from the last week. They go over the Chinonso Offor deal, and Ruben explains why it was good, even if at first glance it looks like they got hosed in the deal. They then spend a few minutes talking about the Jhon Duran Instagram controversy. All of that plus EVO 2022 on this week's Hot Cast!
August 08, 2022
Welcome back to the Hot Cast. Ruben and RJ start the show with the big news of the week; Gabriel Slonina's impending transfer to Chelsea in England. They discuss what it means for his career, the pros and cons of the move, and what it means for the Fire. Then they go on to break down the Fire's 0-0 draw with Atlanta. They talk about Jairo Torres getting the start, as well as all of the other tweaks Ezra Hendrickson made over the weekend. They also talk about what tactical changes he could make to get the best team on the field. Plus, Ruben makes a bold tactical comparison in which an ex-Fire player is involved. All that and more on this week's Hot Cast.
August 01, 2022
The Fire Are Good Now?
Ruben and RJ return to the Hot Cast! On today's show, your hosts discuss the amazing turnaround of the Fire's season over the last 10 or so days. They talk about what's happened for the Fire to get there, and what they need to do to continue to get better in order to not just make the playoffs, but do some damage there. They look forward to the weekend against Atlanta and fantasize about the results. All of that plus RJ's Food Review on Water!!! on this week's Hot Cast.
July 25, 2022
On today's episode of the Hot Cast, Ruben and RJ break down the game against Columbus. They discuss the role the front office and coaching staff played in the Fire's total collapse, and what Ezra and co. could have done to change the outcome. They then have a frank discussion on where the club is both in the season and toward the future. Then things get a bit positive toward the end as Ruben discusses all the good stuff from Saturday, including the continued maturation of Jhon Duran and Brian Gutierrez. All of that plus convenience store pizza on this week's Hot Cast.
July 11, 2022
The Post Game Show
Ruben and RJ are back to squeeze in a HotCast! Recorded just after the Final Whistle on Wednesday, your hosts revel in the victory as much as they can, breaking down what went right against Philly that didn't happen on Saturday in Houston. They talk about Shaqiri's effectiveness and relitigate where he's most effected. All of that and more on this post-game edition of the Hot Cast. Note: Ruben was feeling sick and tested positive for Covid the next day. We apologize for any quality issues.
June 30, 2022
Ruben and RJ are back from the international break, and so are the Fire's winning ways! Your hosts break down all the happenings of the match. They praise the breakout performance of Brian Gutierrez as well as heap praise on Chris Mueller. Then they talk about the narrative surrounding Gaston Gimenez and how is performances don't quite fit it. They go on to talk about all the things they missed from their time off. RJ has some thoughts on the Arlo White situation, and Both Ruben and RJ have thoughts on the Apple TV situation. All of that plus NASCAR(!?) on this week's Hot Cast.
June 20, 2022
Anger and Helplessness
Start your 4 day week right with this week's episode of the Hot Cast. Ruben and RJ talk about the heartbreaker against TFC and what went wrong (spoiler, not much), and why it always seems to happen to the Fire. Then, they talk tactics. They figure out why things looked so good over the weekend Ruben makes an argument that the Fire are clearly better then their record is, and RJ pushes back a little. After they exhaust the topic, they talk a bit about the weekend in world soccer. All of that and more on this week's Hot Cast. Note: This was recorded Saturday Night due to scheduling conflicts over the weekend
May 31, 2022
The Hot Cast is tired. Ruben and RJ slog through the week that was in Chicago Frie Soccer. They talk through the Fire's week in New York and while there was a lot of good play, the results trump the good progress they've made. They continue to talk about the struggles of Xherdan Shaqiri and what the team has to do to get him going. They then branch out to talk a bit about the larger soccer world, as it was the final day of the Premier League and Serie A. It was not a good day for one of our hosts. All of that and more on this week's episode of the Hot Cast.
May 23, 2022
Ruben and RJ return with a brand new Hot Cast after the Fire's loss to FC Cincinnati. Today, they go over what went wrong with the Fire's defense and why they can't seem to find the back of the net except on set pieces. They have a long discussion about Xherdan Shaqiri and where he could help the team because it doesn't seem like the middle is it. However, the boys are actually pretty optimistic about the club's future despite the loss, so if you want some reassurance for the rest of the year, this is the show for you! All of that plus an RJ Food Review on this week's Hot Cast.
May 16, 2022
The Old Fire
Ruben and RJ return for a brand new episode of the show. Ruben sounds like he's in a fish bowl because he's developed an allergy to bad defense, and the Fire are trying to kill him. They break down what went wrong on the turf fields of the Benz, including a disastrous performance by Carlos Teran. They then talk about what to do with Xherdan Shaqiri and where he's the most effective. Ruben then gets positive about the future while RJ seems a little less convinced. All of that and more on this week's Hot Cast! Now on Mondays!
May 09, 2022
Storm Before the Calm
Ruben and RJ return after a week off because Ruben was moving. They discuss the loss to the Red Bulls and why this keeps happening. They discuss the officiating quality of Jon Freedman as well as MLS and PRO referees as a whole, bemoaning their general lack of consistency and compatance. Then they talk about Jairo Torres and Chris Mueller’s impending arrivals, and what that would mean tactically for the squad. Spoiler: 2011 Real Madrid gets a mention. All that plus RJ’s long-awaited two-sentence review of Hazy Pitch on this week’s Hot Cast.
May 03, 2022
The Chicago Fire are out of the Open Cup, and Ruben and RJ are here to talk about it. They go over every little detail of the match from coaching strategy to the on-field performances to the rub of the green and lack of it. No stone is unturned and nothing is left unsaid. Then they run down the results from the rest of the 3rd round and go over tonight's fixtures. They also take a bit of time to go over the LA Galaxy match from last weekend and look forward to the trip up to Minnesota at the weekend. It's all that plus some expensive hot dogs on this week's Hot Cast.
April 20, 2022
The Chicago Fire finally lost and Ruben and RJ are back this week to discuss the inevitable. They go over the loss to Orlando including praise of the Defense's attention to detail. They also discuss the lack of offensive production, and Ruben finally gives you all permission to panic. Brian Gutierrez's red card is also talked about, and your hosts talk about the lack of discipline of the squad and how they have to wake up to the new reality of not being able to disrupt quick restarts. All of that plus a look to the LA Galaxy this weekend on this week's Hot Cast.
April 12, 2022
Worst Case Scenario
Ruben and RJ are here to discuss all things Chicago Fire. They begin the show talking about the 0-0 draw with FC Dallas that kept the Brimstone Cup in Chicago for another year. They talk through the team's reaction to having their two most important signings of the winter be out and still be able to get a result. Rhen they talk through their worries about the attack and what they need to do going forward. Then they react to the Fire making the top 10 of the MLS power rankings for the first time in years, and what that tells us about how the MLS Inteligencia feels about the team. All of that plus the US Open Cup 2nd round on this week's Hot Cast.
April 06, 2022
The Fire are Good
Ruben and RJ are back this week after taking the international break early due to health reasons, so they have a jampacked show for you today. First, they talk a bit about the win over SKC and how well they played on the day and what it means going forward. They also discuss the big picture of the Fire's first 4 games. What's impressed them, and what they're still worried about. They then spend the second half of the show talking about all sorts of miscellaneous soccer stuff. They talk about how the CAF and AFC need more love from the west, and how Ocianna does not. They then talk a bit about the USMNT and circle back around to Saturday's match against FC Dallas. All of that and Kingdom Hearts on this week's Hot Cast.
March 29, 2022
Ruben and RJ are both ecstatic and perplexed by this week's win at DC United. They talk about the improved defense, Ezra Hendrickson and the rest of the coaching staff's involvement in turning this ship around, and goals, Jerry, goals! They also spend a lot of time talking about Gastón Giménez and how frustrating he is with his inconsistent play. They end the show with some talk about the situation in Mexico from a fortnight ago and the lack of response from the governing bodies of football. All that and more on this week's Hot Cast.
March 15, 2022
No Goals No Problems?
Ruben and RJ are back to break down the weekend's action (or lack thereof). They start with some praise of the Fire's defense and how it's so much better than in the last several seasons. Then they talk a bit about the problems the offense is having, and how they're really unable to fix it during the transfer window. Aftrer breaking down the match against Orlando, your hosts then chat about The Athletic's 2022 MLS Anonymous GM Servey. The Fire were mentioned a bunch we talk about how the Fire are seen by the rest of the league. All of that plus some video game talk on this week's Hot Cast!
March 08, 2022
And So It Begins
Ruben and RJ are back and on-topic this week as there was a lot to digest after the scoreless draw in Miami. They go through what happened on Saturday evening player by player and attempt to put their finger on what went right for the Fire and what they need to do to improve on their performance. Then they talk about Saturday's home opener while Ruben tries to convince RJ that Jhon Durán should be starting instead of Fabian Herbers. All of that plus a Manny's Deli shoutout on this week's Hot Cast.
March 01, 2022
The 2022 Chicago Fire Season Preview
Ruben and RJ are back for another year of The Hot Cast. They break down the Fire's offseason and discuss their overhaul of the roster. Then they move on to discuss where they think the Fire can go, and try to answer who the club's MVP will be. They then turn their attention to the match at Inter Miami and talk Fire win conditions. All that plus predictions and thoughts on the Cup on this week's Hot Cast.
February 26, 2022
Offseason 3 Shaquiri Tactics
Ruben and RJ return for their last podcast before the official season preview and they're here to talk about all things Xeridan Shaquiri. They not only talk about what this move means for the club and their ambitions for the league but also take a deep dive onto the audio chalkboard to discuss the tactics of the move. They talk about where they think he'll be best used and what the squad can do around him to make the most of a player of his caliber. They then shift the conversation to tactics in general, and how they'd like to see the Fire set up, and discuss some of the challenges Esra Hendrickson will have putting a line-up together. All of that plus some CONCACAF Champions League on this week's Hot Cast.
February 08, 2022
The December Check-In is Late!
Ruben and RJ return to check in on what the Chicago Fire have been up to since their last show. They discuss the brand new signing Rafael Czihos from FC Köln in the German Bundesliga and what impact they'll have on the squad. Then they go over everything that happened over the month of December including Ezra Henderickson rounding out his coaching staff with club legend CJ Brown (and discuss what that means for The House and NISA) the various small signings, and the release of the 2022 schedule. All of that and more on this week's Hot Cast.
January 04, 2022
The Coach Show
Happy Thanksgiving from the Hot Cast! Ruben and RJ are back sooner than expected to talk about the recent coaching news for both top flight teams in the city. They discuss Ezra Hendrickson's background and examine his resume, talk about how he'll affect the transfer moves during the offseason, and what kind of football to expect out of the club next season. Score another point for Ruben's theory that mid-2000's Chivas USA is secretly the most important MLS club in league history. Then they discuss the accusations from the Washington Post against former Red Stars head coach Rory Dames. They address the allegations and discuss how we all need to do better to identify and prevent this from happening in the future. Note: This was recorded Monday 11/22 and some of the things discussed in the podcast may not reflect on moments that came after.
November 25, 2021
Season 3 Episode 25: The Finale
It's the last episode of the season, which means it's time to eulogize and autopsy the 2-21 Chicago Fire. Ruben and RJ discuss what went wrong, what went right, and everything in between. They discuss their general feelings from the season, the new logo, and have a (very short) debate over who the MVP for the team was. They also ask who the Fire should hire to manage the squad, and try to figure out what the club needs to do to improve the roster for next season. All that and why PSG suck on this week's Hot Cast.
November 17, 2021
Season 3 Episode 24: The Coach Show
Ruben and RJ are back on an off weekend for once to talk about all the discourse surrounding the local men's XI. They briefly talk about the loss to NYCFC and quickly move on to the news dropped in The Athletic about the three known head coach candidates that have had interviews for the job. They discuss who they are and what the positives and negatives they could bring to the job. Ruben also talks about tactical philosophy and the dubious success of the Bob Bradley coaching tree. All that and more on this week's Hot Cast. note* As mentioned in the episode, there will not be an episode next week, so the season review show will be recorded and posted the week of the 14th.
November 03, 2021
Season 3 Episode 23: Flu Season
Ruben and RJ are back battling the flu on this week's Hot Cast. They start off talking through the last week or so of results for the Fire and talk a bit about why things are going better for them now versus the previous 6 months. Then they talk about Fan Appreciation Night and what it was like having 30 thousand people at Soldier Field. We also get an RJ Food Review and discuss the two recent signings; Homegrown midfielder Sergio Oregel and Kacey Anderson FIFA personality and content creator. That and more on this week's Hot Cast.
October 26, 2021
Season 3 Episode 22: Mascot Fights
Ruben and RJ are back to talk about them Fires. In today's episode. they speak to the Fire's 3-1 loss to Toronto FC, but end up feeling positive about the whole thing. Then they jump off to begin to explore who should be on the team for next year, and who will need to find a roster spot elsewhere. Then they discuss the official adoption of the brand new team crest and explore the new items in the shop. Then finally they spend too much time talking about the diamond chain and of course, Mascot Wrestling.
October 05, 2021
Season 3 Episode 21: Roster Rules
Ruben and RJ are back with another big picture episode. Ruben makes the case on why Georg Heitz and Raphael Wicky should come back next season after they use the last week of results to talk about the Fire's current roster problems. Then they talk about how to fix it and go through and look at who most likely is and isn't coming back next year. All that and more on this week's episode of the Hot Cast.
September 28, 2021
Season 3 Episode 20: Big Picture
On today’s episode of the Hot Cast, Ruben and RJ forgo a real discussion on the losses to DC and Montreal to focus on the macro view of the club. They start by discussing the absences of Ignacio Aliseda and Gaston Gimenez and what they mean for the squad going forward. Then they talk about the interview Fire general manager Georg Heitz gave to Tyler Terens that aired at halftime of the Montreal match and was put on Youtube. All of that and a farewell to Carli Lloyd on this week’s Hot Cast.
September 21, 2021
Season 3 Episode 19: All Business
On today’s episode of the show, Ruben and RJ find a window to record during a short week around family obligations to talk about the Chicago Fire’s loss to Sporting Kansas City. They opine on Fredrico Navarro’s debut and how it changed everything and talk about Raphael Wickey getting it wrong in the first half. Then they look at the defense and how a back four looks without their captain and what they can do going forward for the rest of the season and beyond. It’s all business on this compact edition of the Hot Cast.
September 14, 2021
Season 3 Episode 18: Past and Future
Ruben and RJ are back to discuss the win against the Red Bulls and what the Fire did right in order to secure their first road win in nearly two seasons. They also go in-depth on what Frederico Navarro will bring to the team, and how it could potentially change what the Fire do on a tactical level. Then they talk a bit about the upcoming vacation and whether or not they'll be watching any of the World Cup qualifiers. All that plus opinions on Rikishi and early 2000's WWF?? on this week's Hot Cast.
September 01, 2021
Season 3 Episode 17: Florida Failures
Ruben and RJ are back this week to discuss the last week in Chicago Fire land. They go over the two losses to Miami and Orlando, talk about the new sister club, the Swiss FC Lugano and what it could mean for the Fire, and discuss the shortcomings of the Fire in the most recent transfer market. All that and more on this week's Hot Cast.
August 24, 2021
Season 3 Episode 16: Welcome Alex Campbell
On today's show, Ruben and RJ are joined by Hot Time Chicago Red Stars editor and occasional Fire contributor Alex Campbell joins the show to talk all things Chicago soccer. We start with the Fire's win over Columbus and from there, they discuss the implications going forward for the squad. Then they discuss Elliot Collier and his role on the team and try to figure out how and why he keeps getting minutes. They then switch gears and discuss all things Red Stars, including whatever is happening in Louisville this week, and why they're having problems putting the ball in the back of the net. There's all that and a lot more on this week's episode of The Hot Cast.
August 17, 2021
Season 3 Episode 15: It Was a Good Week
Ruben and RJ are back this week and talking about the Fire's 4 point week. They break down what went right against the New York teams, and then discuss how the club can still improve. They specifically bring up Luka Stojanovic and the unique (good) problems he poses in the Fire lineup. They then transition to talking about next year and whether or not the current performances are predictive of next season. Also, another RJ Soldier Field Food Review and more on this week's Hot Cast.
August 10, 2021
The Hot Cast: Coffee and Contact
On this week’s episode of The Hot Cast, Ruben and RJ talk about the Chicago Fire’s performance against the Philadelphia Union, and to the surprise of no one, they heap praise on everyone except the referee, including positive thoughts on Francisco Calvo, to whom they give credit where it’s due. Then they talk about some news and notes from the weekend and preview the game against NYCFC tomorrow. Plus RJ reviews a canned coffee classic. All that and more on this week’s Hot Cast.
August 03, 2021
Season 3 Episdode 13: Klopas Crisis
On this week's show, Ruben and RJ talk about the loss to Toronto and why they feel good about it. They also talk about Frank Klopas' managerial skill and bring up a 2015 twitter thread by ex Fire player Hunter Jumper about how it went when Frank Klopas was in charge the first time around. RJ also reviews the Soldier Field tacos and rediscovers the Chicago Fire MySpace page! All that and more on this week's Hot Cast. (The LWOS article) https://lastwordonsports.com/2015/09/14/ex-player-slams-chicago-fire-twitter/ (The tweet log) https://www.chicagonow.com/fire-confidential/2015/09/former-player-hunter-jumper-unloads-on-organization/
July 27, 2021
Season 3 Episode 12: Another One
On this week's show, Ruben and RJ talk about the win at Orlando and discuss the good and bad of the performance. They discuss Robert Beric's goal and whether or not it made up for his poor play in the First half, check their hype levels on if the team has turned the corner or not, and discuss the lack of depth for the upcoming schedule. They also go a little off-topic, discussing the Euro and Copa America finals and last night's Home Run Derby. All that, plus RJ baits Ruben into making a terrible analogy on this week's Hot Cast.
July 13, 2021
Season 3 Episode 11: Victory
Ruben and RJ are back after a week off with an in-depth breakdown of the Chicago Fire's win over Atlanta United while comparing that performance with the previous two games against Philadelphia Union and FC Cincinnati. They also talk about how the Fire can continue this good run of form and what to do when their Captian and third designated player return from international duty. After that, they talk a bit on the news around MLS and discuss Arlo Wite's 4 games in front of the mic. All that and RJ's review of the Soldier Field Chicken Tenders on this week's Hot Cast.
July 06, 2021
Season 3 Episode 10: Something's Got To Give
Ruben and RJ are back from the three-week break to review a busy week in Chicago Fire Soccer. They start the show with a breakdown of what went wrong against Columbus and from there, they talk about what's going wrong in the big picture and what they have to do to fix it and salvage the season. Then, they opine on the new logo and anticipate the return of the red shirts in 2024. After that, they talk about the return to the club of fan-favorite Patrick Nyarko as a coach of the U-19 Academy club.
June 22, 2021
Season 3 Episode 9: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back
Today on the show, Ruben and RJ lament the small tragedy that was the 1-0 loss against Montreal. They talk about the ineffectiveness of the striker and center back positions as well as praise the good things, such as the return of NAcho Aliseda to the lineup and the general positive play of the midfield. After that, they moved to touch on a wide variety of topics, including Euro 2021 and the CONCACAF Nations League. All that plususual tangents on this week's Hot Cast.
June 01, 2021
Season 3 Episode 7: The One That Didn't Publish.
This is the episode that was supposed to go out last week but didn't publish properly for some reason. I'm posting it for posterity. Go ahead and listen if you want. There's a really good rant about the state of the coaching staff on here, as well as more talk about the failures of the defense against DC United. Enjoy it if you want.
May 25, 2021
Season 3 Episode 8: The Big W
Ruben and RJ are back this week and are a bit more serious than usual. They break down how the Fire's tactical change worked and whether or not it will work against everyone else, or if it was a one-shot success story. Then they talk a bit about next week's game against Montreal and the Fire's chances. All that plus only one off-topic tangent on this week's episode of The Hot Cast.
May 25, 2021
Season 3 Episode 6: Rock Bottom
This week, Ruben and RJ discuss the larger problems with the Fire-- including whether or not Raphael Wicky is the right man for the job at this moment in time and once again lamenting the play and communication skills of Francisco Calvo. They use that as a jumping-off point to discuss the seemingly inevitable entrance of David Luiz this summer and what effect that could have on the squad. That and much more on this week's episode of The Hot Cast.
May 06, 2021
Season 3 Episode 5: Communication Issues
Ruben and RJ are once again here to talk about the Fire. They go over what went wrong in Atlanta including a discussion over the mistakes in the offseason coming home to roost, as well as the issues the defense has with talking to each other. Then they talk about the upcoming game against the last-place New York Red Bulls and whether or not the Fire have a shot at getting their first W of the season. All that and more on this surprisingly on-topic edition of the Hot Cast.
April 27, 2021
Season 3: Episode 4: There Are No Heroes
On this week’s episode of The Hot Cast, Ruben and RJ talk about the Fire’s 2-2 draw with the Revs, including praise for the performances of the debuting Chinoso Offor (and almost debuting) Luka Stojanovic, and they discuss the problems with the defense and find themselves at a loss for words. Then they try to talk about the Red Stars and Ruben ends up defending the Gotham FC rebrand. And of course, It wouldn’t be a soccer podcast this week if they didn’t talk about the mess that is the European Super League.
April 21, 2021
Season 3 Episode 3: The 2021 Preview
On the inaugural episode of The Hot Cast Ruben and RJ preview the Fire season by going through each position group and discuss them in-depth. They then go through the first 2 months of the schedule and try to figure out where they'll be in the standings on June first. Hint: RJ is optimistic. Ruben is not. All that and more on the podcast formerly known as The North Lot.
April 13, 2021
Season 3 Episode 2: Preseason Check In
On this week’s episode, Ruben and RJ check in on training camp after the Fire’s first three preseason games and discuss what they’re impressed with and what needs to be improved before the start of the season. Then, they try to answer the big question “Where are the goals going to come from?”— Especially if Robert Beric has a slow start to the season. They then talk about the USMYNT Olympic failure for a bit, as well as Bobby Wood’s arrival in MLS— and if the Fire not trying to sign him was a mistake. All that and some extras on this edition of the North Lot Podcast.
April 02, 2021
Season 3 Episode 1: We're Back!
Ruben and RJ are back for 2021 and they've brought on a special guest. Hot Time In Old Town Suprimo Patrick McCraney joins the pot to talk about all things Fire offseason. They start with everything around the re-rebrand-- The logo, the kits, and the general feeling surrounding the club. Then they move on to talk about the roster itself. They muse about the new signings coming into the season and whether or not not bringing in a big name will hurt them in the long run. Then they talk a bit about how to maximize their success and who needs to step up and have a big year for them to make the playoffs. All that and more on the season premiere of The North Lot.
March 09, 2021
Season 2 Episode 17: The End
On the last episode of the season, Ruben and RJ discuss what went wrong on Sunday against New York. Then they chat about the big picture and what happened over the course of the season. They also talk about how the team can improve going into next year and a bit about who should stay and who should go. Also, Gunnersaurus is back! All that and a bit more on the season finale of the North Lot Podcast
November 10, 2020
Seaspn 2 Episode 16: Down to the Wire
On today's show, the boys debrief the games against Nashville and Philidelphia and try to reconcile the dropped points in the context of the playoff push. They also get just as confused by the Points Per Game standings as you would expect. Then they talk about the upcoming games against Minnesota and NYCFC to end the season- including the Loons COVID-19 situation. Also: RJ makes Arsenal fan Ruben defend Tottenham Hotspur.
November 04, 2020
Season 2 Episdode 15: The Frankowski Conundrum
On this week’s episode, Ruben and RJ go over the unlucky conclusion to the match against the New York Red Bulls. They also talk about what’s going on with Przemysław Frankowski and why he’s been so poor. They also look forward to the next two games against the Philidelphia Union and Nashville FC and discuss how they can make the playoffs. Then they end the show talking a bit about the EPL table. Note: Due to next Tuesday being Election Day in the United States, the next episode of the North Lot Podcast will be Wednesday, November Third. Go Vote if you haven’t.
October 27, 2020
Season 2 Episode 14: Kansas City Hey, Hey, Hey.
In this week’s episode, Ruben and RJ Go over the draw against KC and try to decide whether or not they’re happy with the result. Then they talk about the news that came out over Monday, including the state of the center back position and the rescheduling of the Minnesota United match. Finally, they end the show with talk about the Supporter’s Shield mess.
October 20, 2020
Season 2 Episode 13: Beans on Toast
Ruben and RJ are back to analyze the Fire's win over DC. They spend a lot of time talking about the defense and how they looked without Calvo and evaluating Wyatt Omsberg's performance. They also talk a bit about the proposed changes to the English football pyramid, and Ruben starts the ending prematurely.
October 13, 2020
Season 2 Episode 12: Pour One Out for the Win Streak
Ruben and RJ return for another episode of TNL. They talk about what went wrong against Montreal, mourn the loss of a great friend and confidant, and try and figure out What to do now that Gaston Gimenez and Miguel Navarro are on international duty. Plus, How does Ben Olsen still have a job?
October 06, 2020
Season 2 Episode 11: Back to Back
The Boys are back talking about the Fire! Ruben and RJ go deep on the Fire's win against Atlanta and discuss what's going right for once. They also talk about the upcoming run to the end of the season, what to do when Johan Kappelhof gets back, and Ruben has a soccer manga recommendation. All that and much more on this edition of The North Lot podcast.
September 30, 2020
Season2 Episode 10: Fight Me
Ruben and RJ are back this week to talk about, of course , Penalty Fights! They spend time speculating on the reasons for the breakdown against Orlando City, and also lement the fact that once again, the Fire played well and have nothing to show for it. They also talk about VAR, and why MLS sucks at it. They then end the show with some talk about the rest of the world including Weston McKennie's debut with the Old Lady and how our old friend is doing in Redding.
September 22, 2020
Season 2 Episode 9: Breaking Down The Draw.
Ruben and RJ are back to discuss all the things that went both right and wrong against Columbus last weekend. They try to find a solution to the Calvo problem while also praising the offense for finally playing well. Then, they talk a bit about the rest of the league and how tight both mid-table races for the playoffs are.
September 15, 2020
Season 2 Episode 8: Literal Fireworks
There were literal fireworks on today's North Lot Podcast as Ruben and RJ were once again tasked with trying to figure out what's wrong with the Fire. They ask the big question "Is Robert Beric a bust?" They complain about Fransisco Calvo, and Ruben, at least, has something positive to say? Find out what that is on this edition of the North Lot Podcast.
September 08, 2020
Season 2 Episode 7: Let’s All Go A Bumslaying
Ruben and RJ are back this week talking ‘bout them Fires. They go over what went wrong in Columbus, talk about the two big news stories of the last week (the signing of Carlos Terán and a player testing positive for COVID) and preview tonight’s game against FC Cincinnati. They also talk about the surprising Pizza Puff sponsorship on the broadcast.
August 25, 2020
Season 2 Episode 6: Incredulous
Ruben and RJ are back this week to talk about the Fire's collapse against Vancouver and what it means for the club. They also opine about what could be causing Djordje Mihailovic's lack of playing time, and sports in the era of COVID-19.
July 28, 2020
Season 2 Episode 5: In the Thick of It
Ruben and RJ are back to dive into what went wrong against San Jose, How they'll fare against Vancouver, and Ruben has a word on the Red Stars semifinal. All that and More on this week's North Lot Podcast.
July 21, 2020
Season 2: Episode 4: Pandemic
Ruben and RJ are back this week to talk about how awful this whole MLS is Back tournament is, both on and off the field. Than they force themselves into previewing the Fire's rematch with Seattle in their group B opener. Also on the show, RJ says the cursed name, and Ruben attempts to delete it from the record.
July 13, 2020
The #MLSisBACK Special
Ruben and RJ are (finally) back alongside MLS. They talk about what the heck this tournament format is, express concerns about the tournament going on while Florida is still struggling with the pandemic, and explain that while they are happy to have soccer to watch, it's hard to get too excited about it in the wake of the protests against police brutality and injustice. Speaking of, if you can, here are some places to donate too to help the fight against racial inequality and social injustice: BLM Chicago: https://www.blacklivesmatterchicago.com/donate/ West Side Justice Center https://www.westsidejustice.org/donate Chicago Bond Fund https://chicagobond.org/donate/ My Block My Hood My City https://www.formyblock.org/ Assata's Daughters https://www.assatasdaughters.org/donate-1
June 12, 2020
Season 2 Episode 3: The Revolution Will Be Televised
On Today’s episode, Ruben and RJ are back talking about last week’s result in New England, Including Ruben saying he’s tired of talking about Francisco Calvo... than proceeding to talk about Francisco Calvo. We also talk a bit about the homegrown signings, Djordje Mihailovic getting called to the U-23 team, and they make sure they’re never credentialed for Anime Midwest. All that and more on this week’s The North Lot.
March 12, 2020
North Lot Podcast Season 2 Episode 2: It's Just Week One
Ruben & RJ are back and pretty positive after the Fire drop the opener in Seattle. They heap praise on the midfield and Wicky and lament the tragedy that is Brandt Bronico playing right back. Ruben is the one this week that puts the tin-foil hat to address the Fire's Visa issues and #DanielSturridgeTocf97 !!?!?!? All that on more on this week's North Lot Podcast.
March 03, 2020
The North Lot Season 2 Episode 1: 2020 Season Preview
Ruben and RJ are back, just in time for the start of the season! The boys give their thoughts about the frantic nature of the offseason and go through each position group and talk about who they like and don’t like, and give their predictions for the season. They also talk about Sunday’s match against Seattle and decide how much trouble this team is in this weekend.
February 26, 2020
The Off-season Special
On our special off-season episode, we Welcome new Hot Time in Old Town EiC Patrick McCraney on the show to give us a heat check on the Fire. We also talk about the Beric signing, as well as layout our concerns over the new direction on the field. Patrick also tells us about himself, and RJ and Ruben explain to him what a weaboo is. All that and more on this special North Lot Podcast.
January 20, 2020
The North Lot Ep. 29: Carry On My Wayward Son
On the season finale of TNL, Ruben, RJ, and Bridget discuss this week’s big breaking news: the Fire’s official announcement of their return to Soldier Field, and Bastian Schweinsteiger’s retirement. Then they do a big-picture review of the 2019 season before taking a hopeful look at 2020. Finally, Bridget signs off as a TNL panelist and gets ready to bid farewell to Hot Time In Old Town.
December 23, 2019
The North Lot Ep. 28: Play! Your! Kids!
This week on TNL, Ruben, RJ, and Bridget discuss the 2-2 draw with Toronto last weekend. They talked about Kenneth Kronholm, Francisco Calvo, Djordje Mihailovic, and who may or may not be back in 2020.
December 23, 2019
The North Lot Ep. 27: Playoff Math Interventions
This week on TNL, Ruben and Bridget discuss the Fire’s goalless draw in Cincinnati last week, heap praise on Przemysław Frankowski, game out some possible playoff scenarios, and much more.
December 23, 2019
The North Lot Ep. 26: Optimism? In THIS Economy??
On a special episode of TNL, Ruben, RJ, and Bridget react to Andrew Hauptman’s sale of the team. They dig into the response from fans, media, and former players, and speculate on the future of the club under Joe Mansueto. They also unpack the win over Dallas and preview this weekend’s game against Cincinnati.
December 23, 2019
The North Lot Ep. 25: Cake & Ice Cream
This week on TNL, Ruben, RJ, and Bridget discussed recent results against New England and Columbus, the pending Soldier Field lease, the Brimstone Cup, and much more.
December 23, 2019
The North Lot Ep. 24: Cursed Merchandise
This week on TNL, Ruben, RJ, and Bridget discuss the Fire’s loss to Portland, the win over Philly, what the rest of the season looks like, and much more.
December 23, 2019
The North Lot Ep. 23: This Podcast Kills Fascists
This week on TNL, Ruben, RJ, and Bridget talk about the win over Montreal, Kenneth Kronholm: Walking Disaster, the league’s apparent cozying up to fascists, playoff scenarios and more.
December 23, 2019
The North Lot Ep. 22: Feral Hogs, Pyramid Schemes, Broken Dreams
This week on TNL, Ruben, RJ, and Bridget talk about the win over Houston, Jonathan Bornstein, front office hires, rumors about the rebrand, and much more.
December 23, 2019
The North Lot Ep. 21: Jockeying For Position
This week on TNL, Ruben and RJ discuss the scoreless draw vs DC, power struggles in the front office, the MLS All-Star Game, and much more.
December 23, 2019
The North Lot Ep. 20: Ancient And Terrible Curses
This week on TNL, Ruben, RJ, and Bridget discuss the loss to Philly, the Jonathan Bornstein signing, the leaked Soldier Field announcement, tonight’s Leagues Cup clash with Cruz Azul, and more.
December 23, 2019
The North Lot Ep. 19: Tin Foil Hats
This week on TNL, Ruben and RJ discuss the Mo Adams trade, the loss to Cincy, tomorrow’s clash with That Yellow Team and what the rivalry means to us, and much more.
December 23, 2019
The North Lot Ep. 18: Everything Is (Still) Bad
This week on TNL, Ruben, RJ, and Bridget discuss the loss to Sporting Kansas City, the ongoing Fullback Problem, travel problems, and much more.
December 23, 2019
The North Lot Ep. 17: We’re All Dying
This week on TNL, Ruben, RJ, and Bridget discuss the Fire’s loss to RBNY, players out of position, Pauno’s job security, international tournament soccer, and more.
December 23, 2019
The North Lot Ep. 16: The Fire Will (Not) Win
This week on TNL, Ruben and RJ talk about the draw with RSL, potential summer transfer targets, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and more.
December 23, 2019
The North Lot Ep. 15: Almost... Too Quiet
This week on TNL, Ruben and RJ pointedly try not to talk about the Open Cup, how quiet it’s been in CF97-land, and reflect on some favorite soccer memories.
December 23, 2019
The North Lot Ep. 14: We Want The Cup
This week on TNL, Ruben and RJ discuss the first half of the season, look ahead to tonight’s US Open Cup clash with Saint Louis FC, and chat about soccer-related happenings at E3.
December 23, 2019
The North Lot Ep. 13: Things Left Unfinished
This week on TNL, RJ rejoins Ruben and Bridget to unpack the loss to Atlanta United, discuss the Fire’s finishing problems, and look ahead to the start of the Open Cup campaign.
December 23, 2019
The North Lot Ep. 12: More Like BroniNO TBH
This week on TNL, Ruben and Bridget discuss the draw vs NYCFC, Brandt Bronico, the new and improved SuperLiga, and preview tonight’s game vs DC United.
December 23, 2019
The North Lot Ep. 11: Deep Cleansing Breaths
This week on TNL, Ruben and Bridget discuss the loss to San Jose, Fire players in the Gold Cup, and how to increase attendance figures.
December 23, 2019
The North Lot Ep. 10: Streaking
This week on The North Lot, Ruben and Bridget discuss the wins over New England and Minnesota, as well as the reported move back to Soldier Field.
December 23, 2019
The North Lot Ep. 9: Cat Farts
This week on The North Lot, Ruben and Bridget unpack the Fire’s three game road trip, argue about the draw with LAFC, discuss the Francisco Calvo signing, and more.
December 23, 2019
The North Lot Ep. 8: Baseball Fields, And Other Small Tragedies
This week on The North Lot, Ruben, Bridget, and RJ break down the Fire’s win over Colorado, preview this week’s games with NYCFC & Montreal, and answer your questions.
December 23, 2019
The North Lot Ep. 7: Ruben’s Secret Shame
This week on TNL, Ruben and Bridget grouse about the 1-1 draw with Vancouver, unpack the Fire’s problems with shooting, discuss Nico Gaitán’s debut, and look ahead to the Fire/Red Stars doubleheader on Saturday.
December 23, 2019
The North Lot Ep. 6: Ice Cream Social Disaster Planning
This week on TNL, Ruben, Bridget, and RJ break down the 2-2 draw with Toronto, discuss how the defense is shaping up, and look ahead to Friday’s game against Vancouver.
December 23, 2019
The North Lot Ep. 5: The Mo Adams Appreciators Have Logged On
This week on TNL, Ruben, Bridget, and RJ take a victory lap in the wake of the Fire’s 1-0 win over RBNY. They praise Mo Adams’ performance, discuss Gaitan, Basti, Niko, and more.
December 23, 2019
The North Lot Ep. 4: And Then We All Turned Into Tang
This week on TNL, RJ rejoins Ruben and Bridget to commiserate over the Fire’s loss to Seattle. They discuss the Nikolic rumors, have a difficult talk about Basti, and share plans for the international break. (We also talked about Neon Genesis Evangelion. It got a little weird.)
December 23, 2019
The North Lot Ep. 3: Ups And Downs
This week, Ruben and Bridget discuss the Fire’s 1-1 draw with Orlando in the home opener. They praise CJ Sapong, lament the ongoing fullback problems, look for positives to take away from the game, and answer your questions.
December 23, 2019
The North Lot Ep. 1: Warming Up
It’s the debut episode of The North Lot! Ruben hosts a wide-ranging discussion with RJ and JBG about the upcoming Chicago Fire season. They recap the Carolina Challenge Cup, run down the roster for each position, and try their hands at predicting how the Men In Red, and the rest of MLS, will fare in 2019.
December 23, 2019
The North Lot Ep. 2: An Optimistic Loss
This week on The North Lot, Ruben and Bridget unpack the Fire’s 2-1 season opening loss to the LA Galaxy. They identify key issues with the squad as well as reasons for encouragement. They also take a quick tour of MLS Week 1 and look ahead to the Fire’s home opener next Saturday against Orlando.
December 23, 2019