Hey everyone, hope you are enjoying your Memorial Day. As I'm sure all of you already know, the Fire defeated the New York Red Bulls 1-0 yesterday at Giants Stadium.
In this post I'll be taking a further look at the individual performances that comprised the Fire's win. But first, here are a few quick thoughts on the match.
Despite winning, I thought the Fire did not have their best stuff yesterday. The Red Bulls outplayed the Fire for almost the entire first half, but fortunately Chris Rolfe was able to finish the Fire's only real chance of the opening period in the 45th minute. The second half was better for the Fire, but they still had trouble dealing with the Red Bulls attack, and if it were not for some heroics from Jon Busch, we would be singing a much different tune today.
All the same I think that the Fire should be quite happy with the result. The ability to win matches when you are not at your best is a characteristic of nearly all championship-caliber teams and yesterday the Fire showed that they have this ability.
Ok, enough with my thoughts on the match. Here are the individual evaluations.
GK - Jon Busch - 9
Busch played fantastic. He came up with save after save, and his stop of Danleigh Borman's late header was (in my mind) the play of the game.
DEF - Tim Ward - 6
Time after time, Tim Ward has shown his ability to get into the attack, and yesterday was no exception. However, the young defender had some trouble dealing with the speed of Red Bulls attacker Mac Kandji and was beat on multiple occasions.
DEF - Bakary Soumare - 5
Not Soumare's greatest match. He looked very uncomfortable on the ball and had quite a few turnovers. At times I thought he looked a little lost out there.
DEF - Wilman Conde - 5
Conde, like fellow center back Soumare, had trouble on Sunday. His play was not up to what has come to be expected of him at all.
DEF - Gonzalo Segares - 6
Segares played pretty well in his return from injury. Nothing spectacular, but at the same time he did not take anything away from the Fire's performance.
MID - Logan Pause - 7
Good performance from Pause. He got more into the attack than he usually does, and even provided an assist on Rolfe's goal. And, as always, he was a defensive rock in the center of the field.
MID - John Thorrington - 7
Another solid performance from the veteran. He and Logan Pause teamed up well to control the center of the field.
MID - Marco Pappa - 5
We didn't see too much from him before he got subbed out for Mike Banner. He had a lackluster day in the attack, we've come to expect more from the youngster.
MID - Chris Rolfe - 8
After Rolfe's second consecutive match with a game winning goal, I expect to see his newly regained starting spot cemented.
FWD - Cuauhtemoc Blanco - 6
Blanco was almost invisible in the first half; I thought he was playing a bit too high up. In the second he got himself much more involved though and made a solid impact. He and Thorrington combined nicely on a play that lead to a Thorrington volley.
FWD - Brian McBride - 6
Like Blanco, McBride struggled to get involved early. He provided some sparks in the second half, but I thought he could have done a little better with the ball at his feet.
MID - Mike Banner - 6
Banner played well enough, but with only 10 minutes to show his stuff, he didn't make much of a mark on the game.
FWD - Patrick Nyarko - N/A
Nyarko only came on for the last 5 minutes of the match, subbing in for goal scorer Chris Rolfe. With Chris Rolfe's recent emergence, this role of late game sub is likely to turn into a common one for Nyarko.
What did you think about the Fire's performance? Who was your Man-of-the-Match? Feel free to comment on my player evaluations and to share your own.