As I'm sure all of you already know, the Chicago Fire were dismantled by FC Dallas yesterday, losing to the 7th place Western Conference side 3-0.
The result came as a big time disappointment for the Fire, who were undefeated on the season and were coming off of Thursday night's 3-2 comeback victory over league leaders Chivas USA.
One specific thing that I found to be disconcerting in yesterday's match was the Fire's poor marking on crossed balls and set pieces. In particular, two instances stick out. One was on a corner kick that found Dax McCarty completely unmarked 10 yards from goal. Fortunately for the Fire the ball was just a little behind McCarty and he was unable to generate enough power on his header to get it by Jon Busch. The other incident found Kenny Cooper wide open on a cross. Again, the Fire were a little lucky, as Cooper was unable to finish his chance and the poor marking didn't cost the Fire. Hopefully the Fire will be able to sort out their marking issues before Friday's match against Houston.
Here are some thoughts on the individual Fire players.
GK - Jon Busch - 6
Despite allowing three goals, Busch didn't play that bad. He made several nice saves in the match and really none of FCD's three tallies were his fault.
DEF - Tim Ward - 6
Despite being part of the defense that gave up three goals, Ward really didn't play that bad of a match. As always, Ward integrated himself into the attack nicely and even hit the post on a shot. His defense wasn't bad either.
DEF - Bakary Soumare - 6
It was nice to see Soumare start to get back on the right track after a couple of rough matches. He was playing well and made a couple very nice tackles in the area. Then the red card happened... whoops.
DEF - C.J. Brown - 5
C.J. Brown made his first start of the season on Sunday, and it was a bit of a struggle for the veteran. Before leaving the match with a back injury, Brown scored an own goal on a ball that really should have been an easy clearance.
DEF - Brandon Prideaux - 6
Prideaux did not play nearly as well against FC Dallas as he did in his recent starts against Toronto and New England but all in all did not play a horrible match. He certainly did not stand out however.
MID - Logan Pause - 5
Pause didn't play with his usual defensive prowess on Sunday against FCD. He was outmuscled to the ball by Jeff Cunningham when the Dallas forward scored his 15th minute goal, which really set the tone for the remainder of the game.
MID - John Thorrington - 7
I thought Thorrington (like Soumare) got back on the right track after displaying a recent run of poor form during Sunday's match. I thought he distributed the ball in the midfield well and his shot was cruelly denied by the post late in the match.
MID - Chris Rolfe - 5
As some of you have noted in comments section of the previous post, Rolfe was placed into Cuauhtemoc Blanco's "playmaker" role for the match on Sunday. Unfortunately for him and for the Fire, Rolfe struggled in the role, unable to really create anything in the attack before he was subbed out in the 67th minute for Mike Banner.
MID - Justin Mapp - 6
Mapp returned to the starting lineup for the first time since the San Jose match on April 11th and played relatively well. His corners and set pieces were pretty good, one that stands out was a corner kick that Brian McBride narrowly missed scoring on.
FWD - Brian McBride - 6
With Cuauhtemoc Blanco out of the lineup, the Fire captain played a slightly larger role in facilitating the attack. He did a relatively nice job, but we've come to expect more than what we've been getting lately from the Arlington Heights native.
FWD - Patrick Nyarko - 5
Nyarko certainly played better than he did in his last start, against Toronto FC and he did stretch out the Dallas defense a little bit, but in the end he (like all of the other Fire players) failed to really put a positive mark on the game.
MID - Marco Pappa - 5
After coming in for C.J. Brown, regular starter Pappa made a contribution to the match, but failed to create too much in the Fire's attack.
MID - Mike Banner - 4
This wasn't Banner's best game, and he has certainly made more of an impact as a substitute, but given the limited amount of time he was in and the Fire's deficit, one can't really blame him.
MID - Baggio Husidic - 4
The UIC product made his second appearance of the season against FCD, but for the most part failed to really get himself to the match, but to his credit, the circumstances under which he came in weren't exactly ideal.