Fire 0 -- Crew 0: Player Ratings

Marco Pappa, Emmanuel Ekpo

The Fire played the defending MLS Cup Champion Columbus Crew to a scoreless tie last night, and now I'm going to be taking a more in depth look at the performance of the Fire's individual players.

Overall I thought the Fire had a nice effort on Saturday night but it would be tough to say that any Fire player had a standout match. So, with that here are my player ratings for this week (and [here is the rating scale...](http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-fire-confidential/2009/06/fire-vs-dynamo-player-ratings.html)).
**Starters:**

GK - Jon Busch - 6.5
Busch did well on Saturday night. He made some nice saves when called upon and I thought his distribution was excellent. It was good to see the Fire keeper get rid of the ball quickly throughout the whole match and get the Fire attack restarted fast.

DEF - Tim Ward - 6.5
I thought that Ward did a good job against the Crew. His advancements into the attacking third were very nice and he held it down on defense too. I particularly liked his give-and-go with Cuauhtemoc Blanco in the 59th minute that sprung him at the Columbus net.

DEF - Bakary Soumare - 6.5
Bakary did a lot to help the Fire maintain the clean sheet on Saturday. He played very good defense and covered for Tim Ward and Daniel Woolard nicely. Baky did make a bad mistake in the first half when he gave the ball away and then slipped while tracking back. Also, I would like to see him cut down on all the long balls in the future; it's ok to play it short out of the back too...

DEF - C.J. Brown - 6
C.J. was very solid when called upon in the back. He didn't have a whole lot to do but he marked solidly and made a crucial block of a cross on what could have been a very dangerous Crew chance.

DEF - Daniel Woolard - 4
Woolard got beat a few too many times down the wing and lost the ball a little too much for my liking but on the bright side his second half play was much better than his first half effort.

MID - John Thorrington - 6
Thorrington put in an excellent defensive effort on Saturday night as he played a large role in the Fire shutting down Guillermo Barros Schelotto. His distribution was pretty solid too but he did have some dangerous giveaways...

MID - Baggio Husidic - 5
Didn't see a whole heck of a lot from Baggio but he did decent. His distribution was pretty good and he got himself into good positions before being subbed out in the 75th minute but his lack of pace was evident on several occasions.

MID - Marco Pappa - 7 (Man of the Match)
I thought Pappa was the most dangerous attacker for the Fire on Saturday and he played well. His dribbling and crossing was fantastic and but his finishing left something to be desired as he missed on several good chances. Oh, and he needs some work on his right foot...

MID - Chris Rolfe - 6.5
Really loved Rolfe's effort and hustle on Saturday. He tracked back a lot and put in a good defensive effort along with showcasing his great foot skills. Thought he held onto the ball a little bit too long at times and would like to see him be just a little more decisive in the box.

FWD - Brian McBride - 6.5
As always, McBride put in a ton of work on Saturday and he almost had a goal to show for it. He really made a bunch of great runs (even if he didn't get the ball on a lot of them...) and he did great in the air winning tons of balls for the Fire attack.

FWD - Cuauhtemoc Blanco - 4.5
Temo didn't have his best stuff Saturday. He was very slow with the ball and he got too fancy on too many occasions which almost cost the Fire big time. However, I thought that his set piece delivery (especially those first half corners) was very good.

**Substitutes:**

FWD - Patrick Nyarko - 5 (Baggio Husidic/75th minute)
Nyarko made some good runs and hustled like crazy in his 15 minutes but didn't end up with too much to show for it. He did have a couple nice crosses though and this rating might have been a little different if the linesman didn't have a criminal offside call on
Patrick late in the second half.

MID - Justin Mapp - 4 (Cuauhtemoc Blanco/79th)
I really didn't see too much from Justin out there. He was kind of invisible but in his defense it is tough to make a big impact in 10 minutes of time.

MID - Calen Carr - 2 (Marco Pappa/84th)
Calen is just returning from an 11 month absence from first team matches and he really showed his rust against the Crew. I also really did not like this sub; I thought it really took a lot away from the Fire's attack.

**Coach:**

Denis Hamlett -6.5
Denis put out the Fire's best lineup and I thought his emphasis on really getting after Guillermo Barros Schelotto was key as the Fire did well to minimize his contribution. That said, I was left wondering why he pulled Marco Pappa and I think it may be time to see Chris Rolfe start up top and Cuauhtemoc Blanco put into the midfield.

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