Fire vs. Rapids: Player Evaluations

Before I get to the player evaluations from the Fire's 2-1 win over the Colorado Rapids on Saturday night, I thought I'd share a highlight video of the match for those who are interested. It's always good to relive a Fire win and seeing those goals again should bring a smile to your face on a Monday morning.

But enough with the highlights. Here are the player evaluations (and as always, [here's the ratings scale...](http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-fire-confidential/2009/06/fire-vs-dynamo-player-ratings.html)).
**Starters:**

GK - Jon Busch - 6

Busch played well against the Rapids. He consistently came up big on crosses, fearlessly challenging airborne balls and getting down well for lower ones. Busch's distribution was good and the organization in the defense was leaps and bounds ahead of where it was in the Fire's last match. Busch can't be faulted too much on the Rapids goal (he did make a great stop right before the ball found the net after all...) but ideally he wouldn't give up that rebound (easier said than done though...).

DEF - Tim Ward - 6

Ward's return to the back four (he had been playing as a center midfielder as of late) went pretty well. He got into the attack nicely and his defensive was decent.

DEF - Wilman Conde - 8

Conde was definitely my man of the match. The big Colombian center back played like a beast on Saturday. His 38th minute header of Cuauhtemoc Blanco's corner kick was clinical and he played a pretty ball into Brian McBride to start the play that led to the Fire's first goal. Wilman was a machine on defense too. He won what seemed like every single cross Colorado made and he did well marking too.

DEF - Bakary Soumare - 6

Although he didn't have as much to do as his center back partner Conde, Baky's return to MLS action after a month's absence went well. He was solid when called upon for the Fire and his only real miscue that I recall was falling over and letting Conor Casey by in the 86th minute (right before Colorado's PK shout for a foul on Thorrington).

DEF - Daniel Woolard - 4.5

Woolard didn't have his best match Saturday night. His attacking play was sub-par and nearly all of the Rapids offense started on his side of the field. Daniel looked completely gassed before being subbed off too (though this is understandable, he is probably still lacking full match fitness after his return from injury).

MID - John Thorrington - 6.5

Thorrington's return from a hamstring injury went nicely. I thought his work rate was excellent and the leadership that he brought to the field was nice. John played some solid defense as well and his distribution out of the center of the field was good.

MID - Baggio Husidic - 6

Baggio played a critical role in the Fire's first goal, notching an assist on his good find of Marco Pappa in the box. He played solid (if not outstanding) soccer in the middle and showed signs of promise that I hadn't seen from him as of yet.

MID - Chris Rolfe - 5

Saturday wasn't Chris's best match; but then again, it could've been a lot worse for the 26-year-old. Rolfe looked o.k., but I thought his game was hampered by losing the ball a little too much and holding onto the rock for a tad too long.

MID - Marco Pappa - 7.5

I really liked what I saw from Marco on Saturday. He played with his usual attacking flair and he demonstrated his dribbling talents time and time again at the expense of the Rapids defense. Pappa sent in plenty of solid crosses on Saturday and he got the Fire's first goal, finishing off a very nice sequence with an excellent left footed blast.

FWD - Cuauhtemoc Blanco - 5.5

'Temo was kind of hit or miss in Saturday's match. It seemed to me that he was either hitting very nice crosses/balls or turning the ball over on a poorly executed dribble or pass. There really didn't seem to be too much in between for the Mexican midfielder on Saturday. That being said, his delivery on Conde's goal was excellent (and that definitely pushed his rating up a bit...).

FWD - Brian McBride - 5.5

Didn't see too much of McBride on Saturday but that may have been due more to a lack of service than anything else. I liked his work rate in the match and he really demonstrated his skills as a target forward with his beautiful chest of Conde's long ball to Baggio right before the Fire's first goal.

**Substitutes:**

DEF - C.J. Brown - 5 (Woolard/64th)

C.J. didn't have too much to do after he came on in the second half but when he was called upon he did well.

FWD - Patrick Nyarko - 7 (Rolfe/79th)

I really loved the hustle (and speed...) that Nyarko brought to the Fire after he was subbed-on. Patrick played a role in creating quite a few chances for the Fire and I'm really falling in love with him as a second half sub to wreak havoc with some tired defenders.

MID - Calen Carr - N/A (Blanco/87th)

It was nice to see Calen return to MLS after sitting out the past 11 months with a bad knee injury. I thought the move to bring him in was a little bit puzzling though and I would have liked to see DH bring on a defender in this spot.

Comments

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  • I thought we were going to see the debut of Denis Hamlett's rating today?

    Thorrington cost us a win if it had not been for a ref not calling a sure foul, so I would knock his points down because that none call was shear luck.

  • In reply to milicz:

    Oh wow, I completely forgot about that. I'd give Denis a 6.5 for the match though.

    I liked his starting lineup and how he had the team ready to go from the start. I didn't like his second half tactic of starting slow though and I thought his substitutions were pretty well used.

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