Fire vs. Sounders: Player Ratings

Jon Busch (l), C.J. Brown (c), Freddie Ljungberg (10)

The Fire and the Sounders played to a 0-0 draw over the weekend and though the Fire lost the top spot in the East with the tie, the team undoubtedly returned to Chicago with their heads held high.

I think the Fire has every right to take some pride in the point they earned in Seattle on Saturday. Going to Seattle and taking away a point is tough for any team to do but when you consider that the Fire played the match very shorthanded (missing three starters...) and went down a man it makes the tie even more impressive.

But who were the individual players that stepped up for the Fire? As always (with the exception of last week...) I'll try and answer with some player ratings (and if you are interested, [here's the scale](http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-fire-confidential/2009/06/fire-vs-dynamo-player-ratings.html)).
**Starters:**

GK - Jon Busch - 8 (Man of the Match)

Buschy was the man for the Fire Saturday afternoon. The club would have easily lost the match if not for his many saves (which came early and often...) and he really stepped up in a big way for the team. The only thing that I can complain about with his match was the miscommunication with Wilman Conde that gave Fredy Montero a great opportunity. Obviously I'm not sure what happened on the play but ultimately the keeper is responsible for communicating with the defenders, not the other way around.

DEF - Tim Ward - 6.5

Ward's play was solid at his usual right back spot, but I thought he really did well when inserted into the central midfield position. Not only did he looked comfortable on the ball and make key tackles but I thought that once he lined up in the middle the team settled down a great deal which, given the atmosphere, was important.

DEF - C.J. Brown - 7

Looking back, I can't remember a single play that C.J. didn't do well on. He won practically every ball that came his way (both in the air and on the ground) and he made several key clearances for the Fire. He was - really without a doubt - the better of the two center backs on Saturday.

DEF - Wilman Conde - 5.5

Wilman's performance on Saturday was a bit of a rollercoaster ride. He had moments of great play (see his numerous clearances and tackles) and moments of awful play (see the miscommunication with Busch and the pathetic free kick that led to Gonzalo picking up a yellow). Overall his good play outweighed his bad play and that bought him an above average rating.

DEF - Gonzalo Segares - 5.5

Gonzo had a rough opening 45 but after being away from the team for almost a month that isn't a huge surprise. I thought he cleaned up his game in the second and his goal line clearance saved the Fire big time.

MID - John Thorrington - 2.5

This rating is not for John's play. It is for his ejection. In fact, I thought he played well prior to picking up his second yellow and he was a real defensive force in the central midfield. However, his second yellow was on a dumb challenge and he has to make smarter plays than that knowing he already has a card.

MID - Baggio Husidic - 4

Baggio had been playing better as of late but he seemed to take a step backward in Saturday's game. It's understandable for him to have some struggles (after all, he is only a rookie...) but when is Baggio going to hit a shot on net? It seems like every game he gets into a good position and gets played a ball only to see it go high or wide...

MID - Chris Rolfe - 6.5

Rolfe played a solid match. He was very aggressive on the offensive end and had several good efforts on goal, hitting one long range blast just over the bar in the 25th minute. It's important to test the keeper early on in any match and Rolfe did that Saturday. Also, Chris saved the Fire from defeat with his goal line clearance in the 85th minute.

MID - Marco Pappa - 5

It seemed like Marco really didn't see too much of the ball on Saturday. He didn't make nearly as many dangerous runs or passes as he normally does but though he didn't have his best stuff this weekend, his play wasn't bad.

FWD - Patrick Nyarko - 3

Patrick was waaay too passive on Saturday. He didn't really take any Seattle defender on and he didn't shoot the ball when presented with good opportunities on several occasions. Not sure what the reason for the poor play was, but Nyarko has struggled this season on turf (remember his stinker at Toronto?).

FWD - Cuauhtemoc Blanco - 6.5

I thought Temo did well on Saturday. He delivered several fantastic crosses and by all rights, deserved to have an assist or two. He sure didn't do much defending though (but that's not different from any other game...) and he did seem pretty tired before getting subbed out late in the match.

**Subs:**

DEF - Brandon Prideaux - 6 (Baggio Husidic/65th)

The Washington native did well in the right back spot and almost snatched his first career goal late on with a header that went off the bar.

MID - Justin Mapp - 5.5 (Marco Pappa/77th)

Did a good amount considering the limited time he saw and hit that fantastic corner to Prideaux near the end.

FWD - Calen Carr - N/A (Cuauhtemoc Blanco/86th)

Calen didn't really get a chance to do anything in his 5+ minutes of time.

**Coach:**

Denis Hamlett - 6.5

You gotta love Hamlett getting his boys out of Seattle with the point. I also really liked his substitution of Prideaux for Baggio and the subsequent slide of Tim Ward into the central midfielder position. Only complaints are that I would've liked to see the subs come a bit earlier and I thought Nyarko should have come off.

Let's hear your man of the match. And feel free to give the referee a rating too...

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