Fire 0 -- Galaxy 2: Fire Fall Flat

Edson Buddle, Alecko Eskandarian, Landon Donovan, David Beckham

In an effort that can only be classified as pathetic, the Fire lost for the third time in four games Wednesday night, this time falling to the L.A. Galaxy by a score of 2-0.

"If you can't get up for big games like this I don't know what the problem is," said Fire keeper Jon Busch. "This is a big game. This is when big players step up. It doesn't have to be fancy soccer it has to be effective soccer and it was not effective. It doesn't matter about flicks and fancy and I can put a ball here and I can put a ball there, that's bulls**t. The bottom line is about effective soccer and it was not effective soccer from any of us tonight."
The Fire - who, oh by the way, didn't register a single shot on goal - fell behind in the 26th minute after Mike Magee hit a right footed shot past Jon Busch and inside the far post.

After falling behind, the Fire was completely unable to muster any sort of attack to get themselves back in the game. The "long ball offense" the Fire employed simply wasn't working and unfortunately, the squad was unable to adjust their style of play.

"Our decision to play some balls behind was too obvious," said Head Coach Denis Hamlett. "Their back group could see that and we ended up hitting too many long ones that basically just skipped and went out of bounds or went straight to the keeper."

Any hopes the Fire had of getting a result from the match were killed in the 54th minute, when the Galaxy sprung a pretty counterattack that lead to Landon Donovan sprinting half the length of the field before beating Busch to the far post from a tight angle.

The game was pretty much over at that point and - despite making three attacking substitutions - the Fire just couldn't get anything going in the final third.

"I think from the starting point we know tonight wasn't our best night all the way around," said Hamlett. "We just weren't sharp from the get-go."

So, other than saying that tonight's performance was the Fire's worst in a long time, I don't have too much else to add. I mean what else is there to say? The Fire just flat-out didn't bring it tonight. They didn't have the right touch on passes, they were a step slow, they fell over at the key moment, absolutely nothing clicked for the Fire.

Or as Patrick Nyarko put it, "It was just one of those days..."

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I'll be back tomorrow with some injury updates and more post match reaction. Look for it to come your way sometime in the early afternoon. Until then feel free to vent here.

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  • Check out RedEye's slideshow of photos from the Fire-Galaxy game!

    http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/redeye-photos/2009/08/the-end.html

  • Halfway through the match, I was thinking about who would be the man of the match. Answer: No one. Maybe Conde... who didn't appear 100%.

    Dasan Robinson appeared way too slow, Austin Washington did OK on defense, except he got burned a few times. He also pushed forward several times and was completely ineffective. Blanco was trying all kinds of fancy dribbling, but never could break past the double and triple teams...

    It was unfortunate the Fire played so poorly with as many non-regular fans as there were in attendance tonight.

    Must win on Sunday.

  • In reply to Byron:

    I counted four times the refs called offside on the Fire and it shouldn

  • In reply to Adam25:

    I think it was just you. Nyarko for some reason was offside more than he was onside last night.

  • In reply to Adam25:

    totally right and why was Nyarko playing against a giant goalie? he'd need a ladder to score

  • Truly pathetic performace in front of a large crowd. Someone has got to be held responsible for the miserable performances at home. The person that should take the fall for it is the guy who is wondering about "playing balls behind", "hitting too many long balls", and instigating confrontations with players at half time of games.

    Logan Pause was also exposed tonight (again) for what he truly is, a mediocre MLS defensive midfielder with no skill on the ball and no ability to link the midfield to attacking players.

    I would love to hear Hamlett's explanation for not starting CJ Brown, his game plan coming into the game, and his insistance that Chris Rolfe is a midfielder.

  • Guillermo, unfortunately those are at least three questions which will never be answered. Maybe Blanco has decided he wants to stay because no one will pay him $2.5 million anywhere else. While he still has some great skills and spurts of brilliance, he is not a leader on this team.

  • In reply to Toby:

    He doesnt really have great skills anymore and his only brilliance is on dead balls 20-25 yrds out. We will not win the MLS cup with him on the pitch.

  • I'm with Guillermo -- Hamlett dropped the ball last night and was out coached.

    Any team that wants to play long ball and over the top needs to be able to make short consistent passes when it becomes obvious that the long ball isn't work (somewhere I think around the 25th minute)

  • In reply to Porter:

    I agree that Hamlett is not a good "coach" but it is the players playing the long balls, mainly Conde, who were just terrible last night. I dont think Conde completed a pass more than 15yrds last night. He was the worst performer of the game IMO. He got SMOKED on the first goal and probably had a 20% pass completion for the night.

  • I know who was the men of the match Stefan Dimitrov. Why because he took out Ricketts, only if he came in sooner maybe there be a shot on goal. Terrible display from the Fire, so slow, the field looked awful, and Nyrako looked so confused like he never played before.

  • It seems pretty clear that Hamlett has lost this team. They may have been tired, and they have never liked playing at Toyota Park, but the Soumare fiasco is obviously a symptom of a serious rift between at least some players and the coaching staff. They way the players lumbered lethargically on the pitch, there is no question they just didn't want be there. On its best day, this is a mediocre squad, short on technical skill and understanding of the game. Without the will to fight, they couldn't beat a decent college side. To make matters worse, Fire management has adopted the view that tickets are sold by famous names, irrespective of the quality of play on the pitch. So we get Blanco and McBride but a stadium in the middle of nowhere, a coach who doesn't get it, and a nondescript collection of indifferent players. No wonder ticket sales are down. This may be the worst-managed outfit in MLS, and it is starting to show.

  • In reply to tribhater:

    NYRB...

  • In reply to tribhater:

    They played terrible last night and I start to wonder what does Blanco bring to the team? He cant beat any defenders because once they are beat they can turn around and he is still there. Without McBride on the pitch his crosses are pretty useless because I dont think we have scored a goal from a cross in years(other than McBride). His corners barely make the near post and he hasnt played defense since he was 16 yrs old. When he is on we have no choice but to play a 4-5-1, which is the worst formation that any team can play.

  • In reply to tribhater:

    To quote Kevin Bacon at the end of Animal House......"Remain Calm.....All is well, All is well!!!"

  • In reply to tribhater:

    I don't intend to get in a mud-slinging contest with anyone here but in general I think its a cop out by fans to 'blame the coach' after any loss. IMHO I don't think that the lone issue with the team is coaching so I don't choose to throw the blame there and I don't think the Fire are too far off from where they should be. 3rd best record in the league, lost in PKs in SuperLiga Final, MLS Cup - gotta make a choice somewhere. What's the expectation?

    'Dennis' losing the team due to the Baky situation would make sense to me if the Fire hadn't just won on the road missing SEVEN first choice players when this situation wa laready hanging over the team, if the team hadnt come out TEN minutes after the now infamous Rumble at Robertson and put 2 goals up in five minutes to tie the game, and if there was one other bit of grumbling from a player about what was going on inside the club.

    To some of the other points that do hit home from above:

    The home form is INCREDIBLY frustrating but if that is the coaches fault then is it not to the Coach's credit that the team has the best road record in the league? And set pieces have been a source of anxiety but tell me when the team allowed their last goal via a set-piece? Short of a PK (and if you exclude the throw in debacle in Houston by one Bakary Soumare that was UNDOUBTEDLY the catalyst for the Rumble at Robertson) I can recall a free-kick goal by Christina Gomez at RFK 2 months ago!!!!!

    Dennis was not my first choice to replace Osorio but I don't think he's done a BAD job. Could he do better? Proabbaly. But is replacing him today the magic answer that wins MLS Cup in 2 months? Not in my opinion. And I struggle to think of who the Fire could have hired even before this year that would have done that much more with the circumstance of this team this year. Maybe we have to agree to disagree......

  • In reply to tribhater:

    NaperSteve, Hammie is an awful coach who is wringing the bare minimum from this squad. I'm confident if this group played without a coach they'd have at least as good a record, and if someone competent was in charge we would be on our way to 70 points this year. Here is an example, Rolfe starts scoring goals up top (we know that's where Rolfe is most effective, only DH has not gotten the memo) and Hamlett moves him back to midfield and we register zero shots on goal. It was a stupid move by a stupid coach.

  • In reply to tribhater:

    I would love to exclude the throw-in goal against Houston where the entire back line failed to realize that there is no offsides on throw-ins. I'd also love to exclude Gomez's free kick, but how many times this year has the far post been left unproctcted? There was also a stretch of games where sloppy defending allowing balls to bounce into the box after corner kicks resulted in goals allowed.

    I would also love to exclude every goal allowed this year in order to defend Hamlett's lack of leadership and ability to install discipline into this team.

    Hamlett is not the only problem but he's probably the main one.

  • In reply to tribhater:

    I hear the concerns and agree more with some than others. Just felt a need to express an opinion but don't see wher arguing further gets us. Would be great conversation over a beer though.

    Know we can agree on one thing we need a W on Sunday! Go FIRE!!!!!!

  • Unfortunately my fears coming into this season are starting to be realized. My biggest concern was that, despite having the most talented team in the league, we were going to be saddled with a manager who is in over his head and would not be able to mesh or make sense of the talent available to him.

    Now, I understand that they are still 9-5-8 and currently sit in second place in the East and yes, they have had injury setbacks but the constant repeat of the same questions and sense that something is missing has soured what should have been a hugely succesful year culminating with a Supporter's Shield and MLS Cup title. The year's not over yet, but does anyone have any confidence that a team coached by Denis Hamlett can beat a team coached by Schmid, Kinnear, Arena (or just about anyone else for that matter) when the season is on the line and the talent level is so close that coaching and tactics may decide a champion?

    How long will we have to question the inability to defend set pieces? How many times will we need to hear "We only gave up one chance and it went in the net"? How many times will we need to put up with a refusal to put your best 11 on the field while putting petty squabbles in front of the team's best interests (Conde last year, Blanco early this year, Frankowski, and Soumare)? How long will we be subjected to players playing out of their best positions? How long will we have to put up with less than mediocre performances at home games?

    I hope Frank Klopas and Hauptman are paying attention because the opportunity to win with this team may be limited to this season given the age and contract status of many key players.

    Unfortunately the Fire decided to go "on the cheap" to find a replacement for Osorio. They're getting what they paid for!

  • C'mon guys the blame the coach line is pathetic as are some of the usaul lines on stadium and marketing etc.... try a little perspective.

    If Hamlett lost the team due to the Baky issue did it happen magically since Sunday when they went on the road and dominated KC?

    They played three days prior in 90 degree heat on a ridicously heavy pitch due to rain. The squad is already stretched due to a lot of injuries and some of the 'creative' players (Pappa & Nyarko) are young and getting the most pro minutes they've ever seen thus are in desparate need of a rest but there isn't time or great depth at those positions to give them a break (personally I'd like to see Banner get a start so one of those 2 could get a break Sunday). If you're questioning why an injury riddled (and quite frankly old) CJ Brown didn't start last night give it another thought considering he will probably ahve to start again thsi Sunday.

    On the whole Baky thing some of the rants above sound like the rhetoric that usually points back to the club not believing its own motto: "Tradition, Honor, Passion". But they turn against Hamlett and Pause, who along with CJ Brown are easily the two individuals on this team that best reflect those values and have offered the greatest service to our club. Baky is a good player and by all accounts (including my own experience meeting him on the TP concourse at a game he was suspended for) a very likeable young man, but if the team is divided and Hamlett and Pause are on one side and Baky on the other I cast my lot with the former.

    Btw....it's clear the Sir Alex Ferguson has lost Man United since they lost at Burnley yesterday, right?

    * This message hs been paid for by the group One Fan's Crusade Against Irrationality and Over-reaction

  • Napersteve,

    It's not over-reaction or second guessing when the problems with this coach are brought up beforehand and questioned over and over again. The big complaint is not necessarily the loss yesterday, but the inability to improve on the same past problems while doing nothing to solve or get around the obstacles that are coming up.

    I understand they played in Sunday in KC, but LA played Saturday night and was missing several key players (Beckham, Franklin, Lewis, Gordon, Buddle) and still looked like they were the team playing at home and not the one that played on Saturday and flew half way across the country the day before.

    Continue to talk about Pause's passion as the cavalcade of back passes and give aways to opposing players continues. Continue to defend Hamlett's values after we're eliminated from the playoffs while DH blames everyone but himself.

    Just because Hamlett's been here forever is no reason to ignore his blatant shortcomings as a head coach.

  • In reply to cesba:

    I agree with Guillermo, there is a problem within the Fire organization and everybody knows it. Bad decisions are being made and we are losing out. Open cup wasted, Superliga title lost and now home field inconsistency in front of the best fans. Nine more games to go but with the display that we seem on Wednesday I fear this season is not going to end on a good note.

  • Baky didn't play because after according to Denis Hamlett, he isn't "100% committed to the team" and Hamlett won't play anyone who isn't fully committed.

    Check out the links here

    http://leisureblogs.chicagotribune.com/about-last-night/2009/08/game-day-firegalaxy.html

    or here..

    http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-fire-confidential/2009/08/fire-vs-la-galaxy-match-preview.html#comments

    for a little more info.

  • In reply to SamuelStejskal:

    100% COMMITED? THIS IDIOT COACH ISN'T 100% COMMITED!

  • totally agree.
    stupid bandwagon jumpers!!

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