Fire 0 - Revolution 0: Still not in...

Marco Pappa, Kevin Alston

If someone would have told me midway through the season that the Fire's playoff fate would be in the balance heading into their final match, I would've have called them crazy.

But here we are. After [tonight's 0-0 draw at the Revolution](http://chicago.fire.mlsnet.com/news/team_news.jsp?ymd=20091017&content_id=7482334&vkey=news_chf&fext=.jsp&team=t100), the Fire find themselves with one game left to play and their future still uncertain.
Tonight's game saw the Revolution come out of the gate strong and they forced Fire keeper Jon Busch into several key first half stops. The Fire didn't really get going until the end of the first half but their best chance of the opening frame was spoiled when midfielder Chris Rolfe's difficult chip from 20 yards flashed wide of an empty net.

The match became mired in controversy in the 62nd minute when Rolfe got in behind the New England defensive line. After taking a few touches towards the net, Rolfe attempted to dribble around charging New England keeper Matt Reis who (pretty clearly) made contact with Rolfe's leg and took him down. Rolfe appealed for a penalty but the referee had none of it and gave the winger a yellow card for diving.

Both sides struggled to create many clear cut chances for the remainder of the game. The Fire did come relatively close in the 80th minute though, but sliding midfielder Baggio Husidic (who got his first start since July 11th) couldn't quite get his foot on the end of a Brian McBride cross and put the ball into the back of the net.

The Fire, who moved up to 42 points with the draw, stretched their win-less streak to six with the result. The team hasn't won since they defeated Colorado 3-2 on August 23rd -- a span of almost two months.

More concerning than the win-less streak though is the fact that the Fire now have seven teams within three points of them. Only five of those seven sides will be playing beyond next weekend and while the possibility that the Fire won't be in the playoffs is slim, it is concerning nonetheless.

A Fire Confidential game recap wouldn't feel right without at least a couple of questions though, so (without any further ado...) here they are.

**1 - What did you think of the referee's decision to not give Rolfe a penalty?**

I thought it was flat out horrendous. I have no idea what the referee saw but I thought it was very clear that Reis made contact with Rolfe and brought him down. Did Rolfe embellish it a little bit? Maybe. But really that's besides the point. Reis denied him a clear goal by physically taking him down inside the box and (by the book) that's a penalty kick and a red card for Reis. Plain and simple. I have no idea how the referee missed that.

**2 - How concerned are you with the 6-game win-less streak?**

I asked this same question after the Fire's last game but I think it deserves to be revisited. I can't say I'm much more concerned now than I was after the loss to L.A., but at some point (like maybe this Thursday...) the Fire needs to win a game.

**3 - Fill in the blank question here. The Fire's 2009 season has been __________ up to this point.**

Below it's potential. They need to step it up for the playoffs or they could live to regret it for a long time...

Comments

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  • 1. I didn't have a chance to watch the game, but when you say pretty clearly, I think that means that we just lost another crucial game because of a bad call. In my opinion, if we had won that game then the last month would not be going this way.
    2. As concerned as possible. The Fire will not win another game until we play the Red Bulls on opening day NEXT YEAR!! Blame time.

  • In reply to patrickhattrick:

    the BLAME goes to...
    Denis Hamlett! These insane lineups? Dealing Soumare? Bad subs? No Myrie?No Blanco in a very important game? Remember Conde's problems with Hamlett? He wanted to go to New York. NEW YORK! Why? Osorio not Hamlett. Not to give credit to JCO. I can't blame soumare, I would pick a fight with this guy! Every time I've met him, he hasn't struck me as nice. Baky did. McBride does. Nyarko, Rolfe, all of them! not Hamlett. Fire him ASAP. He is the death of this really deep team at the beginning of the season, the best defender of MLS, and my hopes of the Fire finally winning a MLS cup.

  • In reply to patrickhattrick:

    yeah i know what you mean, when my friend met him he got the same impression of him that he's an ass.

  • In reply to patrickhattrick:

    1. The call was awful. Matt Reiss enjoys some sort of respect for reasons beyond me. I've never understood why he is considered a good goalie. It should have been a penalty and a red card. The foul was outside the box - 30 yards away from the goal. If he hadn't touched Rolfe it was an open net.
    2. No wins in 6 games is not good, obviously, but not surprising when you consider the personnel issues Hamlett has had to deal with. The back four has been makeshift virtually all season due to injuries. His mid fielders are either hurt, too small or inexperienced. His younger players have a habit of waiting for the other guy to get to the ball and none of them are willing to run into a fray. The front line is inconsistent.
    3. Clearly the season has been frustrating but I'll give Hamlett the benefit of the doubt on the record given the injuries. I'm not so sure I'd give him the benefit of the doubt on Soumare - punching a player, if true, is unacceptable irrespective of the circumstances.

    Comments above note that the Fire need to looks at help from the outside. Forgetting for a moment the finances, looking at the team player by player gives you and idea of where we are at:

    1. Bush - he loves kicking the ball long but his play, particularly the last few weeks, has been outstanding. He's a keeper.
    2. Conde - great when he is healthy. If he had any speed he would be in Europe. We should try to keep him but my guess is he does not want to stay.
    3. Segares - great when he is healthy. He is a keeper.
    4. Ward - solid when health. He is a keeper and a good find.
    5. Soumare - gone. Too bad.
    6. Prideaux - decent player but not a good passer on a team that depends a great deal on their defensemen to pass. He's retiring.
    7. Pause - the only onomatopoeic name I've ever come across. His name is what he is, a pause in the game. Can he pass forward? Is it him or is the offense set up in such a way that he is forced to pass backwards all the time? He's a human counter-counterattack. He's our only mid fielder who is willing to mix it up. They will keep him but I suspect he could be replaced.
    8. Thorrington - runs well, small and easily pushed off the ball, makes stupid defensive plays, not a playmaker. I'm not sure he's worth the money.
    9. Mapp - great left foot, horrible right one, a little plumpy and seems to often have a case of the mopes. They will keep him.
    10. Pappa - great left foot, a horrible right one. Gets pushed around real easily. Not a good passer when under pressure. I think he is on loan. Still very young. I'd keep him if I could.
    11. Banner - playing out of position on the back line but has done relatively well. Has a lot of speed, good with the ball, easily pushed off the ball. Not sure about him. Would like him to see some extending time in the mid field before deciding.
    12. Blanco - slow, old, whiny and the most unusual player I've seen. Unbelievable abiltity to see what has happened, what is happening and what is going to happen. His free kicks aren't as good as they used to be but the Fire have gotten their money out of him. Unfortunately, he isn't worth the money any longer.
    13. Hasidic, Lowry and Dimitrov. All three are bigger and don't seem to get pushed aournd as much as do Pappa, Thorrington, and Pause. Having said that, they are our future and how they go will determine the future of the Fire. The thing I've noticed about Hasidic and Dimitrov is they seem to let the other guy get the ball instead of getting it themselves.
    14. Nyarko - the most off balanced player in the league. When he is in balance he is very good. When he is not balanced, he is not good. Problem: he is off balance more than he is balanced.
    15. Rolfe - the only player with the balls to take a long shot. Good with both legs and willing to play out of position. Easy to push off the ball. Unfortunately, he is gone.
    16. Dasan Robinson. Has played quite well when asked. A good backup.
    17. Woolard. Getting better all the time and solid when in. He will start next year.
    18. Washington. Runs well for a tailback - shuffle steps, low to the ground, easier to cut quickly. Unfortunately, we are playing soccer.
    19. Hamlett. Hard to tell. When the team was healthy we were tying and winning. When the team was not healthy we were tying or losing. I'm not sure he has control of the team.
    20. McBride. Plays better defense then any of our mid fielders. Has not been the scoring star we had hoped. I't hard to get a decent offense going when the bulk of the offense is based on long passes from defensemen or the goalie. He is old, but he plays young. I'd keep him. If we had an offensive minded mid field that held onto the ball, he'd be a real threat.

    Conclusions for next:

    Our mid field needs to get bigger and tougher. The ball has to come through the midfield and to the forwards better before we become the team I'd like to see.

    Lastly, I'll buy my season tickets because irrespective of the playeror coaches moves it is my team.

  • In reply to patrickhattrick:

    Janjo,

    The Trib barely covers the team let alone fan protests. I don't know if the Sting can still go......Granitza is almost 60 years old.

  • In reply to patrickhattrick:

    Has anyone figured the tie-breaker situation if we lose Thursday and A, B or C happen? My brain isn't large enough.

  • In reply to patrickhattrick:

    1. The referee's call was horrendous, but leaving your fate to a ref's call is a loser's lament.

    2. The six game winless streak is a serious concern and should alert Frank Klopas that a move should me made now before this season goes to waste. I know it won't happen but we do not have the leadership on the bench required to win anything. DH's comments before, during, and after the game indicated that he was happy with a tie. Does this guy realize how close they are to NOT making the playoffs?

    3. Incredibly frustrating.

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