Fire vs. Revs: Five Answers

Darrius Barnes

Last week I took a look at five key questions that would play a role in determining the winner of Game 1 of the Fire-Revolution Eastern Conference Semifinal Series. Now, with the 2-1 Revolution win in the books, it's time to take a second look at those five questions and see how they played out.

Here we go...
**1. Did the Fire's Gonzalo Segares, John Thorrington, Wilman Conde and Tim Ward return from injury?**

Out of the four players that could have possibly returned from injury, only left back Gonzalo Segares made an appearance on the field at Gillette Stadium. Thorrington was the only other player to even be named to the 18 man roster as Conde and Ward were still hampered by injuries and didn't make the bench.

Segares, who came on in the 64th minute for Mike Banner, didn't do a whole lot against New England. He was on the field for the Revolution's go-ahead goal and hit his clearance attempt right to Jeff Larentowicz, who assisted on Sharlie Joseph's winning goal. He wasn't able to get into the attack very well either and didn't really make a difference on the left flank.

All in all, rough day for the players who could have returned from injury on Sunday. We could see Thorrington, Ward and Conde return in time for next Saturday's Game 2 but I would be surprised if any of them got the start given they are all lacking match fitness.

**2. Did the Fire be able to finish their chances?**

The Fire actually didn't do too poorly in terms of finishing their chances on Sunday. Chris Rolfe took his goal very well and Brian McBride and Baggio Husidic were unlucky to see their strikes ricochet off the post and crossbar, respectively.

The problem in the attack for the Fire was in the creation of chances. After the first 20 minutes, Chicago really didn't have a whole lot going on in the attacking third. The Fire only registered two shots on goal the whole match and that is a figure that simply has to be higher if they want to get a result from a game in which they conceded twice.

**3. How did the Revolution's young defenders hold up?**

I thought that New England's two rookie defenders -- Darrius Barnes and Kevin Alston -- did extremely well Sunday afternoon. They struggled a little bit right off the bat, but there was nothing either could do about the Fire's goal and they settled in very well as the match went along. Barnes really impressed me with his aerial ability and calm demeanor in the central defense and Alston was solid both going forward and in the back. Neither player showed any nerves in the game and both look they could be on the fast track to becoming MLS stars.

**4. What did the Fire get from Marco Pappa?**

Before he was subbed out in the 74th minute, I thought Pappa played pretty well against New England. He set up the Fire's only goal with his cross and he was one of the few players on the Fire consistently making to look something happen with the ball at his feet. That said, after a pretty strong first half, Pappa struggled to make the same impact in the second and it would be good to see him put together a full 90 minutes of solid play like he did in the season's first stages.

**5. How did Chris Rolfe perform in one of his final games as a member of the Fire?**

Rolfe, like Pappa, was one of the few Fire players who actually looked dangerous in the attack during Game 1. As I mentioned above, he took his goal very well and did well along the wings all game. I'm still not quite sure why he was taken out in the 87th minute for Justin Mapp but overall, Chris did pretty well in what could be his second to last game of his Fire career.

That's all for me today but I'll be back tomorrow with more coverage of the Fire.

Comments

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  • Sam, another nice article and analysis. Just a couple of thoughts. For roughly twenty minutes, the Fire played team ball with good movement. After that, they went back to their all too familiar "play for me" attack and the teamwork stopped. Blanco sucked for most of the game and contributed nothing. McBride was horrible most of the match as well and his finishing was absolutely horrendous although the effort was there. Pappa took a shot in the second half of the game when there were three defenders standing in front of him with Rolfe standing no more than six feet away with a clear look at goal. That is what happened the entire second half.

    Rolfe played a great game both on the offensive end of the field and particularly in the defensive third and midfield area. His defensive effort was the best of any Fire player on the field with continual takeaways and clearances. It's too bad the Fire has not shown an interest in allowing him to be a focal point on the attack. Unfortunately, that is a moot issue now and I hope he is better utilized in Denmark.

  • nice article sam and the same for you toby..dont you guys just wait and hope for a break out game where they put a bunch in the net? a game like that could jump start a team. and its not to late.

  • In reply to bert:

    I wouldn't hold my breath. We're 30+ games into the season and the Fire has not managed to score more than three goals in a game once all year.

  • In reply to cesba:

    Fortunately, we only need two if we can keep them off the board. :-)

  • In reply to cesba:

    It's not so bleak. Only five teams scored more goals than the Fire this season and three of them failed to make the playoffs. The Fire are not a scoring machine, but neither are they inept. The key element in winning the series is to keep NE off the board on Saturday.

  • In reply to cesba:

    Hey Chicago Fire fans! I just got this email from a friend:

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