Fire vs Houston Game Recap and Player Ratings

The Fire clearly controlled the play, especially in the first half during a 2-0 victory against Houston.  The Fire midfield controlled possesion while the defense limited Houston to very few dangerous opportunities.  Dynamo came out more aggressive in the second half which led to a chippy second 45 minutes marred by two red cards and a slew of yellows. 

Brian McBride had several dangerous scoring opportunities in the first half but failed to convert while Marco Pappa didn't score but his play centrally continues to improve.  Andrew Dykstra looked more composed and made a few nice saves while racking up a second consecutive clean sheet. 

The only real negative on the night was the 11,312 attendance (significantly lower than the sold out opening night) although the weather may have played a large factor in limiting the walk up crowd.

Player Ratings

GK Andrew Dykstra (7) - Juggled a few balls but looked more confident and made some nice saves to squelch the few Houston opportunities.

D Wilman Conde (7) - Probably the best defender in MLS.  The Fire should not wait to re-sign this guy since his contract is up at the end of the year.

D CJ Brown (7) - Still a few miles left in the old legs.

D Tim Ward (7) - Looked like first half of '09 Ward by getting into the attacking third and providing supporting runs.

D Kryzstof Krol (6) - Krol had an excellent game as well and also got into the attacking third.  The silly red card for a retalliatory head butt on Landin lowers his mark.

M Peter Lowry (7) - Provided the support the needed from his position and scored a goal.  Will Logan Pause get back into the line-up when he's healthy?

M Baggio Husidic (7) - May not be the fastest guy on the field but he continues to play well given the time.  Continously improving as well.  In perfect position for his rebound goal.

M Justin Mapp (5) - Wasn't as effective as he was last week but he wasn't bad either.

M Marco Pappa (6) - Distribution was better today.  Long pass to Nyarko initiated the attack which led to the second goal. 

M Patrick Nyarko (6) - Not as prominent as he has been but still dangerous.  If he ever learns to pull the trigger when he needs to shoot on goal instead of waiting to pass he will be huge.

F Brian McBride (6) - Had several great scoring chances in the first half sail just over the cross bar.  Also had a shot on goal cleared by a Houston defender.

F Collins John (5) - 62' minute sub for McBride did manage to get off a few shots on goal.  Still searching for that finishing touch.

M Mike Banner (5) - 74' minute sub for Mapp was active in short time.

D Deris Umanzor (5) - 90' minute sub for Pappa will get a second chance to start next week due to Krol's red card.  Umanzor makes Mike Banner look like a giant. 

Ref Ricardo Salazar (4) - Failure to get control of chippy play early in the second half led to a yellow card merry go round with two ejections. 

Next week's opponent Chivas USA defeated San Jose 3-2.

Comcast Telecast

The post game show was much better.  Interviews with Husidic, Brown, Klopas and Lowry a big improvement over last weeks effort. 



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  • yeah the weather was a big factor. I was at the game and it was really cold when it started pouring. This week I give everyone a "7". The team is starting to come together and hopefully next week we will have better weather...

  • Positives: Subbing McBride at the 60th min is a great thing. Conde is hands down the best defender in the league. Lowry played very well. Mapp is gaining confidence which is only a good thing for our team. We looked good in the air in the first half and need to finish our chances.

    Negatives: Fans condoning Krols headbutt. Krols headbutt. Not getting Corben Bone in at the end. The jabronies on the west side of the stadium not sitting in their seats.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    So I guess when somebody takes a cheap shot at your legs you should let that stuff go? I didn't see much of a headbutt but more of a chest push of...Anyway I cheered. Also it was much warmer on the eastside and not like those seats were being used...Just saying

  • In reply to Adam25:

    So you liked the fact that he 'stood up for himself'? Hes lucky Houston played like DC United and it didn't cost us the game. He could see Landin's foul coming way before it happened. The ref was going to handle the situation, he didnt need to.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    If DH was in charge and we were up 2-0 with 5 minutes on the clock I de worried. I didn't see Houston step up at any point during the whole game. Fire control the either match. Statement was made next time Landin wont be so quick to take that cheap shot...

  • In reply to Adam25:

    I bet Landin was quite happy that Krol lost control and got thrown out. I wouldn't be surprised if thats what he wanted to happen.

  • In reply to Adam25:

    I watched the game on TV and when they mentioned how windy it was, my thoughts were that this should fit well with DLC's "keep it on the ground" philosophy and I think the team did that very well. I'm soooo thankful that Houston shot just before Baggio's goal didn't go in. It would have changed the whole complexion of the game.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    The Fire really seemed to find their form in this one. Nyarko, as usual, had something to do with a goal, Pappa looked decent, McBride seemed to find his niche in being the 60 minutes of making runs and beiong dangerous, and Dykstra looked great.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    I would have given Dykstra a 6. His first save of the game was a bobble... and what appeared like he gave away a corner, although it wasn't called. He did come up big late in the second with a great stop and then a quick second stop on the rebound. That was the first play this entire year where I felt like Dykstra compared favorably with Busch.

    Dykstra's success has been mainly due to a very solid backline, rather than insane stops.

    Other comments: Nyarko didn't have his best game. He does need to take more shots himself, and he disappeared for a chunk of the second half, right up until the second goal sequence.

    Finally, a 4 for the ref is generous. That was horrible officiating.

  • In reply to Byron:

    After further're right....Salazar's 4 is probably too high.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    When was Nyarko supposed to shoot last night? If you havent noticed yet, the guy doesnt really have a good shot. Has he ever scored a goal with a shot with his laces. Its all breakaway finishes or headers. I would be completely fine if the guy doesnt score a goal all season. If he keeps setting up goals he will have a great season.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    74th minute, hesitation while looking for the cross allowed defenders to recover. Again in the 90th, slight hesitation before deciding to shoot allowed defender to recover. He's got to shoot on goal just to keep defenders honest. If he develops a consistent shot that defenders respect, look out.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    I also think that Banner has looked a lot better than last year offensively but not defensively.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Let's lighten up.
    Nyarko's very first goal was in 2008 and it was with the laces at home against Chivas , last year in game 2 at DC he scored with the laces to tie the game. He also scored with the laces last May to tie Chivas on the road. So to say he has only scored on headers and breakaways is wrong.

  • In reply to FireStingDoug:

    We know he's scored goals, but it's also obvious that he is not a good finisher. It was more evident last season when he played forward, and it's something he definitely needs to work on. Having said that, he's been excellent this season, and I think he's better as an attacking midfielder than a forward. And if Collins John & McBride had a bit better finishing themselves, Nyarko would have several more assists than he already does.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    I really like what husidic is doing from his holding mid role. While not everything comes off i like the fact that he will try to push the ball and will jump into the offense. Pause almost never does that stuff.

    Its odd but i also like the 4-5-1 .. with the passing and way its playing it almost reminds me of Roma. If only Mapp was more a threat. Get us Guily on the left with Pappa in the middle and Nyark on the left and John/Mcbride up top . i like my chances with that line up.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    The cheap shot from Landin was uncalled for but you can't put yourself in a position to hurt your team by retaliating. He could have made his point without the headbutt.

  • In reply to cesba:

    agreed. especially irritating since i don't like our alternative options at LB...

  • In reply to manyou07:

    when somone fouls you and then gets in your face, and presses their forehead into your's, here's what you do:
    Say in their face: "Watch this sh__, you dirty ____!" then go to ground clutching your head. At least, that's what Drogba would do.

  • In reply to manyou07:

    Pestilence I agree with you 100% nice analysis!
    Good game by the Fire they now have 2 back to back 2-0 results, too bad they didn't do this like they should have to SJ for their home opener to send the fans away happy!
    I like how this team is starting to jell! To bad Krol is going to serve a 1 game suspension! He looks great in the game nice shooting from long range and great presence!
    I agree that Dykstra is getting confidence and getting 2 clean sheets but most if not almost all of that is due to our solid backline the last 2 games. He needs to be more of a presence and communicate with his teammates like Busch did so well.
    If we could just have better finishing from McBride, John, Nyarko (if he would shot instead of always pass) we'd be beating teams up badly! I like this new 4-5-1 lineup allowing Pappa, Mapp, and Nyarko to run at the defense and use their speed!

  • In reply to manyou07:

    It's killing me being unable to watch the Fire games way down here in St. Louis but nevertheless I'm thrilled with this weeks results. I'm apparently one of the few who likes the 4-5-1 formation or 4-1-4-1. However there is a great explanation for it on the Fire web site --"De los Cobos finds success with new formation..." I would still like tpsee the addition of a truly creative midfield general like Riquelme or possibly Seedorf. .....Although I am getting a little bit nervous about McBride and John. If the Midfield continues to perform and progress maybe we will need a a pure striker--- very confusing. Good luck DLC

  • In reply to manyou07:

    Low attendance could in part be that the game had to compete with Blackhawks playoffs, Bulls playoffs, and the White Sox. The Bulls losing doesn't hurt. Hopefully the new marketing methods the team is putting forth will put a few more butts in Toyota Park.

  • I was right on the brink of 6 or 7 for Nyarko. The Fire also seem to like Sean Johnson's potential as well, he is also another big keeper.

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