A bad start to a season is not necessarily an indicator of what the remainder of the year holds for MLS teams (Houston started last season 0-2-2 while Columbus started 0-2-5) but dropping points at home against one of the weakest teams in the league is not a good sign by any stretch. The Fire continued their maddening habit of sloppy and frustrating performances in front of large home crowds by losing to San Jose 2-1 in front of twenty thousand plus at Toyota Park.
The Fire managed to score for the first time this season from the run of play and actually looked more dangerous throughout the majority of the match but two careless breakdowns on defense and more missed opportunities on the offensive side of the pitch cancelled out any minimal progress made after the first two games. Baggio Husidic started in the central midfield position while Peter Lowry moved into Logan Pause's spot in front of the defenders. Husidic provided an improvement over the effort of the New York and Colorado matches but he was subbed out at half time in order to move Marco Pappa into the central role. The move resulted in Pappa's first goal of the season but provided little else since Pappa's first instinct is to fire left footed bombs from any position and distance rather than locate his forwards advancing towards goal.
San Jose was not particularly dangerous at any point during the match but capitalized on two mistakes; a terrible Tim Ward back pass/indecision from Andrew Dykstra and Tim Ward being caught flat footed by a rookie defender for an uncontested header.
We may have to be patient while Carlos De Los Cobos adjusts and figures out what his best options and combinations are but that is difficult to swallow considering San Jose was thouroughly thrashed by Real Salt Lake 3-0 in their home opener.
GK Andrew Dykstra (4) - Indecisive and shaky throughout. His next big save will be his first.
D Deris Umanzor (4) - Only trained with the team for a few days this week before being given the start and did not look particularly good. Too early to tell if De Los Cobos' faith in him is justified.
D CJ Brown (5) - Looked bad trying to cover for the terrible back pass and indecision from Dykstra on the first goal but there wasn't much he could do about it.
D Wilman Conde (6) - Solid as usual but not as dominant as he was in New York.
D Tim Ward (3) - A terrible second half resulted in both San Jose goals. He was caught flat footed on the second goal. Probably the worst game in a Fire uniform for Ward.
M Peter Lowry (5) - Was more active today playing Logan Pause's d mid spot.
M Marco Pappa (6) - Scored the only goal for the Fire which moved his rating higher. If Pappa ever learns to use his right foot and pass effectively.......
M Patrick Nyarko (7) - Was probably the best player on the field for the Fire. His crosses improved and he gave San Jose fits with his speed but he also needs to look for his own shot at some point.
M Baggio Husidic (5) - Better getting forward than Lowry at this position. Didn't play badly.
F Brian McBride (4) - Maybe it's just me, but I'd like to see forwards spend more time in the box and less time in the midfield. Maybe I just expect more from a forward of McBride's caliber.
F Collins John (5) - Always dangerous but the first half miss at an open net from a Nyarko cross brought back nightmares of Fire forwards from the recent past. A little more elevation on the shot that was cleared from the goal line by Hernandez and the Fire take the lead 2-1.
M Justin Mapp (4) - Another 45 minutes of jogging around accomplishing little.
D Krzystof Krol (5) - I don't know if he's faster than Umanzor but he is better.
D Mike Banner (5) - Came on for Ward with 6 minutes left and tried to get forward.
Ref - Mark Geiger (5) - Was not a factor, which is a good thing for an MLS referee.
Tonight's game marked the debut of the Dan Kelly/Chris Doran led Comcast broadcasts. I thought Kelly was fine on the play by play call and Doran provided his usual analysis. The production value of the broadcast is a definite upgrade from the My50 version although there were some technical glitches. The most disappointing of the glitches resulted in a lost feed which snipped the promised De Los Cobos post game presser and locker room interviews. Comcast did run brief interviews with CJ Brown and Collins John during their wrap up show.
I am looking forward to Comcast's post games shows since that is an element which has been sorely missing from Fire broadcasts for the last few years.