The Fire followed up their best effort of the season with a fairly uninspired and lackluster 1-1 draw at home. Chivas USA had the advantage in play during the first half as the Fire seldom seemed threatening. The Fire was better in the second half and took advantage of their first real scoring opportunity of the match when Patrick Nyarko's cross was sent into the net past Zach Thornton by Baggio Husidic in the 53rd minute.
Chivas USA tied the match in the 76th when Maicon Santos headed a corner kick into the net. Santos, a 69th minute substitute, managed to free himself in between Brian McBride and Wilman Conde to get the shot away.
Collins John was originally in the starting line up but was scratched due to hamstring tightness.
GK Andrew Dykstra (6) - Not a bad effort but still manages to mishandle balls that he should hold on to. The goal was not his fault, but despite his "save of the week" against Houston he has not really been tested yet this season.
D Deris Umanzor (5) - Better than his debut effort but not particularly impressive either. Nowhere near as dangerous in advancing runs as Krol and not as good a defender either.
D Tim Ward (6) - Chivas never really threatened on his side. Some involvement going forward resulted in little offensively.
D CJ Brown (6) - You always know what you're going to get.
D Wilman Conde (6) - Effective as always while physically taking Justin Braun off the ball several times. Difficult to tell if Santos was his mark or McBride's on the Chivas score. Seems to me it was Conde's.
M Peter Lowry (6) - Stayed back defensively for the majority of the game. Klejstan was not a huge factor offensively for Chivas.
M Baggio Husidic (7) - Being in the right place at the right time enabled him to score for the second consecutive week. The more I see of Husidic the more I like what he brings to the team.
M Justin Mapp (5) - Only played 22 minutes after being fouled in the 14th by Michael Lahoud during a tackle that should have been at least a yellow.
M Patrick Nyarko (6) - His cross resulted in the lone goal. Had several other opportunities for dangerous chances but only delivered on one. Passed up another look at goal in the 37th minute when he slowed down and allowed Chivas defenders to recover. Did reasonably well against USMNT defender Jonathan Bornstein.
M Marco Pappa (6) - Other than the service to Nyarko leading to the goal, Pappa was fairly quiet. He has started to look better playing centrally in the last two games but Chivas' 5 man midfield seems to have caused him some problems.
F Brian McBride (5) - Never seemed to be much of a factor or threat to score. It seems that his "off" games are spent pursuing the action in the midfield when he is not involved up front. If Collins John is healthy, De Los Cobos has the right idea by subbing him in or out of games.
M Mike Banner (6) - Involved in the run up to the Chicago goal. Did not play badly as a substitute for Mapp. Subbed out in the 81st for offense.
M Julio Martinez (4) - Unfortunately the offensive player Banner was subbed for was Martinez, who played 9+ unimpressive and nearly invisible minutes.
F Stefan Dimitrov (5) - Subbed in for McBride in the 88th minute. Did a reasonable job of trying to get a PK call late.
Ref Jason Anno (4) - Missed a yellow card call on a studs up tackle (Lahoud on Mapp). The sideline referee also blew an offides call on a Nyarko break away in extra time. I think I'm going to stop rating the referee since I don't believe any MLS official will rate above a 5 at any time.
Next week's opponent Toronto FC lost to Real Salt Lake 2-1.
The Fire found success by utilizing a 4-5-1 formation against two sides employing a 4-4-2. Chivas' additional midfielder and two rookie central midfielders slowed down the attack and possesion game that made the Fire so effective against Houston. This further illustrates the Fire's need for a central attacking midfielder who can create. Unfortunately this is the most difficult position to fill in MLS.
My50 post game included interviews with Nyarko and Klopas. Some people would still like to see the coaches post game press conferences.
Someone please tell Safway Insurance that Blanco is not on the team any more.