After controlling a good portion of the first half despite being down 1-0 the Fire turned in an absolutely dismal second half defensive effort in route to a 4-1 loss in Toronto. Not only was the defensive effort lacking but it seems that several players were negatively affected by line up and formation changes. Carlos De Los Cobos decided to start Logan Pause in a 4-1-4-1 formation which moved Baggio Husidic and Peter Lowry away from the positions that proved successful for them over the last three matches. Pause turned in a decent effort and scored a beautiful goal but his insertion into the line up also moved Patrick Nyarko and Marco Pappa into wing positions. This formation further exposed the Fire's biggest offensive weakness. Lack of a true play making midfielder who can play in the middle of the park.
Nyarko and Pappa also seemed to be working on sides opposite their strengths. Nyarko played mostly on the left side after finding success along the right through the first six matches of the season. Pappa was a non factor before being subbed out in the 51st minute. Until the Fire fills the central midfield position or Marco Pappa magically becomes a consistent central midfielder frustrating forays into the final third will continue.
The Fire created enough opportunities going forward but the lack of a final pass or touch leading to truly dangerous scoring chances is still a problem.
GK Andrew Dykstra (4) - Made a few decent saves but he was left out to dry by his defense. Any time you allow four goals it's not a good day.
D CJ Brown (3) - White snuck behind him for the second Toronto goal and the entire back line was caught napping on goals three and four.
D Wilman Conde (3) - Beaten by White on a move leading to the third goal. Possibly Conde's worst game in a Fire uniform. Also whiffed on a first half ball that was cleared by Brown.
D Tim Ward (3) - Late getting back all day and provided little offensive support.
D Krzysztof Krol (4) - Caught lunging on the third Toronto goal which allowed White to continue forward. Slightly better than the other three coming forward in support.
M Logan Pause (6) - Pause seldom gets forward but his score today was "Goal of the Week" worthy. Also caught ball watching and offered no support on Toronto's second goal.
M Baggio Husidic (4) - Nowhere near as active as he has been over the last few weeks. Service in the final third was non existent along with the rest of the midfield.
M Peter Lowry (4) - Subbed out in the 36th minute for Collins John. According to Mike Matkovich at half time the substition was based on getting a more offensive threat on the field.
M Marco Pappa (4) - Not much of a factor at all before being subbed out in the 51st minute for Corben Bone. His service was awful today.
M Patrick Nyarko (5) - Nowhere near as dangerous or productive today. Managed to spend too much time on the left side of the field. Generated some decent runs that were sabotaged by bad passing or passes to red shirts.
F Brian McBride (4) - At some point hustle and effort have to translate into results. Outside of the DC game it has not. Subbed out in the 81st minute.
F Collins John (4) - Came in for Lowry in the 36th minute. Had a few opportunites to continue dangerous advances but weak crossing and lack of finishing was par for the course today.
M Corben Bone (4) - Came in for Pappa in the 51st minute to see his first MLS action but didn't provide a whole lot.
F Stefan Dimitrov (4) - The Fire have three forwards who essentially play the same position. The team lacks a true change of pace at forward with McBride, John, and Dimitrov.
Ref Terry Vaughn (4) - No real damage although the foul call on Nyarko against Usanov after the defender shoulder checked McBride in the box was terrible. Four minutes later Toronto scored their third goal.
The Fire showed a disturbing lack of discipline and concentration on the third and fourth goals as the entire back line was caught playing too high. De Los Cobos has six days to ponder which midfield combination is best served to combat Kansas City on their tiny pitch where possesion is critical.
The production in this game was even worse than the Fire's effort in the second half. The entire match featured shaky shots, missed re-starts, and unnecessary lingering close ups of players who weren't even involved in the play.
The half time show consisted of another international soccer scoreboard with no mention of the six other MLS matches occurring today. The RSL-Philly score was shown shortly after halftime during the second half.
The promoted 30 minute post game show was completed in 15 minutes and offered no interviews or post game locker room coverage.
I like the combination of Dan Kelly and Chris Doran although I don't agree with Doran's over the top profuse praise of every move made by Logan Pause and Brian McBride.