A blown two goal lead and a late Kansas City equalizer cost the Fire two points in the standings. The match featured plenty of up and down action with both sides creating numerous opportunities. The wet field conditions along with the small pitch in KC contributed to an open affair that saw the Wizards control possesion for long spells and forced Andrew Dykstra into numerous saves.
Carlos De Los Cobos decided to continue using the 4-5-1 formation and surprisingly inserted Julio Martinez into the starting line up. The move paid off as Martinez delivered the best effort of his young Fire career by scoring a goal in the 14th minute after a perfect pass from Marco Pappa. In an equally surprising move, Martinez was subbed at half time in favor of Mike Banner.
Brian McBride, another half time substitution, also played well and scored three minutes into the second half. McBride's one touch clinical finish was a result of another Patrick Nyarko dangerous run along the right side of the field.
GK Andrew Dykstra (6) - Probably played his best match of the season in terms of saves and degree of difficulty. Dykstra was tested often and came up big on several occasions. His tendency to bobble some balls continues to put the defense at risk.
D Dasan Robinson (5) - Tested often by Ryan Smith. Does not get forward as well as Ward.
D Krzyzstof Krol (5) - Bunbury's shot that lead to the tying goal came from his side. Picked up a yellow card on a wreckless challenge near the side line in the second half.
D Wilman Conde (6) - Contolled the box in the air but allowed Kamara too much space to shoot on the first KC goal. Brown, Husidic, and Pause were also in the vicinity. Began some counter attacks by feeding Nyarko and Pappa nicely.
D CJ Brown (5) - See Kamara goal above. The first goal was noone's fault in particular but the defense collectively allowed Kamara too much space to turn and shoot.
M Logan Pause (6) - Pause played well and even ventured forward several times. A run in the 83rd minute resulted in a dangerous cross to McBride which was booted just high and wide.
M Baggio Husidic (5) - Struggled a little bit defensively but did not play badly. Also trailed Bunbury badly before falling over himself on the tying goal.
M Julio Martinez (6) - A nice sliding finish resulted in his first goal of the season. Was more far more active in this game than in previous appearances.
M Marco Pappa (6) - Service was much better this week. Tried a few long distance shots that Nielsen easily handled. Combinations with Nyarko worked well.
M Patrick Nyarko (7) - Continues to be a handful for opposing defenses. Delivered a well taken strike in the 18th that forced Nielsen into a difficult save. Also passed up opportunities to shoot in 57th and 74th. A great run in the 67th minute also resulted in a near miss that went just wide.
F Collins John (5) - Should have earned a penalty call when he was tripped in the box in the 12th minute. Didn't provide much else.
F Brian McBride (7) - Played very well after replacing John at half time including a well taken strike for a goal, a few near misses, and several exceptional passes to create chances going forward.
M Mike Banner (5) - Replaced Martinez at half time. Decent effort.
M Peter Lowry (5) - Came on in the 84th minute for Pappa.
Ref Michael Kennedy (3) - MLS refs get a bad rap for a reason. Missed a penaly kick in the first half, waited too long to blow the whistle as Conde was down right before half time almost resulting in a KC goal, allowed Pablo Escobar to slam a flying shoulder block into Nyarko before conferring with assistants to pull out a yellow card. The sideline referee also blew a corner kick call against Escobar which led to KC possesion and the tying goal.
Kansas City had a majority of the possesion and outshot the Fire 18-8 (with a 10-6 shots on goal advantage). The corner kick disparity was even greater as the Wizards enjoyed an 11-1 edge in that department. Earning a point on the road is not a bad result but allowing late equalizers is always frustrating. The Fire must improve defensively if they are to challenge for anything other than a playoff spot this season. The midfield created more opportunities for scoring chances against a 4-3-3 but this team is far from a finished product at this point in the season.
Comcast producers should take note....the FSC post game show include player comments and interviews with both coaches.