Fire vs Wizards Game Recap and Player Ratings

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.  


Player Ratings

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. 


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  • This was the sequel of a bad movie from last year.
    In the original movie last year at Toyota Park, The Fire takes a 2-0 lead on 2 McBride goals but give up 2 goals to Wolf with the second coming very later , game ends as a 2-2 tie.
    Tonight the Fire takes a 2-0 lead on KC with one of the goals being score by McBride , then KC has one player score 2 goals with one of them coming late to end 2-2. Blew a great chance to pull within 4 points of New York. THis team has blow three games with 2-0 leads since the start of last year. How is that foul to Nyarko not a Pk ! We just do not get PK calls. On the other hand , the Crew who lives off of the pk scored one goal tonight and yes it was a PK.

  • In reply to FireStingDoug:

    It is frustrating from week in and week out to see this team not putting games away. The first Kamara goal, the Fire defenders gave him too much space to tee it up. The second one, I was scratching my head. Collins John should gotten the PK called in the 1st half of the game. Nyarko has to kick the ball immediately as soon as he is wide open instead of hesitating. Dykstra is a hold your breath barely hold on type of goalkeeper; it seems like the Fire needs to score 4 goals for Dykstra to record a W. I won't mind looking at Sean Johnson behind the net; I have a feeling that you might see him for a game or two. This Thorrington character is killing this team; I would cut ties with this guy. He is either on IR or receives a yellow card. They need a midfielder I MEAN a midfielder that can be a playmaker badly.

  • I don't think Nyarko should get a 7. Sure, he had a moment of brilliance setting up McBride nicely, but someone needs to come down hard on the guy. He failed to pull the trigger at all in two 1v1s with the keeper! Even just one of those would have given us the win. He also held the ball at the top of the box in the second half when he certainly should have shot. Probably the most frustrating player on the team because he just doesn't seem to maximize that potential! I want him to be my favorite player so badly.

  • In reply to cweimers:

    Point taken on Nyarko's rating. I identified his near misses and shots neglected in the recap.

  • In reply to cweimers:

    My thoughts.
    -Patrick needs to pull the trigger.
    -That guy (Escobar?) that pummeled him should have been given a red.
    -Dykstra made some dramatic saves but his hands are still way too soft as was that first goal.
    - A draw was a fair result but it hurts to give it up in the 89th minute.

  • In reply to oliotya:

    A draw was probably a just result.

  • In reply to cesba:

    Yes , the way the game went , I agree.
    I however always feel a sense of real loss s when a 2 goal lead in outdoor soccer is blown.

  • okay, I'm not buying these player ratings. Dykstra was outstanding under the circumstances; easily an 8. Husidic was a disaster, turning balls over repeatedly, losing sight of teammates, reacting slowly, passing poorly, etc. No better than 3. Robinson and Krol are liabilities and the Fire will never succeed with them on the pitch.

  • In reply to tribhater:

    3's might be a tad harsh.

  • In reply to tribhater:

    The good thing is that you do not have to buy the player ratings , they are free :) They are free to exchange.

  • In reply to FireStingDoug:

    Great answer FireStingDoug. I was going to buy Logan Pause's or Dykstra's 6 rating for 200...LOL!!! Take your pick. New York are on the verge of getting Thierry Henry but it is not official yet. Imagine Angel/Henry combo on top..WOW!! Both of them played in the EPL (Angel with Aston Villa and Henry with FC Barcelona). Fire must take advantage of the DP.

  • In reply to FireStingDoug:

    Has anyone ever seen a goalkeeper take a throw-in like Nielsen did last night? I can't emagine that's happened even 5 times in the entire history of professional soccer.

  • In reply to oliotya:

    USA-Columbia, 1994 World Cup. Not a goalkeeping performance anyone should ever emulate,though.

  • In reply to oliotya:

    Keepers take throw ins all the time. Usually at the end of games when their team is down and its cleared to the other end like last night.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    I'm pretty sure Piotr Cech did it with a 1-0 lead in the FA cup final on Saturday. He really enjoys running up the field, probably because he has so little to do all game.

  • FCS camera suck big time during the 1st half, it was like watching the game from 1/4 mile away in fog. Also refused to use bottom caremas which weren't covered with rain on the lens. These weather condition are not helping a bit. Good effort but not good enought. I think Nyrako had two shoots he should of taken but instead he pass the ball. The D looked a step behind but should improve over next 6 home games. Wasted good opportnity for 3 points. The only thing that did impress me was how much CDLC English improved...Big plus there!

  • Ed Farmer could put Ray Hudson to sleep....during a World Cup game.....with a freight train running past the press box.

  • In reply to cesba:

    Ed Farmer is one of the worst announcers in baseball or maybe in sports. You have Christopher Sullivan and Alexi Lalas which both of them are brutal in terms of analysing soccer. Does Tim McCarver sit well for all you typical hardcore sports fans? YUK!!

  • I thought Dykstra had a great game. Though his hands are shaky, these were tough conditions with the slickness. i thought he did well.

    Nyarko needs to take that breakaway to his left foot and slot the ball far post. He also could have sent a hard shot low and far post on a couple other oppurtunities.

    Mcbride had a good game finally. his role is good as a sub. he also had a fiery edge to him and got pissed off. He needs tpo keep that up.

    I think Banner had great moments. that pass that Nyarko barely missed was unlucky, maybe a little more finesse and less speed. Those were the " potential goal" plays that cost us the game. I find it funny that the through balls Mcbride was getting (especially on his goal) were good passes, but those are the balls that need to be played to Collins John. I feel like John is going to have a breakout game soon. it's just a matter of when he decides to be a factor and the right plays come around.

    Overall, I thought extremely pissed because we could have put the game away several times. I thought Dykstra deserved the win. Ryan Smith is a very fast and skilled player, he wrecked us all night. I think when we get that playmaker, whether we bring blanco back which would be amazing! Or we bring a solid #10 plater in Collins John will shine. We should have gotten a pk and Escobar should have got a red for that cheap bulldozer move on nyarko.

    We should unleash goals at our next home game, i feel it!

  • In reply to jking:

    It would be nice to unleash some goals except were playing PSG...

  • In reply to jking:

    On another blog, Charlie Corr's, it was stated that the Fire abandoned their "passing out of the back" and instead resorted to numerous long punts from Dykstra. Number of questions: first, is that a correct analysis?; two, if true, why was it done?;and finally did DLC make any comments or give any explanations?
    The last question raises another issue for me--how accessible is DLC to post game questions? A million questions would seem appropriate: what's with Collins John; What's with Julio Martinez?; Is anybody actually working with Nyarko to correct his lack of shooting?, etc, etc, etc

  • In reply to shortpasses:

    The road games are always difficult to get the right questions asked since the local media does not send anyone out to cover them.
    I'm not sure if it was the conditions or a change in tactics, but it has seemed like there have been more long throws and punts the last two games.
    DLC is pretty accessible. I'm going try to hit the post games after home matches and hopefully answer those questions.

  • In reply to cesba:

    Thanks GR !! This blog has become my favorite for two reasons -- One, your comments are usually very analytical and you don't resort to "baiting" your readership and two, the respondents are generally polite even with strong disagreements. It's a refreshing change.

  • In reply to cesba:

    Thanks shortpasses......that's the general atmosphere I was shooting for.

  • In reply to cesba:

    On Nyarko's rating: I thought a 7 was appropriate. He was very dangerous on Saturday. If he could learn to finish, he'd be in Europe within a month. (Speaking of which, would it be possible to cap him with the USMNT? Or would he play for Ghana?)

    On CoJo's rating: 5 was generous. Yes, he should have been awarded a PK, but he completely disappeared the rest of the first half. And I'll mention that there was a terrific rebound opportunity midway through the first half that if he'd been where he should have been, he'd have gotten a goal. I would go with a 4 or a 3.

    On Julian Martinez - he fell and twisted his knee about the 35th minute. I'm sure he was subbed out at the half because of the injury.

  • In reply to Byron:

    Regarding Martinez....De Los Cobos actually said that he scored a goal but he wanted to see more effort out of him so he subbed him out.
    Nyarko citizenship is Ghanaian. I think he would need 5 years of permanent residency to be eligible for US citizenship.

  • In reply to cesba:

    I've wondered about his status...I have a hunch that last year he counted as an International Roster Spot, but that this year he didn't. I wonder if that means he's got a green-card now. Does the years he spent on a student visa count toward the 5-year requirement or does that only start once he has a work-permit (2 years ago, I assume)

    And re: the original question, I think he would choose Ghana if he had a choice, but I don't think either team gives him a look for at least another year or two.

  • In reply to RadioGonzo:

    I believe the years spent on a student visa do not count. Since he was still in the Generation Adidas program last year he did not count towards a Senior International roster spot. In 2009 GA players could be counted as developmental spots. MLS has not released the list of 2010 roster spot designations yet. He probably will count against one of the international spots this year.

  • In reply to RadioGonzo:

    great blog. i agree with what short passes said!

    what disappointed me most was the poor possession in most of the first half. sometimes it seems the only offensive threat the fire have is nyarko on the flank (too bad he doesnt finish well)

    chicago seems to be getting worse in possession each game since houston. you think getting thorrington & mapp back will help the midfield?

  • In reply to Byron:

    To be fair to C.J. Brown, Ryan Smith set an NBA-worth pick on him on the first goal, which opened up the space for Kamara.

  • In reply to notabbott:

    Yep....good catch. Conde, Husidic, and Pause also failed to close the space when the chance was had.

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