The Fire finished the Sister Cities Tournament in fourth place after being defeated by Legia Warsaw 3-0. After a scoreless first half which saw some improved play from the previous effort on Wednesday against Paris Saint-Germain, the Fire provided a second half effort reminiscent of the disorganized effort againt Toronto two weeks ago.
Carlos De Los Cobos changed the starting line up in order to find minutes for players who have not seen much time this season. The back line consisted of CJ Brown and Kwame Watson-Siriboe in the middle with Deris Umanzor on the left and Logan Pause on the right. Justin Mapp started at right mid while Mike Banner manned the left side. Baggio Husidic and Peter Lowry returned to their central roles in front of the defense while Corben Bone was given the nod as the central attacker. Stefan Dimitrov played the lone forward in the 4-5-1. Andrew Dykstra returned in goal.
The Fire enjoyed a slight advantage in the run of play during a fairly uneventful first 45 minutes. Corben Bone and Justin Mapp provided the best opportunity of the half for the Fire when Bone's lead pass sent Mapp in for a chance in the 39th minute. Mapp's left footed attempt from the right side was blocked away by the Legia defense. A right footed attempt one second sooner would have lead to a clear goal opportunity but Mapp's effort to shoot from his stronger side allowed the defense to recover.
A cross from Bone to Dimitrov also provided an opportunity in the 31st minute but Dimitrov's left footed chip on the run sailed high. In the 32nd minute hesitation by Dykstra on a long ball into the box nearly resulted in an embarassing goal and Legia's best chance of the first half. Luckily for the Fire, Legia's attempt on goal was chipped high over the net.
The second half began with Wilman Conde replacing Brown. Problems started in the 52nd minute when Dykstra came too far out of the box and missed a slide attempt at the ball resulting in an open shot on net which went wide. The Watson-Siriboe/Conde combination did not appear to gel as the middle of the field was taken over by Legia.
Legia broke through in the 59th minute as the entire Fire defense seemed to stand around flat footed while Maciej Iwanski buried a shot that Dykstra could do little about.
The Fire did respond with several opportunities of their own but Legia goalkeeper Kostyantyn Makhonovskyy made two impressive saves to keep the score level. In the 67th minute the keeper made a diving save on a Husidic shot from close range after a corner kick. In the 68th minute Mike Banner broke through the Legia defense for a one on one break on goal. The keeper came out just far enough to get a finger tip on Banner's shot and send it wide of goal.
That was as close as the Fire would get. In the 69th minute Sebastian Szalachowski got behind the defense after Conde was dispossesed at midfield. Deris Umanzor could not contain Szalachowski on the break away and just like that the score grew to 2-0 Legia.
The 71st minute saw another diving save by Makhonovskyy on another Banner attempt. At this point Brian McBride entered the match for Lowry as the Fire switched to a 4-4-2. The 74th minute saw another big save from the Polish keeper this time on a blast from Collins John just outside of the 18 and to his right.
The Fire's defensive follies continued when Umanzor fell in his own end resulting in a chance for Legia from 20 yards out but the shot sailed wide. The embarrassment continued in the 85th minute when Szalachowski beat Conde inside the box and fired a shot past Dykstra for a 3-0 lead.
The 3-0 thumping at home while hosting an international tournament did not sit well with De Los Cobos. "We're repeating what we saw on the field today with frequency" said De Los Cobos, "in just about every game we've played we have created chances and failed to finish...in soccer when that happens you will pay for it". "In the first half we were organized and disciplined in the second half we were disorganized in the back".
De Los Cobos continued, "When you put on the Chicago Fire jersey you have to play with responsibility and there were some players that did not".
Conde for Brown (45')
Pappa for Bone (57')
John for Dimitrov (63')
McBride for Lowry (71')
Kinney for Husidic (86')
Martinez for Mapp (89')
Not Used : Krol, Johnson
The Fire actually outshot Legia 23-10 but careless play in the back and lack of finishing doomed the team again.
Red Star Belgrade won the Sister Cities Cup by defeating Paris Saint-Germaine on penalty kicks after the teams finished tied 1-1. Ludovic Giuly was not on the PSG game day roster after suffering an apparent injury during the first half of Wednesday's match.
The Fire returns to MLS action on Thursday when FC Dallas comes to Toyota Park. FCD has thumped the Fire hard in Toyota Park during the last two seasons while maintaining the Brimstone Cup. De Los Cobos was clearly not happy after this match and Thursday's match is needed to restore confidence and order to a struggling Fire team.