The Fire continue to struggle at home despite outplaying Colorado for large portions of the match. Two defensive lapses resulted in two Colorado goals while Matt Pickens performed heroically in net for the Rapids. The constant and repetitive mistakes resulting from a lack of concentration is grating on both fans and the organization.
Carlos De Los Cobos responded to questions about discipline after the game, "We are not learning the lessons in soccer that we need to learn. If you lose concentration for one second you have a problem." said De Los Cobos. "I'm not happy because we had three points in our pocket. We lost two points (that were) very important for us".
The Fire played not lose and dropped back allowing Colorado to control possesion in the late stages of the match and they paid for it with another careless mistake. Wilman Conde continues to struggle with glaringly bad turnovers and careless marking. Conde's contractual situation makes one wonder if an off field issue is weighing on him since he appears to be a player performing with his mind elsewhere.
Andrew Dykstra addressed the lack of communication when asked about the second goal, "We just flat out didn't mark up. Left back was missing and Conde didn't make a play. I have to look at the film maybye there's something different I could have done but that's just a mental lapse, mental toughness. We have to stick it out in the last couple minutes of a game" said Dykstra.
The Fire now has over two weeks to mull a disappointing three game home stretch that saw the team collect only 5 of a possible 9 points. We can talk about central midfield and designated players all we want but until the excruciating mental defensive lapses cease things are not likely to change.
GK Andrew Dykstra (5) - Was not called upon to do much but needs to be more vocal with defenders in addressing situations like the game tying goal. There was not much Dykstra could have done on the goal. Jamie Smith delivered a cross with a clean look at goal and there were actually TWO Rapids attackers unmarked in the box on the play.
D Dasan Robinson (5) - Did not play badly but provides little to no support going forward.
D CJ Brown (6) - Stepped up and stopped several Colorado advances. Brown was one of the few defenders to actually mark someone in a blue shirt on the tying goal.
D Krzysztof Krol (5) - Was fair for about 89 minutes then got caught absolutely flat footed and marking noone while Casey tied the match.
D Wiman Conde (4) - An excellent service to McBride in the 63rd minute that resulted in a header forcing Pickens into a difficult save keeps this from being lower. Conde's slip and fall with noone near him directly resulted in the first Colorado goal. Cummings also got behind him in the 71st minute on his way to banging a shot against the inside of the far post that easily could have been a goal. His marking on the tying goal is inexcusable for a player of his quality. His contract situation needs to be addressed soon or he could have one foot out the door already.
M Logan Pause (5) - Did what he does, steady, no mistakes, but no real threat going forward.
M Baggio Husidic (6) - Provided the assist on Pappa's first goal with a chest trap and pass where his teammate could bury the shot. Not spectacular but I still maintain that Husidic can be a solid MLS contributor.
M Patrick Nyarko (6) - Hit the crossbar in the 9th minute and forced Pickens into a huge save in the 32nd minute. Gave Wynne fits again on the left side of the pitch.
M Justin Mapp (5) - Not as active in the offensive end as he had been in the previous few matches but was still effective nonetheless. Mapp even tracked back and defended on a few occasions. Should not have been subbed out for Banner.
M Marco Pappa (7) - He seems to have played his way out of the dog house with his effort in the last two matches. Pappa is the Fire's best and most spectacular finisher. Served the cross into Nyarko in the 32nd minute which resulted in the Pickens save.
F Brian McBride (6) - Provided a well placed header to Husidic on the Fire's first goal. Also could have easily scored in the 63rd minute if not for a diving save from Pickens. The team seemed to lose something upon his departure in the 65th minute.
F Collins John (4) - First match back after missing time with an illness. Didn't provide much of anything but the Fire inexplicably went into a shell with 20 minutes remaining which didn't allow him much opportunity.
M Mike Banner (4) - Came on in the 73rd minute for Mapp. Banner was the other player standing flat footed in the box watching Casey tie the game.
This match is a frustrating and difficult one to assess since the Fire did outplay the opponent for a good portion of the ninety minutes. The attitude, attention to detail and urgency of this squad must change quickly.
Fire Confidential Podcast
The latest podcast includes De Los Cobos' post game press conference and comments from Brian McBride, Baggio Husidic, Patrick Nyarko, and Andrew Dykstra. To listen click here.