Crew 2 Fire 1 Game Recap and Players Ratings

The last five regular season matches between the Fire and the Crew have ended in 2-2 draws.  This one also could have ended in the same manner if the Fire had not blown several chances to at least put a shot on goal and make Columbus goalkeeper Will Hesmer work.  The Fire managed a total of 16 shots but only 2 of them were on goal.  Columbus managed only 3 shots on goal but they finished their chances. 

Patrick Nyarko will need to find the scoring touch at some point this year if the side is to seriously contend for even the eigth playoff spot.  So far noone other than Marco Pappa has shown the ability to actually find the back of the net. 

The Crew's first goal came from Andrew Dykstra's bobbled attempt to coral a through ball.  Dykstra's inability to consistently and efficiently handle the ball on crosses, shots, and through balls is beginning to make a defense for Jon Busch's release seem very dubious.  "You can put the first goal on me.  The guy went through my arm and then the ball and made it tought for me and maybe I should have come in harder." said Dykstra after the match.

In a telling stat that illustrates the Fire's frustrating inability to finish chances, all three goals on the day were scored by Columbus since Chicago's lone tally was an own goal by Frankie Hejduk.  The second Crew score was another reminder of the Fire's other major downfall so far this year.  Sloppy defending at inopportune moments.  Eddie Gaven's service into Jason Garey was perfectly placed between Wilman Conde and Krzyzstof Krol to give the Crew the lead and the game.  "On the second goal, it was just a matter of repeated mistakes that we've done before", said Dykstra "not marking up when we've needed to and doing what needs to be done off the ball".  Allowing a goal so soon after a fortunate break to tie the match that late in the half is inexcusable but par for the course so far this season. 

Player Ratings

GK Andrew Dykstra (4) - Only called upon to make one save throughout the entire match.  In only his second season in MLS, Dykstra must develop presence and hands quickly or risk continous failed comparisons to Busch.

D Wilman Conde (5) - Other than the Garey goal which was the result of a perfectly weighted pass, the Columbian defender was nothing more than just okay.  We may have seen a sign of things to come when Conde was moved to defensive mid in the 84th minute in an attempt to spark some sort of attack. 

D CJ Brown (5) - Brown does exactly what he's asked to do.  Stay home and defend.

D Dasan Robinson (5) - Robinson faired nicely while breaking up a few Columbus attacks near the sideline in the first half but his inability to support out of the back is painfully obvious and highlights what Tim Ward can do from the right back spot. 

D Krzyzstof Krol (5) - His attempts to get forward resulted in several misplaced crosses.  He, along with Conde, was the victim of the second Crew score. 

M Marco Pappa (5) - Was active for most of the match but the activity resulted in little real accomplishment in terms of dangerous chances.  Started on the right side, moved to the left to start the second half, and alternated playing centrally with Banner and Nyarko in De Los Cobos' futile attempts to generate something offensively.  Provided a pass into Nyarko in the 60th minute that Nyarko should have done better with (a weak off target header was the result).

M Logan Pause (5) - Pause has played respectably of late but his offensive shortcomings are further exaggerated by the Fire's lackluster offensive output.  The Fire are basically playing with 5 defenders when Pause is on the pitch.  This is not always a bad thing but he may be a casualty of a line up shakedown if De Los Cobos continues the Conde at d-mid experiment.  He may move to right back, as we saw today but that will provide little support from that side.

M Baggio Husidic (5) - Provided the dangerous cross which resulted in Hejduk's own goal.  Had a few opportunities to place a shot on frame but failed to so so.  Changed position in the midfield throughout the match.  Played next to Pause at times but also came forward at times while Banner played next to Pause. 

M Mike Banner (5) - Provided a pass to Nyarko in the 65th minute that could have been converted but wasn't.  If Mike Banner is a regular starter for the rest of this season, the Fire are in serious trouble.  Banner provides the effort but he is realistically not more than a substitute flank midfielder and certainly not a central midfielder.

Patrick Nyarko (5) - Continues to be involved in dangerous opportunities but his inability to finish is maddening.  He's been excellent all year but consistently missing the net will ensure that the team will have no worries about Nyarko departing for greener pastures when his contract expires.  His shot wide in the 74th minute after a Pappa back pass sums it up. 

Brian McBride (4) - He's receiving absoultely no service of even minimal quality but the Fire's marquee forward provided one shot taken (which was off the mark) for the entire match before being subbed out for Stefan Dimitrov in the 86th minute.  That, in and of itself speaks volumes.

Kwame Watson-Siriboe (5) - Came on in the 84th minute for Robinson in a bit of a puzzling substitution.  If you're making a move to supplement the attack, why change a defender for a defender?  Conde was moved foward as a result.  A more sensible move might have been the insertion of Corben Bone for Pause or a defender.

Stefan Dimitrov (4) - Came in late for McBride.  The Fire are woefully lacking at the forward position.

As a whole I've graded most players with a 5 since the effort was not terrible but it also was not impressive.  A 5 marks the middle of the road, which is where this team stands at the moment.  Not good enough to seriously challenge but also not bad enough to be terrible.  (For an example of terrible...please see New England Revolution).

De Los Cobos post match comments

"Many times we learn by making big mistakes.  We made two big mistakes in defense and many in attacking, because we had the options.  It's very hard and difficult to win that way.  I am sad for my players because they made a big effort, but to win we have to leave everything on the field and not make little errors."

Next Match

The Fire's next match is Thusday night at home against the defending MLS Cup champions, Real Salt Lake.  RSL demolished the Revolution 5-0 on Friday night. 

What Now?

The Fire is in desperate need of help at foward and the need for a true central midfielder is still a glaring one.  Jeremiah White's trial is apparently over and a contract will not be offered.  Julio Martinez' vacated roster spot may be filled by Bratislav Ristic but that's not exactly the type of move that will excite anyone.  Frank Klopas needs to address the team's needs by the time the transfer window opens on July 15.

If a player capable of making a major impact is not added to the squad this team will struggle to compete for the eigth and final playoff spot due to the strength of the Western Conference.  It's painfully obvious that the side as constituted is not good enough to defeat the better teams in MLS.  The season still has not reached the half way point so there is still time....but the clock is ticking. 





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  • When is the Q and A session with Frank Klopas supposed to schedule? The last two seasons it was around this time. They have to get an impact player or two for this team, Brian McBride is on his last legs and they don't have a impact player at the midfield that can create plays. Dimitrov, Banner and Umanzor...BAD!!!! John Thorrington has been killing team with his injuries and Collins John is starting to look more like the young version of Paulo Wanchope. Justin Mapp....well it's Justin Mapp, a head scratcher.

  • Haha. Klopas is such a genius...In Klopass we trust. Way to drive the franchise into the ground you blow hard. Wait, let me guess, This is a rebuilding year? Too bad all the high quality talent signed last off season sucks and it doesn't look like they will be around to be part of nect season.

    Great game plan thus far though, truly world clASS.

  • seems like they want to be a homerun type club with nobody capable of hitting homers....wont work, and it isnt....

  • how do you fix the problem with the players we have? or can u? or maybe we will get hot in time to make the playoffs and make a run. once you're in the playoffs its anyones game,,,,as long as you're streakin....i want to feel like we can beat anyone anytime....ahhhh,,,im also a cubs fan,,,forever wishing....wish we would have made a run at the open cup...guess it was only important to me....

  • In reply to bert:

    I think it's possible for the club to make a nice run and get in the playoffs. I just can't see how they advance very far with this roster if they get in. Real Salt Lake had some real talent on that squad even though they squeaked in.

    Oh...and Real Salt Lake can actually make penalty kicks.

  • In reply to cesba:

    Last year at this point, 13 games into the season, we were 5-2-6 with 20 goals scored and 17 goals allowed. With Busch in net. Now we are 4-4-5 with 18 goals scored and 18 allowed. With Dykstra. There isn't much of a difference in the teams from then to now. I know Rolfe and Segares were here and they are both good players but Krol is doing just fine in the back and Nyarko is doing more than Rolfe did on the wing this year. Rolfe was not a winger and didn't look comfortable out there. The only thing we really lost was a 37 year old attacking player that slowed us completely down. I would rather have Mapp in Blanco's role than Blanco.

    "Real Salt Lake had some real talent on that squad even though they squeaked in."

    That is you saying we don't have "real talent" on this squad right? I think that it is funny how all of a sudden we have no talent and we need A LOT of help in the transfer window to hopefully make the playoffs when there is more than half of the season left. There are 17 games left...

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    The Fire has some talent....just not talent capable of winning a championship. If you compare them to RSL, it's pretty evident.
    The Western conference is too good to sit pat and hope that the playoffs can be reached with no major additions. New York is also set to improve their roster.

    This team is good enough to compete for a playoff spot but not a whole lot more at the moment.

  • In reply to cesba:

    I still don't think the Fire will make the playoffs this year. Has anyone heard any rumors of new players coming in, not anyone that would make much of an impact. Fire will get beaten 4-1 on Thurdays. And it really hurts me to say that. Seems to me CDLC only wants to win SuperLiga and nothing else...

  • In reply to cesba:

    It seems like the Fire's administration is too accepting of the current situation. The Fire were a team that was in the competition for first place in the Conferance and the Supporter's Shield. Now we are struggling to make the last playoff spot. In the last five meetings the Fire have been able to tie and often outplay the Crew who won the Supporter's Shield in both those years and an MLS Cup. As Frankie Hejduk kindly pointed out the Crew easily beat the Fire. This symbolizes (at least, and hopefuly for, the short term) that Chicago is no longer a major player in MLS. I don't know how it could be done but the Fire need to re-establish themselves as a top MLS club before the likes of LA, New York, and Seattle become too strong to catch up to. With the financial restrictions on MLS clubs constantly being loosenned I think a "Big Four" ,of sourts, will soon be established. The Fire need to improve exponentially if they are to be a part of that. That improvement could start with a win over the "MLS champs".

  • In reply to fire1020:

    Well put. That starts with getting a top-class player. We need to get someone who could be among the best in MLS. We have two open DP spots, let's get a midfielder and a striker. As a fan, I demand the attacking soccer I was promised this offseason.

  • In reply to patrickhattrick:

    After the Philadelphia game, DLC said he was happy with playing defensively as long as the Fire win. After hearing that, I haven't been expecting any attacking soccer. Blanco would definately help the team, but he isn't worth DP money.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Joe: I cannot wait until if and when we get blanco back and your ridiculous comparison of Mapp to Blanco will be torn apart.

    When this day comes i will be a happy Fire fan lol.

    So let's just wait and see.

    I hope we will able to finish vs RSL otherwise we are in trouble.

    I completely agree with guillermo, the minimal talent we have is nowhere near enough to compete for the championship. When next year comes, a lot of moves will be made.

  • In reply to jking:

    Blanco coming here would be terrible for our team on the field. He doesn't bring anything to the field anymore. He is 37 years old and hasn't had a break in 2 years. Nobody wants him in Mexico so he wants to come here for another big pay day. I dont understand what you think he could bring to the team. He doesnt score goals from the run of play. His corners and free kicks are not good and he plays so slow.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    A little nugget in the Mex. City paper, Reforma today says that Blanco is wanting to come back to the Fire.

    They reported that Veracruz doesn't want to pay him.

  • In reply to Roti2000:

    Are you saying that if we were able to get Blanco at a cheaper price out of DP territory, that you still wouldn't want him back.

    You truly don't think that he can help this team at all in the stage were in?

  • In reply to jking:

    Him taking less than DP money will never happen. It's that simple. That would mean he would be coming here for less than 400k. Do you truly think he would do that. That would mean the most selfish player ever would be here to try and help the team and not for a pay day.

  • In reply to Roti2000:

    Veracruz is a 2nd division team if I'm not mistaken, right? That would mean a 2nd division team doesn't want him. Everyone was complaining when Klopas was looking at a 2nd division Greek player a month or so ago...

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Great points, Joe...especially the team's record comparisons...The funny part is that Bushy with all his years of experience doesn't look but one goal allowed difference than the new kid who's only got 13 live MLS games experience..the facts don't lie!

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