The Fire outplayed the MLS Cup champions for the better part of the match but came away empty handed again due to one of the familiar themes that have plagued the team so far this season.....an inability to finish. Incredibly, Steve Kinney provided the Fire's best chances to score while hitting the post twice in the second half.
The insertion of Brian McBride and Justin Mapp to start the second half seemed to energize the team offensively as the Fire controlled the run of play for a majority of the final 45 minutes. Mapp replaced Mike Banner on the left wing while Banner moved to the holding midfield spot next to Wilman Conde. Baggio Husidic assumed the central attacking midfield position due to line up shifting caused by the various injuries the team is currently nursing.
"The second half the team played better when Brian and Justin Mapp arrived on the field. I think the team changed in possesion and control of the game" said De Los Cobos "We had two or three clear options (chances) but we didn't take advantage".
You can listen to the entire De Los Cobos post game press conference here.
The first half was fairly evenly played as neither team was particularly dangerous until Robbie Findley rattled the post in the 38th minute. One minute later Findley attempted a run into the box which was challenged by CJ Brown. Brown made some shoulder contact with Findley while lunging to defend Findley's charge. Brown's lunge missed Findley's foot but the RSL forward tripped himself as he tried to jump over Brown's challenge. Terry Vaughn, as he is accustomed to doing, blew the whistle and proceeded to make an incorrect call for the spot.
GK Andrew Dykstra (6) - Played a more sure handed match than some of his earlier efforts. Managed to provide two saves. Cut off a late second half charge from Findley that could have resulted in a more dangerous RSL opportunity if Findley had not dribbled himself out of position to shoot.
D Steven Kinney (7) - Was the Fire's best player all night providing excellent support while tracking back dutifully. Provided chances on crosses/passes as well (19th, 29th, 71st minutes). Hit the post with headers in the 48th and 57th minutes. Tim Ward and Dasan Robinson may not get the right back spot again any time soon.
D Krzyzstof Krol (5) - Decent effort. Provided one cross to McBride in the 73rd minute which resulted in a missed shot on goal.
D Kwame Watson-Siriboe (5) - Another rookie defender with a solid effort. Saborio and Findley were not particularly dangerous for most of the match.
D CJ Brown (6) - Questioned the team's attitude earlier in the week and came through with an excellent effort although he was victimized by a very questionable foul call leading to the penalty kick.
M Marco Pappa (5) - Not many opportunities for Pappa although he tried to force several trademark long bombs which were not on target.
M Wilman Conde (5) - Conde seems fairly comfortable pushing the attack from the defensive midfield spot. He was active while the defense played well behind him.
M Logan Pause (5) - Was substituted at halftime in favor of a more offensive approach. Did reasonably well against Morales while he was in the match.
M Baggio Husidic (4) - Played the central attacking midfield role out of necessity but it's not a position he looks comfortable in. Shot a header wide in the 19th minute and whiffed on a clear look at goal in the 48th. The pass in the 48th minute was received from Steven Kinney.
M Mike Banner (4) - Provided the corner kicks that enabled Kinney to hit the post on two headers. Passed up opportunities to attack the goal instead choosing to dribble against multiple defenders. Moved to the defensive midfield spot next to Conde when Mapp entered the match at halftime.
F Stefan Dimitrov (4) - Not much accomplished during the first 45 minutes before being subbed out for McBride.
F Brian McBride (5) - The energy of the team seemed to pick up with the addition of McBride and Mapp although McBride only had one real scoring chance, a header wide in in the 73rd.
M Justin Mapp (5) - Was better than Banner on the left side and provided more controlled possesion enabling the Fire to get forward in the second half.
M Corben Bone (5) - Came on for Baggio Husidic in the 85th minute, which was much too late to provide much of an impact.
The Fire do not play another MLS match until August 1 in Los Angeles. The remainder of the month of July features three SuperLiga matches against Monarcas, New England, and Pumas.
I'm sure that I'm not the only person that feels this way, but the local media's incessant, disgustingly hopeless fawning, and eventually fruitless speculation regarding the possibility of Lebron James coming to Chicago made me as a Bulls fan actually root for James to sign anywhere but Chicago.
The Sun Times for one provided over the top, daily senseless pages of speculation that resulted in much to do about absolutely nothing.
On 670am last week it was revealed that one of the hosts, Jason Goff, was rooting for Ghana to defeat the United States in World Cup play. Not out of any sense of fandom for Ghana mind you but rather just so people could stop talking about soccer.
Enjoy the Carlos Boozer era Jason.