Half way through the 2010 MLS season the Fire are sitting in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with a 5-5-5 record. They have scored 21 goals and allowed the exact same amount. There have been some dreadful results (a 4-1 loss in Toronto being the worst), some impressive performances (back to back 2-0 wins in April), and a glimmer of hope for the second half of the season in Sunday's 3-2 win in Los Angeles. At the midway point the Fire haven't been very good but then again, they haven't been really bad either. A picture of MLS parity.
If the playoffs were to start today the Fire would be left on the outside looking in. The good news is that they have played the fewest amount of matches in the league and hold a games in hand advantage of 2 or 3 in comparison to most of their competition for playoff spots. The additions of Nery Castillo and Freddie Ljungberg along with the return of ailing/injured players should provide an interesting and entertaining second half.
In review of the first half I've added the total numerical rating for each player given after each match to come up with a total average rating number for the first half. These are the results:
Not surprisingly most players have averaged out at right around a 5, or the middle grade available. This reflects the team's up and down, middle of the road first half of the season. The disasters known as the US Open Cup, Sister Cities Tournament, and SuperLiga are not included in the numbers.
Sean Johnson - Average Rating 8.0 (8 pts/1 gp)
Okay so this is a bit deceiving because he's only been rated on one game, but it was a good one.
Marco Pappa - Average Rating 6.1 (92 pts/15 gp)
The Fire's All Star starter earned the highest rating and not coincidentally leads the team with seven goals and four assists.
Patrick Nyarko - Average Rating 6.0 (84 pts/14 gp)
The team leader in assisrs with seven, Nyarko has been excellent all season. If only he could finish.
Steve Kinney - Average Rating 6.0 (12 pts/2 gp)
Has only played in two MLS regular season matches but his game against Real Salt Lake placed him near the top of ratings.
Wilman Conde - Average Rating 5.6 (78 pts/14 gp)
He's had some ups and downs but he's still the Fire's best defender.
CJ Brown - Average Rating 5.5 (82 pts/15 gp)
The team leader has been pretty solid throughout.
Brian McBride - Average Rating 5.5 (77 pts/14 gp)
Only 4 goals through the first half is a tough start. Hopefully the new additions will result in a goal spike for McBride since he may actually get some service.
Krzyzstof Krol - Average Rating 5.4 (70 pts/13 gp)
He's been steady if unspectacular. Not as good as Gonzalo Segares but has proven to be a decent pick up.
Andrew Dykstra - Average Rating 5.4 (75 pts/14 gp)
Appeared shaky and uncertain in some games and decent in others. He may not get another chance to increase his rating after Johnson's performance in LA.
Baggio Husidic - Average Rating 5.3 (79 pts/15 gp)
The second year player has been commendable scoring three goals along the way.
Justin Mapp - Average Rating 5.3 (53 pts/10 gp)
Mapp actually played fairly well when called upon. He just never did as well as you thought he could.
Dasan Robinson - Average Rating 5.3 (42 pts/8 gp)
Not much more than a back up defender at this point. Ward and Kinney should be ahead of him on the depth chart at right back.
Logan Pause - Average Rating 5.2 (57 pts/11 gp)
Got off to a tough start but has bounced back after missing four matches to play pretty solidly. He's even completed some forward passes.
Collins John - Average Rating 5.1 (51 pts/10 gp)
Looked dangerous in the first two matches of the year then struggled with an illness which caused a dip in form. The goal against LA provided a glimpse of the the player the Fire thought they were getting.
Peter Lowry - Average Rating 5.0 (50 pts/10 gp)
Another youngster who can be a solid MLS bench support player.
Kwame Watson-Siriboe - Average Rating 5.0 (15 pts/5 gp)
The Fire seem to have high hopes for the rookie center back.
Freddie Ljungberg - Average Rating 5.0 (5 pts/1 gp)
Didn't do much in his first appearance for the club but he will need to play a big role if the team is going to be successful in the second half of the season.
Tim Ward - Average Rating 4.8 (29 pts/6 gp)
Injured for most of the first half, his rating was damaged by awful games against Toronto and San Jose. He'll have trouble holding down the starting spot ahead of Kinney.
Mike Banner - Average Rating 4.8 (58 pts/12 gp)
Injuries have necessitated more playing time for Banner than most would like to see but he's hustled when called upon which explains why De Los Cobos has called his number so often.
Deris Umanzor - Average Rating 4.8 (24 pts/5 gp)
Struggled at left back when called upon but impressed in midfield during SuperLiga play.
Julio Martinez - Average Rating 4.7 (14 pts/3 gp)
Actually started on opening day but was yanked promptly at half time. Gone and forgetten.
Corben Bone - Average Rating 4.5 (9 pts/2 gp)
The first round pick will find minutes hard to come by with Castillo and Ljungberg on the roster.
Stefan Dimitrov - Average Rating 4.4 (22 pts/5 gp)
Will sit behind McBride, John, and Castillo at the forward spot. Thankfully.
Carlos De Los Cobos
De Los Cobos has done a decent job considering the amount of injuries and issues handed to him in his first MLS season. Of course, his line-up and formation juggling has contributed to some of that but it does take time to establish consistency and confidence in football. De Los Cobos' true test will come in his ability to mesh the new additions with the established performers like Pappa and Nyarko. There was alot made of the promise to bring an "attacking and attractive" style of football to the organization. Castillo, Ljungberg, Pappa, Nyarko, John, McBride, and Conde is a pretty solid MLS foundation on paper which should help bring that promise to fruition.
The first test of the second half is a big one against a New York side that now boasts three designated players. Three points will go a long way towards instilling confidence going forward.