Sounders 2 Fire 1 - Game Recap and Player Ratings

A difficult loss after what probably should have been a hard earned road point will be difficult to get over especially since the Fire did not play badly for most of the match.  Unfortunately another inexcusable defensive lapse results in an empty handed road trip. 

Making matters worse, Freddie Ljungberg will miss the next match against Los Angeles due to yellow card accumulation and the Kansas City Wizards have leap frogged the Fire in the playoff race by virtue of their 2-0 win in LA. Kansas City now on 26 points is two points ahead of the Fire's 24.  Colorado and San Jose currently hold the 7th and 8th playoff spots with 31 and 29 points respectively. 

The Fire were recipients of a questionable handball call on Jeff Parke in the 28th minute but allowed Fredy Montero free reign to tie the match in the 36th minute.  A perfectly placed ball from Tyson Wahl allowed Montero to beat Gonzalo Segares and Krzysztof Krol to the front of Sean Johnson's goal.  The score line held up until the 91st minute when Montero was left completely unmarked at the far post after a perfect ball from Nathan Sturgis.  How one of the top scorers in the league can be left alone at that point in the match is incomprehensible. 

Player Ratings

GK Sean Johnson (5) - Johnson seemed to struggle on several low crosses and set pieces although he did come up with two nice saves on Montero.  Taking charge on balls like the one that resulted in the game winner is something that will need to come with time and experience. 

D Steve Kinney (5) - Kinney played well for most of the match up until getting suckered inside and leaving Montero completely unmarked at the far post for an easy game winning header.  The mistake was unfortunate since he was solid defensively throughout and also provided support going forward. 

D Krzyzstof Krol (5) - Played a decent game a left back.  He could have done better to deter Montero on the first goal but it's difficult to fault him on that chance.  Struggles to maintain possesion in the offensive end. 

D Gonzalo Segares (5) - Mixed results from Segares in his first Fire match at center back.  Got caught too far upfield and had to chase to get back late on Montero's first goal. 

D CJ Brown (6) - Brown was very active throughout the match clearing dangerous balls out of the area and challenging every opponent in sight. 

M Patrick Nyarko (5) - His run and attempted pass resulted in the handball call which led to the only goal.  Some activity on the ball but not much resulting in terms of dangerous chances for himself or teammates. 

M Logan Pause (5) - A decent effort from Pause but Montero did get free for one too many chances throughout.  Alonso and Sturgis didn't provide much in the final third but they seldom do. At one point early in the second half he killed an attack with two consecutive back passes. 

M Baggio Husidic (5) - Seemed to be lost on the decisive play of the match.  Husidic played on the right side for most of the match after playing centrally with Pause for most of the season.  He lacks the pace to adequately play a wing position in MLS. 

M John Thorrington (5) - Converted the PK for the Fire's only tally of the night.  Played well if unspectacularly in the middle in tandem with Pause. 

F Freddie Ljungberg (6) - Once again the best field player on the pitch for the Fire.  Seattle did well to surround him in an attempt to limit his chances but I would like to see him try to get a ball on goal once in a while. 

F Collins John (4) - Very little in terms of chances or opportunities in the final third.  His only shot on goal was an off balance header from a corner kick in the 85th minute that was handled easily by Keller.  John needs to step it up and step it up quickly.

M Calen Carr (NR) - Carr came on in the 85th minute for Nyarko.  The substitution should have been for John in the 65th or 70th minute.  He was inserted into the match far too late to make any discernable difference. 

The substitutions or lack thereof where very questionable considering it was fairly apparent to all watching that the Fire needed to stretch the defense in order to keep Seattle from surrounding Ljungberg and crowding Nyarko.  Carr should have been called into action earlier and Marco Pappa should have seen the field at some point if he was healthy enough to be in the 18. 

Next Match

Los Angeles is struggling after another home defeat.  This time at the hands of the offensively challenged Kansas City Wizards.  The Fire have several winnable matches ahead but dropping points late, as they have done the last two weeks will surely make things exponentially more difficult. 

Ljungberg will miss the Galaxy match making Nery Castillo's struggle with fitness even more pressing.  Castillo will likely fill the withdrawn forward role if he is able to start next weekend. 

 

Comments

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  • I think you're being very generous to Baggio and Krzysztof, both of whom had pretty bad games in my opinion.

  • Perhaps those of you in Chicago will soon understand why Ljungberg was dealt to you. He doesn't score anymore, and is lucky to get any assists. He's all flash and no substance.

    In the goal dot com review of the match, Montero was Man of the Match. They said Ljungberg was Flop of the Match.

    Hard to argue with that. For a DP he sure doesn't have many goals.

  • In reply to albinosounder:

    Flop of the match should have been the awful marking that allowed Montero a free header in added time and the refusal to stretch the field with another player who could get wide. Calling Ljungberg a flop last night is easy since the Fire lost.....but it would be incorrect.

  • In reply to albinosounder:

    The Fire will need at least 16 points to qualify for the playoffs, finishing third in the east is doable, but they still have to finish ahead of either Colorado or San Jose in the west, this may be more difficult with only 11 games to go. Think you over-rated several players, Baggio
    is very inconsistent and should have shown more improvement by this time, but generally that could be said for most of the Fire players. Several weeks ago, there was a lot of comment about the Fire having the best roster in the league. Any team that has Banner starting or as a prime substitute does not have the strongest team.
    If the Fire had the current roster at the beginning of the season, they would have been one of the top picks for the championship, even with their opening roster, the Fire was considered to be easily
    one of the top six team. Part of the problem, is that the front office was slow to react to injuries and
    deficits with the roster then trying to improve but getting players at the cheapest possible cost
    .
    But the biggest deficit for the team is De Los Moron who has shown a constant failure to know who the best players on the team are and how to correctly utilize them on the field.
    Hopefully, the Fire would have shown more improvement as the season has progressed but alas they
    still display the same mistakes and errors as in the past.
    At this time the Fire don't deserve a playoff spot based on their play.
    What does Real Salt Lake have (the most improved team) that the Fire doesn't. No big name players,
    a lower budget, a lineup, while not having the big names, is solid top to bottom without being thrown off by injuries, a smart, intelligent front office, and a fine coach.
    If the Fire had either Osorio or Jesse Marsch as coach the team would have played with more discipline and intelligence

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    Osorio got run out of New York for some of the same things that people don't like about De Los Cobos. Constant tinkering with the line up, lack of discipline, and some questionable acquisitions were the trademark of the JCO era in New York.
    Jesse Marsch retired during the off season so we don't know what type of coach he's going to be yet.

  • In reply to cesba:

    The bad part about firing a coach is the players have to adapt from one system to another. For example, if the Fire dismiss De Los Cobos, that means the team has gone through 4 coaches in a four year span. That spells trouble. It is not like the Fire don't have players and De Los Cobos has to realize that he has to put his best eleven out there in order to make the run for the playoffs. Klopas is doing everything he can to get the best players that puts them in championship contention. De Los Cobos's job is to utilize those players properly that gives them the best chance to win. As for Osorio in New York, it was a complete mess; tinkering the lineup (which I hate in any sport), bad coaching, bad players and horrendous front office. Osorio had some experience with MLS as an assistant and DLC never had any kind of resume of MLS coaching til this year. As for yesterday game with one sub still puzzles me and I was screaming at the TV set. Frustrating team to watch at this point.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    When I looked at the Fire's playoff possibilities a few weeks ago I thought the NE, Hou, and Seattle games would result in a 1-1-1 record.
    http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-fire-confidential/2010/08/what-will-it-take-to-make-the-mls-playoffs.html
    There is still time to make a move since Colorado plays RSL twice, the Red Bulls in New York, while also travelling to LA and Dallas. San Jose has an easier slate so the September 29 match in California is critical for the Fire.

  • In reply to cesba:

    so from that original prediction we have only lost a point (either the point was lost in houston or seattle, doesnt matter which, both games were lost in late minutes)

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    The Houston game was the lost point in terms of the predictions but any time you blow points after battling for 90 minutes it's very frustrating.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    Definately not Osorio. it would be interesting to try Marsch.

  • In reply to fire1020:

    He's currently part of Bob Bradley's USMNT staff. I think he will be a head coach at some point.

  • In reply to cesba:

    I heard Bradley's name for the coaching spot with Aston Villa.

  • In reply to longoria3:

    As for Marsch, he needs a couple of years experience behind the bench as an assistant to be a coaching candidate at some point in the near future.

  • In reply to fire1020:

    The last several games have been extremely frustrating in that the losses can be primarily attributed to a startling lack of focus at the most critical times -- set pieces and end of halves. For this both the coach and the team leaders like CJ, McBride, Conde, Pause must bear their share of the blame. During the game the on-field leaders need to step up at critical moments. Off the field, in the locker room and during practice CDLC needs to figure out how to communicate and motivate this team. Is the language barrier becoming a problem?? Regarding CDLC's performance I am beginning to feel that he has failed to completely leave behind the National Team coach's mentality. His tinkering with the lineup reminds me of MNT coaches who aren't really worried about individual games but are looking to learn all of his players' capabilities with the eventual goal of assembling the perfect team for some FUTURE tournament. For example, last night: why tinker with the Pause - Husidic combo when he already had a suspect back line. Let Thorington play out of position to run himself into match shape!
    I was and am very happy with CDLC's emphasis on creative soccer but that type of game depends on players being familiar and comfortable with the people around them. Right now when they look around they have no idea who to expect to be there!!!
    As an aside -- it's time for Collins John to go.

  • In reply to shortpasses:

    The language thing is a non issue. De Los Cobos actually speaks pretty good english.
    You make a good point about the national team mentallity although I believe that it takes up to a year before a coach can fully implement his vision and players become accustomed to carrying out that system.
    For example, it took Schellas Hyndman roughly one year of changes, additions, and tinkering before FC Dallas started to mesh about half way through last season.

  • In reply to cesba:

    Didn't mean to leave the impression that I've given up on CDLC -- far from it but some of his recent lineups leave me scratching my head. GR--your comment about his English was good news. It seems that the only interviews I've seen are with him using an interpreter.
    Actually it was good to see you and longoria3 willing to hang in for the long haul. Thought it was a good idea to leave Nery at home to pursue his conditioning.

  • In reply to shortpasses:

    I agree with you with Collins John....it is time to pull the plug on him. When the Fire had him on trial, I compared him to a young Wanchope. The Fire was the busiest team in the offseason last year and don't be surprised that they will be active after this season. If they miss the playoffs so be it. I give Carlos De Los Cobos another year to judge him if he is the right man to coach this team. Look at the Galaxy, they hired Bruce Arena and he brought his players to fit in his system and it took half of 2008 and the first half of last year to click. Good point about Shellas Hyndman coming from the college ranks and even Sigi Schimd came to Columbus and they did not make the playoffs in 2006 and 2007 before finally winning a MLS Cup Championship in 2008.

  • In reply to albinosounder:

    Hard to witness that debacle last night. It felt like we were absorbing one attack after another with an inevitable result to follow. Worse yet, we're going to be without Ljungberg on Saturday. Thankfully the Galaxy are a a downward spiral after starting the season strongly.

    This season has been a good education for CDLC on how fast and physical MLS is and how suspect our USSF referees can be. Not sure he'll be touting "attractive soccer" during this off-season as much as speed, ball control and aggressiveness.

  • In reply to fireman451:

    You could feel something bad was going to happen if substitutions weren't made. Making the first sub in the 85th minute was way too late.

  • In reply to albinosounder:

    Stats don't determine how good play, this isn't baseball. Ljungberg has been by far the best player and hardest worker since he has been here. He's played a big part in pretty much every goal we've scored since he has been here, aside from the penalty.

  • I'm slowly losing faith in this team. Two early balls in the box for them and two goals. Giving the ball away really hurt us last night. Johnson play OK but looks to distribute way to quickly. There are times when playing quick is good but there are also time when you need to bomb the ball to the other side to relieve some pressure. Playing the ball to Baggio's feet when we have 7 guys behind him is not a smart move. Playing the ball to Kinney with a forward running 10 yards away is asking for trouble. Such a disappointing result.

  • I didn't like this line up. Thor and Pause ran into each other like 5 times. Baggio is not Pappa and looked confused in that position. Freddie was covered real well could do anything. I don't blame John for his performance I don't remember him even having the ball once going forward. We really need to be 4-4-2. I also don't understand CDLC one game he makes quick subs other game last minute. Make your subs at 65,75, and 85. Fire will not make the playoffs. I said it early in the year and I'm saying it again.

  • In reply to Adam25:

    Definately agree with switching to a 4-4-2. With our current formation the forward is always too isolated by defenders.

  • It was a pretty good match in terms of atmosphere and intensity because it got pretty chippy on the pitch. The quality in the final third for the Fire was certainly lacking though.
    I'm sure Chris will address the question.

  • In reply to cesba:

    dj, you were watching the same game - but I wasn't speaking from a fan's perspective except for the fact that I was hopeful for more from my FIRE.

    Chicago never stopped playing for the win but Seattle, to their credit, found a way after nearly 48 minutes (regulation and added time).

    The energy and commitment from the players on both sides was quite entertaining for fans of the game.

  • until the final 15 minutes or so, there was quite a lot of back and forth running up & down the pitch from both teams. seemed the fire ran outta gas the late minutes and seattle put forth the pressure. i thought it was exciting good soccer to watch until late. but then we've seen chicago fold late a few too many times this season :(

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    That's why I thought the Carr substitution came too late. A front runner to stretch Seattle's tight marking should have come sooner.

  • the biggest kick in the nuts for me about the seattle game is the yellow card on ljungberg. i was going to my first chicago league match next weekend and now ljungberg will miss the game :(

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    Yeah....and on a particularly poor call to boot.

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    I feel some of the comments about Jesse Marsch's ability to be head coach of the Fire are mis-guided.
    Lack of experience, I doubt it. He's more qualified to be head coach of the Fire than was Jason Kries( who is doing a superior job) was when he became head coach of Real Salt Lake.
    He has been studying under Bob Bradley since his college days, played for several years under Preki,
    and played along Peter Nowak while at the Fire. It's no wonder that Bradley picked him up to be assistant coach. Jesse wasn't overly talented, but thrived on smarts and hustle.
    One time I attended a Fire function and there were several younger players clowning around, then
    Jesse walked in. The effect was immediate, the players straightened up, knocked off the silliness,
    and all came up to greet him. That is the meaning of respect and discipline.
    When the opening for head coach came up and when some suggested Jesse as coach, others were wondering why.
    Apparently, they haven't been following the Fire for a long while, or they haven't been paying attention.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    Misguided? I don't think so, hiring a coach with no coaching experience is a legitimate concern. RSL hiring Kries was a gamble that paid off although they weren't very good for the first year and a half after he took over (see trend discussed above).
    There's no doubt Marsch is going to be a head coach at some point but bringing him in with a mostly veteran group would have been a question mark. Not saying he wouldn't do a good job, just saying it would have been questionable.

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