Fire 1 Galaxy 1 - Game Recap and Player Ratings



Another day, another late gut punch goal.  This time the Fire can take some solace in knowing that they played 70 minutes down a man against one of the top sides in MLS and even took the lead in the 88th minute on a fantastically taken Collins John free kick. 

Unfortunately, Omar Gonzalez' header in extra time continued the frustrating tendency to allow late goals making a playoff push even more difficult.  However, unlike previous instances this goal was not the result of bad or careless marking.  Gonzalez' header came from another corner kick but he was not blatantly left alone unmarked as was the case in some of the other late goal disappointments.  Gonzalez was the recipient of a perfectly placed ball from Landon Donovan.  The 6'-5" defender rose high above Wilman Conde and placed the ball perfectly into the net.  Conde was in front of him, but this was the case of an all-star defender simply providing an all-star effort.  Unfortunate for the Fire since picking up three points while a man down against Los Angeles would have been a fine result. 

As it stands, another late goal turned celebration into frustration and makes Wednesday's match against Toronto FC an absoulte, must-have three point effort. 

Player Ratings

GK Sean Johnson (8) - Another impressive game from the rookie keeper.  The highlight of the match for Johnson was a first half penalty kick stop against Landon Donovan.  He also had a late save on Sean Franklin's 92nd minute shot.  Registered seven total saves.

D Gonzalo Segares (5) - Played 20 solid minutes before being shown a straight red card for a purported elbow against Leonardo in the box.  The ejection came after Segares got his arm up high from behind against the Galaxy defender in front of referee Mark Geiger.  Leonardo appeared to resort to a bit of play acting but Segares did appear to make some contact with his arm or hand.  The foul could easily have been overlooked but I can also see where Geiger may have seen an elbow or swipe worthy of a foul.  The red card call was a bit much.

D Wilman Conde (6) - Was all over the field defensively shutting down LA passing lanes and attacks in an effort more reminiscent of the play that has earned him two all star game nods.  The match tying goal is hard to pin on any one Fire defender since it was the result of a fine individual effort but Conde was the defender marking Gonzalez.  Could have been a 7 if not for the goal.

D CJ Brown (6) - Solid again.  The Galaxy had few clear chances in the box as the Fire did well to limit Edson Buddle's looks on goal.  Donovan had an open header chance in the 39th minute that went wide. 

D Steven Kinney (6) - The entire Fire defense played well especially considering they were forced to play a man down for most of the match.  Alex Cazumba only had one dangerous play against Kinney, a cross in the 39th which resulted in the aforementioned Donovan header.

M Logan Pause (6) - Donovan didn't have much space to run at defenders since the Fire dropped back defensively after the red card, some of that can be attributed to the Pause-Thorrington combination in central midfield.

M John Thorrington (6) - Had a good look at goal which sailed high in the 26th minute.  Provided a good chance from a free kick in the 70th minute and drew the fould which led to John's goal.  Pause and Thorrington are the Fire's best central midfield combination so it will be interesting to see where Thorrington fits in with Ljungberg and Castillo both on the pitch at the same time. 

M Patrick Nyarko (6) - Provided some spark early but trailed off in the second half as the Fire were forced to compensate for the loss of their left back.  The Fire need Nyarko to regain his early season form quickly.   

M Mike Banner (6) - Dropped back from left mid to left back after the red card.  Moved back up to left mid after Krol entered the match in the second half. 

F Nery Castillo (6) - Started the match at the withdrawn forward spot but was forced to left mid after Segares' ejection.  Provided some brief glimpses of what the team was expecting while dribbling through defenders early.  Castillo needs to be more attentive to the offsides position.  Forced a diving Rickett's save from a free kick in the 53 minute.  Probably Castillo's best effort in a Fire shirt so far, which isn't saying a whole lot. 

F Brian McBride (6) - Did well tracking back as always but missed an open header in the 70th minute which probably could have been put away.

M Calen Carr (5) - Came on in the 69th minute for Castillo but didn't provide the spark that he had in previous matches.  Not a whole lot of touches but not bad considering the circumstances.  Moved to the lone forward spot briefly when McBride was subbed out. 

D Krzyzstof Krol (6) - Entered the match in the 77th minute as a sub for McBride and did well defending Bryan Jordan.  Also provided the initial pass which resulted in John's goal. 

F Collins John (7) - Entered the match in the 82nd minute for Patrick Nyarko and made an almost immediate impact with a beautiful free kick goal in the 88th minute giving the Fire a brief lead and a chance to gain all three points.  Had another chance before the whistle blew but the Galaxy defense closed it down.

 Next Match

The Fire host Toronto FC on Wednesday night.  Toronto is terrible on the road and were blanked by FC Dallas this weekend. 

Comcast Telecast

I thought Dan Kelly and Chris Doran were excellent today but Jen Patterson started the post game interview with CJ Brown by commenting on the Fire's "tough loss".  Brown immediately corrected her by exclaiming "Tie!". 

Once again the previously promised half hour post game show lasted 10 minutes.

De Los Cobos Post Game Press Conference

De Los Cobos addressed late goals, Nery Castillo's play, and Collins John.  Listen here.

Here's the Section 8 Tifo Display





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  • Something to note regarding TFC. They played without their internationals (DeRosario, DeGuzman, and Attakora) against FC Dallas but they will be back and available for the Fire match on Wednesday.

  • In reply to cesba:

    Also, Pappa and Ljungberg should return...(I don't count Umanzor in this conversation). Can't afford to waste 3 points in the standings.

  • In reply to longoria3:

    Guatemala has a game on Tuesday night so Pappa's availability on Wednesday night is up in the air.

  • In reply to cesba:

    So much for Pappa playing vs. Toronto FC. Like I said, Umanzor doesn't strike in this conversation despite his goal and assist for El Salvador. He is a nonfactor wearing the red and white; he is more of a role player that comes off the bench. Ljungberg coming back should bolster the Fire offense.

  • In reply to cesba:

    got a chance to watch the tivo of the game

    i still believe that there is little conde coulda done to stop the tying goal - he got rolled over, but he was there. it was just a great delivery and header. one of the few times conde isn't to blame for poor marking late in the game

    so IMO the biggest defensive lapse wasnt conde on the goal against, it was whoever the hell was sposed to be on the far post with pause when franklin made that last shot in injury time. pause was left to mark two galaxy players alone on the far post - terrible! this is the kinda stuff thats been costing the fire points all year.

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    That is a clear of example of the continuing problem.

  • In reply to longoria3:

    FYI...Umanzor went the full 90 for El Salvador yesterday and had an assist on their first goal.

    Honduras beat El Salvador 4-3.

  • Conde was defensing Donovan on the header in the first half. Sure he played well enough yesterday but his marking is terrible. He did not jump with Gonzales on the goal. Its injury time and you're up 1-0, you should be winning that head ball if you're a center back. The playoffs are looking further and further away right now. If we could defend at the end of matches we would have taken 7 points from Houston, Seattle and LA but instead we take 2. With those extra 5 points we are tied for 8th with a game in hand. Now we sit 5 points back in 11th place.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Joe...well said. The Fire playoff chances are fading more than you can expect if they can't put up W's. Conde marking was inexcusable and he got outmuscled and outjumped by Gonzalez. Segares red card was kind of a head scratcher and wasn't a happy camper. The worst part is San Jose has the final playoff spot and Jon Busch is the starting net minder...OUCH!!!

  • In reply to longoria3:

    Not for long...

  • In reply to RadioGonzo:

    Don't forget Joe Cannon broke his ankle so Wright could be trialing for the back up spot.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Unfortunately your math doesn't add up Joe.

    We were tied late in both the Houston and Seattle games before we gave up really late goals on corner kicks and ended up losing both matches respectively. We had a lead late against LA and ended up with a tie because we once again couldn't defend the corner kick late in the game.

    Bottom line: We could have earned 5 points in the last 3 games if we could only defend late corner kicks better, but we only came out with 1 point.

    You think the playoffs are looking further way? Well they're actually a little farther than you remember. :-(

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    We need to play and give 100% evey second of the game. It was very weak on Conde's part. Defend on one play and we have 3 points...

    John had a beautiful goal, I lost my voice yelling at the game over it. I think Sean Johnson should get a 9. The pk save was great, but the last second save in stoppage time was impressive. He was screened and still got a hand on it. McBride doesn't get a 6 in my opinion, again he didn't do anything he get's a 5.

    Thorrington should be higher too. He is an animal out there and it's great to see him and his competitive edge again, it was sorely missed. Go Thorr!

  • is the coach waiting too long to sub in players? or is it just me

  • Aside from Castillo and Segares, the whole team played incredibly well, with everbody playing their part wonderfully (Banner did really well on the left side defending). McBride should have finished that header, but he did a lot of defending by winning every corner kich or free kick into the area, as well as making a great tackle on donovan as he was ready to shoot at around the PK spot. I thought DLC made good sub desicions. Thorrington is just coming back from injury, but when your playnig with ten men it's a good thing to have midfielders who can defend. And, Conde's marking is atrocious.

  • In reply to fire1020:

    Maybe it was Conde that DLC was referring to in the post game press conference when he said some guys still don't know how to mark.

  • In reply to cesba:

    Conde is terrible at marking. I dont remember him really marking well before. His play usually made up for his terrible marking but its not this year. Everytime we give up a corner they usually win the head ball. Everytime we have a corner kick we usually lose the head ball. This is the most frustrating Fire squad I have ever watched...

  • In reply to cesba:

    i went to the game & had a blast despite teh result. was sitting near the latino section and those guys were awesome.

    didnt see the red card well from where i sat, but from the online replays it looked like a legit red to me. havent yet had the chance to watch the full game replay that i tivo'd yet

    great free kick by collins john. i remember a similar one he had earlier this year that just missed outside the far post, so i was actually expecting him to take it and put it on net.

    gonzalez coulda been called for a foul on his goal IMO. he barreled over conde and i've seen that often called as a foul. but if the shirts were reversed i obviously woulda been upset had a foul been called

    as much as i have been on banners case this year, i thought he did quite well when he dropped back to Left back. he didnt try to dribble himself out of trouble, he did the safe thing and kicked the ball back to keeper.

    2nd half chicago far outplayed LA for being down a man. the whole first half the ball was on teh section 8 side of the field and i expected i'd see more action on my side the 2nd half, but chicago really kept the ball off their defensive 3rd for the most part. was completely different from the 2nd half of the game in LA

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    Yeah..i got the feeling Collins John was gonna score before he took the free kick. Weird.

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    With Freddie fresh from missing Saturday's game I think the Fire can get three points on Wednesday night against Toronto FC. I still feel like the Fire are still trying to figure out their identity with all the new players. Unfortunately, the Fire don't have time to figure things out slowly with the playoffs steadily approaching. Bottom line - the Fire need to show up against Toronto.

  • In reply to johnmercy22:

    Wednesday night is a must win. A draw or a loss will seriously dampen any playoff hopes.

  • In reply to johnmercy22:

    You dont need to find your identity in the 85th min and beyond. 3 points or the playoffs are all but out of reach.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    They need to win TFC game and the Union game, then again, remember last time when the Fire had 2 games in a week with 3 days rest.

  • In reply to johnmercy22:

    So we talking about wed. game yet?

  • In reply to Adam25:

    Working on game preview. The Fire have no players listed on the injury report for once.

  • In reply to Adam25:

    need crucial 3 points

    otherwise kiss the playoffs goodbye

  • In reply to Adam25:

    sometimes i wonder who wants it more, the players or the fans?

  • In reply to Adam25:

    the difference is we cant do anything about it

  • In reply to cesba:

    On the Comcast telecast--I did not like the Jen Patterson cut-in interview with Jonathan Toews.

    It is way too WGN/Cubs telecast-ish.

    Great that Toews was sporting the Fire's colors, but I really don't care to see him during the damn game!

    I am hoping this isn't a harbinger of celebrity guest cutaways that makes Cubs broadcasts so intolerable.

    Continue down this path and they'll be having Eddie Vedder singing during the "65th minute stretch."

    Also, I'm not sure what can be done about this outside of playing at night, but the late-afternoon shadows at Toyota Park look really bad on TV

  • In reply to Roti2000:

    I tend to agree with your point on the Toews interview. I'm happy to see him there but I don't need to see him interviewed in the middle of the action during a Fire telecast.

  • In reply to Roti2000:

    In another bit of bad news for the Fire....San Jose picked up all three points in Houston last night, winning 2-1. Geovanni (their DP) had a goal and an assist.

  • I thought the substitutions were ok yesterday as supposed to the week before when it

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