RSL 1 Fire 0 - Game Recap and Player Ratings

The Fire continue to shoot themselves in the foot by not giving themselves an opportunity to succeed.  Late goals allowed, sloppy defending, and listless offensive displays have been a staple of the team's 2010 season so far.  Today's match was no different.  This time Wilman Conde was again the culprit.  Conde continues to pick up senseless yellow cards by charging carelessly into opposing players and putting his team at risk.  The play which led to his second yellow card and subsequent red card ejection was dubious due to a dive on the part of Ned Grabavoy and some circus clown officiating by Jorge Gonzalez, but the bottom line is Conde absolutely CANNOT put himself in a position to grab a player in the box especially when he is already playing with one yellow card. 

The red card ejection forced the Fire the play a man down and essentially took the steam out of any hopes the team had of breaking Real Salt Lake's home unbeaten streak.  As it stands the 23 game run is a new MLS record for unbeaten matches at home.  The Fire's window of opportunity for post season play is growing smaller and smaller.  The window is about to shut. 

Player Ratings

GK Sean Johnson (6) - There was nothing he could do on the penalty kick although he did guess right.  Johnson was solid again, although it says something about the squad when your goalkeeper is constantly the highest rated player on the pitch. 

D Gonzalo Segares (5) - Back from serving a two game red card suspension.  Didn't do much on the offensive side other than provide an errant long distance shot in the second half.  Not much action on his side for Real Salt Lake attackers though. 

D Dasan Robinson (5) - Not a bad effort considering that Conde's ejection necessitated his moving to center back in the second half.  Missed a few tackles while on the right side but no real errors resulting in any dangerous RSL chances. 

D CJ Brown (5) - It's difficult to judge a team when playing a man down for an entire half since the initial game plan is thrown out the window.   Brown was okay in the middle of the defense unlike his partner at center half. 

D Wilman Conde (3) - Remember when Conde was considered one of the best defenders in MLS?  His 2010 season has been nothing short of terrible highlighted by one mistake after another.  Conde once again placed his team at a severe disadvantage with a shambollic attempt to defend a fairly harmless looking Ned Grabavoy run into the area.  A 24th minute half hearted attempt to play a bouncing ball resulted in a Robbie Findley chance on goal that could have been more dangerous if Findley had not tried an ill advised chip shot.  If he's playing for a new contract or hoping that his play will inspire a European or South American team to offer up big dollars for his services he's going to be woefully mistaken.  The Fire currently have a contract extension on the table.  Now I'm wondering if going in another direction may be a better idea. 

M Logan Pause (5) - Pause wasn't bad but there's a mile of difference between RSL's holding mid and the Fire's holding mid. 

M Bratislav Ristic (6) - Ristic played well at right mid before being forced to right back after the ejection.  He was active, took on defenders, tried to play through balls, and drew fouls.  A nice yet unspectacular debut. 

M Marco Pappa (4) - Once again invisible for long stretches of the match while playing on the left side.  Pappa has yet to learn how to play without the ball or get himself into a position where he has an opportunity other than a long distance left footed blast.  His passing left alot to be desired as well.  After missing the last four matches his return was highly anticipated and he provided little to justify the anticipation. 

M Freddie Ljungberg (4) - In a match like this a team needs their designated players to step up and take charge.  There was nothing of the sort from Ljungberg.  It's not that he didn't appear to try, he just wasn't getting the ball and when he did, he did nothing with it other than attempt to dash around two or three defenders.  He was also playing too high not allowing himself an opportunity to collect the ball from the back....not that the Fire's back five would have actually gotten it to him.  He was subbed out in the 60th minute for Calen Carr. 

F Collins John (5) - John had a few good touches and may have had a chance to draw a penalty kick if he would have hit the ground as easily as some RSL players before being subbed out at half time.  I probably would have preferred that he stay on the pitch while his strike partner was subbed out.  I'm struggling to remember the last time a Fire forward received a pass in a position to score.  Anyone?

F Nery Castillo (4) - The Nery Castillo that practically dominated the Gold Cup in 2007 appears to be a memory.  You'd be hard pressed to notice he was even on the pitch after the 70th minute.  He was the lone forward in the second half.  Offsides calls, turnovers, and general ineffectiveness seem to be standard fare so far in Castillo's short MLS career. 

M Patrick Nyarko (6) - Seemed to look a little more like his pre-injury self after coming on to start the second half for John.  His 78th minute shot that was wide left was sadly the Fire's best chance of the second half. 

M Calen Carr (5) - Came on for Ljungberg in the 60th minute but didn't get much done in the attack other than a failed attempt to hook up with Castillo at the top of the box in the 89th minute. 

M Mike Banner (5) - Substituted for Pappa in the 85th minute and ran around for a little while.

Next Match - "So you're saying there's still a chance!"

The Fire return home next Saturday to face the Seattle Sounders.  Needless to say, this is a must win game at home against the team currently holding the eighth and final playoff spot.  If the Fire are to hold on to any slim chance of qualifying for post season three points is an absolute must. 

I'm not saying it's a good chance but there is still a chance.  That being said, I feel like Jim Carey in the film classic Dumb and Dumber when assessing those chances.   

Telecast

Telefutura's jumpy and incredibly annoying picture quality has been a problem all season that has not been addressed.  The issue supposedly lies in the national feed technology to local cable providers.  Whatever the issue is, it's ridiculous that it has not been corrected yet.

Fire Communications Coordinator Franco Sui-Yuan filled in admirably on color commentary for Batata on AM-1200's spanish language radio broadcast. 

 

Comments

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  • I was expecting the Chicago Fire to show up, what did we get instead, the Bridgeview WeSuk.

  • The fat lady has a foot on the stage and she's warming up....

    Half Time

    Seattle 3
    Crew 0

  • In reply to cesba:

    well there's one team in the playoff hunt thats playing like they need a win

  • In reply to cesba:

    A week ago I said that Conde should go, that he was a "loose cannon". One of those times that I really wanted to be proven wrong!! As for Freddie, it looks like the Sounders were right to let him go. GR--can we get out of his contract in any way? Also,what's the word on the locker room atmosphere? With two non-performing DP's and a high priced defender flopping, I gotta believe that the regular Joe's might be a little upset at the waste of money!!

  • In reply to shortpasses:

    Ljungberg has a player option for 2011 but I can't imagine he would come back if he's not wanted or he has a better European offer.
    The atmosphere sround the team was actually pretty intense and focused this past week. At this point I don't think guys are necessarily looking at salaries because there's nobody really stepping up.

  • In reply to cesba:

    If this was supposed to be a rebuilding year, then the building should be condemned and it's occupants relocated. Gentrification anyone?

  • In reply to cesba:

    Today I did something I have never done before. I switched off the game after 65minutes and went back to work. I will be interested in the attendance for the remaining games. This stuff is just unwatchable. How is Carr still in the league? What has he ever done except be injured? There may not be 11 players worth protecting from the expansion draft. This is the worse team in Fire history and what does DLC have against Krol, a servicable MLS player, albeit no great shakes.

  • In reply to cesba:

    Yes, the Sounders were smart in letting Ljungberg leave. He's a distraction, and a whiner.

    Simply look what has happened to Chicago and Seattle since the Fire acquired Ljungberg. The Fire stopped winning, and Seattle stopped losing. If the Fire wish to start winning, it's time to get rid of little baby L.

  • In reply to cesba:

    I wonder what the new Fire President's marketing campaign will be...

    I know, Siesta Night! Free Fire hammocks to anyone who shows up to the game, a perfect fit for soccer so mind numbingly bad it puts you to sleep.

    Or maybe a free bottle of.wine for anyone who shows up in a Ljungberg jersey.

    Dixie cup night (At this rate they might be the only cup Fire fans will see anywhere near Toyota Park)

    WeSux straw night? (how bout it lone coyote?)

  • In reply to cesba:

    You see Chicago, Ljungberg is payback for that unholy alliance Section 8 did with the Timber Army last year. You all showed up at Seattle flying the flag of convenience against the green and blue. Now you thought you could use our first DP against us. Instead Ljungberg is helping to "put out the fire." You can use that slogan in promotions too if you want.

    I don't know how long this "Sounders Curse" you bought will last, but one thing you might want to do is renounce any assiciation with the P*rtscum Cinders. I am certain ridding yourselves of it involves some sort of public display. Perhaps you could burn all those Fire / Cinders scarves you had made......

  • In reply to certaindoom:

    Sounders curse? Really?

  • In reply to cesba:

    It's actually Telefutura, not Telemundo.

    I was hoping to make it to another game this season. Not sure that I'm going to bother, as EVERY time I watch them they seem to connect fewer and fewer passes. There have been stretches, much earlier in the season, where they would dominate and connect 8 passes and more in a sequence. Then they'd give up a goal against the run of play. THAT was much easier to watch than the last few weeks. Just terrible.

  • In reply to Fuegofan:

    Yeah...I caught that after the I wrote it. I know it's Telefutura, I missed that one in my post game editorial disgust.

  • In reply to cesba:

    There was nothing wrong with the HD feed yesterday.

  • In reply to cesba:

    I had the worst feeling in the world when I exited the church on the way to the reception. This feeling? Despair. I'd forgotten to set my DVR to record the Fire match. In a spurt of fear I scrambled for my iPhone only to see our beloved losing 0-1 with a tiny red square next to Conde's name. I returned my iPhone to it's place in my pocket and thanked the football gods that this wedding was open bar.

    What are the chances the Fire refund all of the season ticket holders for the "playoff" game ticket included in our package? Hell, I'd like a refund for the "Sister Cities" games, the US Open Cup game, and please, please cancel the SuperLiga. The future looks bleek...

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    I'm asssuming the playoff game tickets will be refunded.

    The Sounders are now 10 points ahead of the Fire for the last playoff spot. As CJ Brown notes..."It doesn't look good". He also had some interesting things to say after the match.
    http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/brown-its-not-looking-good-chicago

  • In reply to cesba:

    ok so the way i read those comments - they are playing a quick passing game in practice, but in the game the players are reverting back to doing their own thing

    WTF?

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    Might explain why guys like Ljungberg and Castillo are being subbed out of matches.

  • The coach is ultimately responsible for the performance of the team but players who don't perform....particularly big time designated players who are paid big time dollars....can only be coached so much. Blase Nkufo netted a hat trick for Seattle last night. I doubt that had much to do with Sigi Schmid's influence on him. De Los Cobos deserves his share of the heat but there are plenty of players on this team who were expected to deliver who simply aren't.

    That being said, I don't think DLC will be axed after the year but if he wants to return to El Salvador there may not be much resistance from management.

  • In reply to cesba:

    DLC is a terrible coach. He is supposed to mold the team together, and I would kill for the way they played in the beginning of the season. He is supposed to instill discipline, and how many times this season have we given up points at the end, and then Conde has never been more out of wack. And DLC is supposed to fire up the team, there is no tenacity or energy at all. Now the team is just embarrasing and painful to watch.

  • In reply to fire1020:

    Conde is a player who has been suspended for cards, benched and called out for lazy defending and yet continues to pull the same bone headed moves he pulled yesterday. This is from a player who is supposed to be an All Star defender and your destroyer in the back. I'm not sure there's much else that can be done with him other than letting him continue to sit and watch. Conde is no rookie, the lack of discipline falls squarely on his shoulders.

    DLC has certainly earned criticism for his failure to find the right combinations but players need to be held accountable. it's much too easy to always blame the coach. At some point, players earning millions of dollars need to perform at this level without needing to be "fired up" to do so.

  • In reply to cesba:

    True but someone needs to see the door this off season. It wont be the players, it needs to be the coach.

  • In reply to cesba:

    Everyone should be held accountable. This season has been an absolute disgrace. The person in charge of that, DLC, needs to go. Conde, "a player who has been suspended for cards, benched and called out for lazy defending and yet continues to pull the same bone headed moves he pulled yesterday", needs to go. Tradition, Honor, Respect.

  • In reply to fire1020:

    "Everyone should be held accountable"

    No doubt. We agree there!

  • I always have a problem with the notion that a coach has to "fire up" a professional team. These guys are professionals and grown men, they shouldn't and don't need to be "fired up". Keeping your job and playing for the pride of the badge and yourself should be motivation enough to make an effort.

  • In reply to cesba:

    Players should always be up for the match. The players that need to be "fired up" are the players you would best describe as "hard workers". Those are the players that are usually on the bench. These players are professional athletes that know what they need to do.

  • In reply to cesba:

    Hey, the Fire have made the record books a lot lately, the first team to be shutout by Philadelphia, and the team that lost to give RSL the home unbeaten streak record.

  • i've thought the problem was poor tactics and game plan, but if what CJ brown says is true, then the players just are not doing what the coach is asking.

    i dunno how you fix that other than get new players?

    perhaps make em watch some EPL or la liga games?

  • Don't get me started on the Cubs. They're playing well now because the pressure is off and the games mean nothing.

    If the criticism of De Los Cobos is tactics and personnel management, then that's a valid point. If it's simply a failure to get them fired up in order to will them to some higher level of play, I can't see that.

    I don't think the Martz/Turner comparison is a matter of being better motivated. Martz is doing a better job of putting players in a position to succeed.

    Let's not also forget that both the Ljungberg and Castillo acquisitions were a bit of a gamble. That gamble so far has not paid off.

  • In reply to cesba:

    Let's also not forget that everyone loved those moves when they were made. There are worse situations we could be in next year. We could head into the winter months without McBride, Brown, Conde, Ljungberg, Krol, and potentially 2 players that get picked in the expansion draft. If that is the case, we will be worse next year. You can't replace the leadership of McBride and Brown and Freddie hasn't been playing his part of late but when he first came to our team he was our best player for those first 2 or 3 matches. We are a more dangerous team with him than without him. His experience can help our team.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Klopas will have cap room to play with in 2011.

    I'm still hoping for Clarence Seedorf.

  • In reply to cesba:

    I'm praying for Clarence Seedorf.

  • In reply to cesba:

    Every that could go wrong did this weekend....another bad result for the Fire.

    KC 2 Chivas 0

  • In reply to cesba:

    Generally, I have referred to DLC as De Los Moron, mainly because of his player selections for games
    and his tactics. A winning coach displays decisive leadership and in someway helps instill motivation
    in his players, but if a coach has to fire up his team for each and every game, then there's more wrong than the coach. The team has looked very tentative and flat for at least the last five games, you would think several players would take the bull by the horns and display some type of leadership.
    My biggest complaint about the coach is the same I had with Hamlett
    earlier in the season, a player looks good for a short while then disappears, the only one it hasn't happened to is Sean Johnson, McBride was hot for awhile, then gets cold, Pappa has practically
    disappeared from sight after being one of the leading scorers earlier in the season, same with Nyarko, although injuries have played a part, I haven't seen a consistently strong player game after game for the past two seasons, Freddie plays three strong games then disappears. I could mention several other names as well. A fine player can have an off game once and awhile, but what I'm talking about is seeing some growth after the beginning of the season towards the end. This hasn't happened in the past two seasons. Some of the best midfield play was in the beginning of the season with Hasidic and Lowry, later we get supposedly stronger players in the lineup and play gets mediocre.
    Despite or in-spite of my negativity, I predict a Fire win this Saturday, it's part of my s--t happens
    outlook.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    Let's look at each one of those players individually....Pappa has disappeared because he doesn't play well off the ball. He has not figured out how to make himself available while playing with Ljungberg. His best efforts have come with the ball at his feet, cutting towards the middle and unloading long distance shots. He has no right foot to speak of and hasn't realized how to play without the ball. Some of this could be attributed to coaching but it takes time to change or learn it. Let's also not forget that he missed four valuable matches in the last month due to injury and international duty making the integtration even more difficult.
    Nyarko's drop in form coincides with the missed time due to injury. Since suffering through concussion symptoms his play has not been the same. He was pretty consistent before that.
    McBride's best match this year was as a sub against DC United. I don't think he was ever on a "hot" streak. His problem does rhyme with the world "cold" though.
    Ljungberg's play has dropped considerably since his first three. This could be attributed to learning how to play with Castillo since both are most effective with the ball at their feet. He also has not been the distributor he should be and tends to try to dribble his way through traffic rather than continue to keep the ball moving on the ground.

  • In reply to cesba:

    I thought McBride's best match was against Dallas at home.

    Watching Ljungberg and Castillo, I apreciate so much more what we had in Blanco.

  • In reply to fire1020:

    I thought the same thing. Sure he was slow and declining but he was still very effective.

  • In reply to cesba:

    It's not the coach. Your mess started when you got Ljungberg. The Fire will not win until they get rid of Ljungberg. He's a prima dona, dribbles too much, whines to the refs too much, and flops too much. The whole problem with the Fire is Ljungberg. You guys have been in a massive tailspin from the moment he showed up.

    Look how much better Seattle has been since they got rid of Jinxy.

  • In reply to cesba:

    It's necessary to point out how lucky we (Seattle) are to be rid of Jinxy.

    Since Jinxy left (In this case, stopped playing as well) the Sounders are 6-1-3 in MLS play. That's one loss in ten matches.

    Since the Chicago Fire have acquired Jinxy they've gone 2-3-3 in MLS play, and are coming close to being eliminated.

    The Sounders have 21 points in the 10 games we've had without Jinxy. The Fire have 9 points in 8 games with Jinxy.

  • In reply to albinosounder:

    That's a heck of an analysis. I'm glad I'm not writing a Sounders blog.

  • In reply to albinosounder:

    Ljungberg doesnt really have anything to do with how we have been getting these results. We have been getting these results all year. 2-3-3 is not very good, but when you were 4-3-3 before that its not a big change. If we were winning games and dominating the league before him and then he came and we were playing like this then your "Seattle Curse" things would make sense. Go back to your Sounders blogs...

  • In reply to albinosounder:

    GR -- CJ's comments were very enlightening, but any idea who he was referring to?? Also this comment: "It was expected that Ljungberg would line up in the same position on Saturday. Instead, he started the game higher up on the field, playing just behind forwards Nery Castillo and Collins John. Starved for service and finding limited space in front of him, the Swede struggled. Without Ljungberg

  • In reply to albinosounder:

    CJ's comments refer to guys who keep attempting to dribble through defenders rather than trying to implement one and two touch passing. Sounds like a description of what Ljungberg and Castillo are trying to do to me.
    Ljungberg was subbed out at the 60 minute mark. That pretty much tells me that he wasn't getting what DLC wanted done.
    I'll ask De Los Cobos about it if I can get to training this week or maybe Sam will ask him about it.

  • In reply to cesba:

    If it proves true that Freddie is not following DLC's script then he needs to be let go asap. At this stage it can't hurt any more. Freddie is apparently too big for the Sounders, too big for Chicago and too big for MLS. bye bye now !!

  • In reply to shortpasses:

    I completely agree.

  • In reply to shortpasses:

    Everyone on the Fire front line tries to dribble through defenders. Nyarko, Pappa, John, Ljungberg, Castillo, Banner, Conde. It's also hard to do one and two touch passes when your first touch is 10 feet infront of you. There are only 2 players on the Fire that take one a two touches on the ball, Pause and Brown.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Might have a point there.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Longoria3 -- I like your analysis. At minimum, to make a great 1 - 2 touch passing team I think?? you need at least 2, maybe 3 midfielders and possibly one of the defenders who are very comfortable on the ball (trapping, shielding and passing). We've got some good (not great) dribblers in Nyarko and Pappa but they just don't want to play possession ball. Soooooo besides Ljundberg there are no consistent players to base the passing/possession game on. My problem with Ljundberg is that he doesn't seem to be stepping up to the team leader role -- especially if he's fighting DLC's direction. Thanks Longoria3, now I really am bummmed !!!

  • In reply to shortpasses:

    Talk about being bummed, I was bummed out when the Fire lost in PK's to RSL last year's Eastern Conference Finals. Especially, the team last year had a championship type roster to blend with an inept coach in Hamlett. With this current roster, Hamlett won't do any better.

  • In reply to cesba:

    I'll ask about it.

  • In reply to cesba:

    The Fire were below average before they got Ljungberg. The problem is the players are not adjusting De Los Cobos system. De Los Cobos gets share of the blame for not having a consistent lineup on a weekly basis to follow with an indecisive formation to go with. I am never a big fan of changing coaches every year and players having to go through a different system (see Toronto FC organization). Remember, De Los Cobos inherited a roster that is 59 percent of the players that are from the Sarachan/Osorio/Hamlett regime. Translation: maybe that 59 percent of those players are not good enough to fit in his system. The Castillo/Ljungberg combo takes time; remember Castillo was sitting for 2 months without playing a game while Ljungberg just came from Schmid system along with his displeasure with Seattle. So far, Castillo and Ljungberg so far has been a disappointment and time will tell. If the Fire want to get rid off Ljungberg, Klopas better have a player that is a huge upgrade like Seedorf or Giggs. I will give DLC another year to gather his own players the will gel together along with 2010 mid season acquisitions to play the entire 2011 season. Right now, I see 7 8 players they have to go at seasons end.

  • In reply to longoria3:

    He's gotten some of his players: Martinez and Umanzor

  • In reply to cesba:

    i havent seen one and two touch passing thats netted forward movement from this team in a long long time - from ANY players

  • In reply to cesba:

    The Fire sucked even before Freddie arrived,while it's true he hasn't helped much, things already were sliding away before then. Apparently the Fire has numerous Freddie's playing not named
    Ljungberg. You may be lucky, but still your team still isn't that much better than the Fire, which you will find out Saturday night.

  • In reply to cesba:

    if DLC goes,I,m hoping Jesse March is the next coach. he has great coach written all over him, a Jason Kreis type. His experience with Bradley and the national team will have helped him and in that regard he will have had more experience than Kreis. his qualities as a player, smart, dogged and with real vision in the defensive half of the field is exactly what we need. that or an experienced ,proven winner.

  • In reply to Celt:

    That would certainly be an interesting choice if DLC does bolt for El Salavador.

  • In reply to Celt:

    A report out of Vancouver is saying that Jay DeMerit will sign with the WhiteCaps.

  • In reply to cesba:

    hmmm i kinda figgered he was going to Germany

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    I think most people figured the same. Most places reporting today that no deal has been struck yet.

  • In reply to Celt:

    Here's the DeMerit story
    http://www.theprovince.com/sports/DeMerit+expected+sign+with+Whitecaps/3547566/story.html

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