Sounders 1 Fire 0 - Game Recap and Player Ratings

The finish to this match couldn't have been a more appropriate or fitting end for a team that has piled frustration on top of frustration for the better part of the past six months.  An 88th minute deflected goal by Blaise Nkufo is probably the final nail in the coffin for any playoffs hopes in 2010. 

The Fire did manage to improve the effort offensively in the first half but really didn't create any stellar scoring chances outside of Marco Pappa's shot late in the half which was saved by Kasey Keller.  Carlos De Los Cobos employed a 4-4-2 formation hoping to create some chances with the speed of Freddie Ljungberg and Calen Carr up front.  Those chances were scarce and the Fire were shut out yet again.  The team has not scored from the run of play since the Houston game on August 21. 

Six games remain in the season and the Fire will now be playing out the string for only the second time in franchise history.

Player Ratings

GK Sean Johnson (6) - Did manage four saves although none were of the particularly difficult variety.  Some miscues and apparent miscommunication resulted in a few Seattle half chances.  Nkufo's goal was the result of a deflection and there wasn't much Johnson could do to stop it.

D Bratislav Ristic (5) - Played out of position at right back due to injuries and didn't play badly.  His only error came in the 33rd minute when he lost the ball in the Fire's half allowing Steve Zakuani to charge in on goal and get off a weak shot that was handled easily by Johnson. 

D CJ Brown (5) - Was the victim of Nkufo's goal, deflecting his shot into the net as he fell backwards.  The goal was unfortunate as the Fire tried weakly to press forward in hopes of netting a late score. 

D Kwame Watson-Siriboe (6) - Had one of his best outings of the season (if not the best).  Came forward at the right time on several occasions to break up Seattle attacks.  Seattle was not dangerous in the area as the Fire did well to contain Montero this time.  Missed his mark on Nkufo in the 36th minute resulting in an open look but Seattle's cross was high over Nkufo's head. 

D Gonzalo Segares (5) - Got forward a bit in the first half before being subbed out with an apparent injury in the 58th minute.  While managing to get forward adequately his passing was not on target resulting in a few lost opportunities.

M Logan Pause (5) - Pause is steady but he just doesn't provide much if anything in terms of initiating a counter attack or even simply moving the ball forward to attacking players.  He was subbed out in the 82nd minute in a late attempt to get more offensive weapons on the field. 

M John Thorrington (5) - Returned from injury to play the full 90 minutes but provided little in the attack as an "attacking" midfielder. 

M Patrick Nyarko (5) - Has yet to regain any semblance of his early season form.  There are short flashes here and there but his touches usually culminate with an attempt to dribble through two or three defenders unsuccesfully. 

M Marco Pappa (6) - Probably his best effort in quite some time.  Pappa nearly put the Fire on the board late in the first half only to be denied by Keller.  He provided three of the Fire's five shots on goal.

F Freddie Ljungberg (5) - Ljungberg was dynamic in his first few matches with the Fire but the offensive stagnation over the last few weeks has taken the lustre off his acquisition.  He wasn't bad but he wasn't the force that the Fire needed either.  Played at the withdrawn forward spot behind Carr. 

F Calen Carr (4) - Got his first start of the season tonight in an effort to get more pace and movement into the attack.  Unfortunately, Carr is better suited as a substitute providing late pace and movement.  He was rarely in a position to score and provided little in terms of movement in the attack. 

D Deris Umanzor (5) - Came on for Segares in the 58th minute and was caught out of position on Nkufo's goal as the Fire were pressing the attack. 

F Brian McBride (4) - Entered the match in the 64th minute for Carr.  When Ljungberg was first acquired the two seemed to have a connection working in brief spurts.  There was no sign of that tonight. 

F Collins John (4) - An 82nd minute substitute for Pause.  The Fire's forwards lack the creativity to generate a shot on their own.  John was fairly silent for 12 minutes including stoppage time. 

Much of the Fire's offensive woes can be summarized by the lack of movement off the ball.  It seems that most players are attempting to dribble through multiple defenders rather than keeping the ball moving on the ground. 

Post Game Press Conference

Carlos De Los Cobos addressed the media after the match and answered questions about the lack of scoring, planning for next season, and losing close games. 

You can listen to De Los Cobos and Freddie Ljungberg talk about the match here.

I am now officially stopping any attempts to decipher Fire playoff possibilities. 

Comments

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  • If Seattle still would have had Jinxy the results would have been reversed. It's amazing how the seasons for both teams changed after the Jinxy trade. The Fire fell out of the playoffs, and the Sounders improved greatly.

  • In reply to albinosounder:

    Guy, the fire were never in the playoffs, and a lot of their problems have come from poor defense. I'm not sure how ljungberg factors into that. And, jinxy, really, that's pretty disrespectful for a guy who has done so much for your club last year. Open cup and playoffs ain't bad for an expansion team.

  • In reply to fire1020:

    There's no doubting that. However in 2010 he was a distraction in Seattle, and instead of playing the game on the pitch he spent most of his time arguing with the ref.

  • In reply to albinosounder:

    fredi leaving Seatle may well have made your team better, but he also made the Fire Better. That says much about the Fire. They

  • In reply to albinosounder:

    touchscreen premature. The Fire are now officially worse than a first year team. Toothless all year, and tonight started Carr alone upfront. Nyarko is a cut above, some other talent, but most have to go. You seem to have a thing against Fredi. I'm happy enough to have him, sad as that might be.

  • In reply to Celt:

    I'm simply making observations from available facts. Since the Sounders stopped playing with Ljungberg their record is 7-1-3. Since the Fire starting playing with Ljungberg, the wins have stopped. For whatever reason, it appears that Ljungberg causes chemistry issues. It also appears that the complaining to the refs during play affects the rest of the team. I noticed in Seattle that Ljungberg and all the players spent more time complaining to the refs when he was on the pitch. It appears to be happening with the Fire as well. Since Ljungberg left Seattle, the players don't complain as much, accept the calls, and focus on the game instead of the refs. Ljungberg may not actually be a jinx, but bad mojo sure seems to follow him.

  • In reply to albinosounder:

    You're a broken record when you talk about a Ljunberg jinx. The Fire were a mediocre team before he got here and their mediocrity has continued since he arrived. He has not provided the expected boost in the Fire attack. Losing Ljunberg has helped Seattle, but there's no jinx as far as his games with the Fire are concerned.

  • In reply to ggorecki:

    You are correct, there is no Ljungberg Jinx. I think there is however karmic payback for Section 8 allying itself with the P*rtscum. To many of us now beating you is like beating the Cinders Army by proxy. And is pretty sweet when we do.

  • In reply to ggorecki:

    I probably should add Pappa to the no touch list, he'll probably play better without Freddie, and he is young (22) and quick. The point is, why play players who won't be around next year, Mc Bride, Brown,
    hopefully Freddie and Conde and several others. Despite not being on anyone's favorite list, I'd add
    Castillo as one of the players to start. Would like to see how he would fit in with more time with the Fire.
    He's fairly young and seemingly has talent, should keep him to see how he looks during training next season, seemingly has more upside than John. Let's hope and pray that Conde gets another yellow, his play has been ragged and inconsistent, appears like he doesn't want to be with the Fire.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    You're right....might as well find out if you're going to get anything for the $1.8 million seemingly wasted on Castillo this year.

  • In reply to cesba:

    I still cringe when I see that number.

  • In reply to ggorecki:

    Yes, let's see what they can do in game situations, THEN Klopas knows what to persue this off season. Conde has not been happy since Osorio left, time to send him packing...

  • In reply to ggorecki:

    Meant unhappy, sorry!

  • In reply to ggorecki:

    The Fire didn't actually "play out the string" in 2004 -- they missed the playoffs on the final match of the season, at New England. Unless I'm completely misremembering it. If we manage two wins and a draw in our final six matches, then our record will be just as bad as that team, so it's pretty likely this will be our worst year ever.

  • In reply to notabbott:

    You're right....I probably should have phrased that a little differently. There were only 10 teams in 2004 and New England qualified over the Fire on the last day of the season. This will be the first year where the last six games of the year really mean nothinig....unless of course they win six in a row ;)

  • In reply to ggorecki:

    IS there time enough for D.C to catch the Fire?
    There are more odds on this than the Fire making
    the playoffs. Several teams have to keep on losing
    while the Fire has to win the rest of their games.
    The Fire no longer control their future (this season)

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    DC is six points behind the Fire with two more games played. Look on the bright side....if MLS had relegation, the Fire would still be in the safe zone.

  • In reply to Celt:

    Does DLC pull names out of a hat when making his line ups? I saw more chemistry the last time I mixed baking soda and vinegar together...team is clueless in the attacking third. What do they do in training, dribble through 3 then pass to no one? They must because that is all they seem to do in matches.

    Mr. Posada, your first priority should be to put a QUALITY team on the pitch before you do ANYTHING else. should be easy to do if you do the opposite of what was done this year. If you can do that the rest will take care of itself.

    Mr. Klopas, please stop collecting cast offs with an upside, if a player is underperforming elsewhere, they probably will here too. It would be nice to find a couple of HUNGRY difference makers. I am sure the fans would rather see DP money be productively spent on players who are in their prime instead of what we have at present.

  • In reply to DerSting:

    Klopas should be very bust this offseason.

  • In reply to cesba:

    Klopas will be very busy and active this offseason. Instead of decipher Fire playoff possibilities, you should start on the free agent class and MLS draft predictions. Next year, it is either shape up the team or Klopas and DLC job is history.

  • In reply to cesba:

    Brown could had a 6 but had a 5 rating because he did not have a bad game at all until that screw up he got faked like a basketball player pump faked his defender that took an unlucky bounce off his leg and it went in (that kind of stiff that happens when a team is 6-10-8). First of all, that was Umanzor got outran by Nkufo and CJ had to help Umanzor's assignment. The Fire right now have 4 defenders, 4 midfielders and ZERO forwards on the field.

  • In reply to longoria3:

    So Brown wasnt playing straight long balls all game? His passes were terrible and his defending was just as bad. It didn't take an unlucky bounce of his leg. He got smoked and tried to throw his body in the way to not look like such a fool. It didn't work. He was our worst player last night.

  • In reply to Celt:

    Freddie certainly didn't look sharp last night, hasn't looked good for the past four or five games, seems way off from his first three or four games. Apparently Pappa and Freddie don't seem to be on the same page. Too much dribbling, not enough one or two touch passing, rather would have seen Ristic as CM than in the back, probably would have played better than Freddie did.
    The season is over, DLC, should start Nyarko (up front), Lowry, Husidic, Bone, Ristic, Krol, Kinney, Watson-Sirboe, Segares Johnson, and Pineda for the next few games, probably couldn't play any worse than the regular starters and maybe would show more spirit than the regulars.
    At least it would provide them with some experience and provide the Fire the opportunity to gauge who they should keep for next season. Right now the only keepers would be Nyarko, Sean,Ristic, and Segares.

  • In reply to albinosounder:

    I think you just sound like a faggot using the word jinxy.

  • In reply to ChicagoFire8:

    I think you sound like a moron using the word faggot

  • In reply to DDT5583:

    why, cause your a faggot?

  • In reply to ChicagoFire8:

    Let's just refrain from that kind of stuff...

  • In reply to cesba:

    hahah sorry, too early in the morning to be called a moron

  • In reply to albinosounder:

    Go Bears.

  • In reply to albinosounder:

    Only my second game at Toyota Park this year and it reminded me of the old, SICK joke --- "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?" Actually, despite all of the angst displayed here, we (my son, daughter and respective families, enjoyed the game. Overall, I thought that the defense was credible and was cruelly unlucky with the deflection goal. In spurts, midfield play (passing ) was pretty good (We're not Barca, guys!!!!) I liked Ristic despite the one give-away. And, Siriboe played well. The back line played well and showed potential for next year, given that CJ's legs can't hold out for another year. Conde needs to go. This game showed we can play well without him and his salary is way too hefty for what he brings. Sean Johnson has a lock on GK for the next 10 years. Regarding our strikers, HELP!! Freddie is no longer a DP caliber player and he will not get better. His insistence on carrying and then losing the ball is not acceptable in someone making his amount of money. Freddie needs to go. Calen needs to go -- we've waited long enough for him to develop!! Collins John also needs to ship out -- too much money for his performance. Despite my negative comments I enjoyed the game and thought that the Fire outplayed Seattle decisively, except in the most crucial area. the score. Nkufu and Montero, both very good players, showed nothing in this particular game. My son, noted that the Chicago Fire reaction time, particularly out of the back and when switching fields was extremely slow to take advantage of openings. One final comment -- I watched Barca vs Sporting Gijon last night. Since it appears that DLC want to play that style, I thought it was interesting how they struggled without a dependable striker (Messi is out for 3+ weeks). Despite having a Villa (who scored the winning goal) Barca's offense was stymied by a tight effective Sporting defense. Taking into account the obvious difference in skill levels between la Liga and MLS it still seems appropriate to believe that improving our strikers could actually improve our midfield service not just the other way around.

  • In reply to shortpasses:

    Despite Sporting playing a tight defense, Barca still had numerous chances to score
    and if they showed a bit more patience the score easily could have been 7 to 1.
    Don't why people say that DLC is trying to play Barca type ball, there is no remote resemblance between the style the Fire plays and the way Barca plays.
    Their possession games is based on sharp, crisp passing, one touch, two touch, etc.
    At least if they tied to play that style, they should use the right technique.
    Of course MLS doesn't have the skill level that La Liga possesses, but the top teams in MLS
    would be competative with the second tier teams in La Liga and Premier League.
    But even these second tier teams in La Liga play attractive attacking football for the most part.
    There is no magic to learning how to play one/two touch soccer, just proper coaching,
    practice and time.
    The way the Fire plays soccer is like having sex with a condom, you never really score.
    While the Fire didn't play good enough to win Saturday, neither did Seattle, at most times they seemed to be as inept, or more inept than the Fire. The Sounders could have been easily beaten with a bit more of crisper and intelligent play.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    I'm trying to digest that analogy.... I think it's still scoring as long as the ball is in the net. ;)

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    who will have a better game? cutler or rodgers? streak for the cash,,,,,espn fantasy game

  • In reply to bert:

    I hope it's Cutler but I have a bad feeling....

  • In reply to bert:

    the fire won't carry over to the bears,,,im taking cutler

  • In reply to bert:

    Interesting article on Dwayne DeRosario's ridiculous goal celebration and even more ridiculous comments after the match.....
    http://soccer.fanhouse.com/2010/09/27/dwayne-de-rosarios-stock-plummets-as-he-demands-raise/?a_dgi=aolshare_twitter

    TFC is going to miss the playoffs for the fourth straight year, they just fired their coach and technical director, and in the midst of a match with a playoff competitor, DeRosario is concerned with his contract. Low rent move.

  • In reply to cesba:

    That team is a complete joke. 4 or 5 different coaches and 2 or 3 different GM's since that franchise existed. No identity, no direction.

  • In reply to longoria3:

    But, per Don Garber, great fan base. Great fan base.

  • In reply to cesba:

    Sam's notes from training today...
    http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/fire-report-castillo-wont-travel-sj

  • In reply to cesba:

    Might as well play the Kinney's, the Watson-Siriboe and the Bone's of the world to see they fit in the starting lineup next year and beyond. I love to see Bone working with the starters and might as well add Pineda in the mix as well. Is Pineda even training with the team because I don't hear his name at all in terms of being activated and traveling with the team? Look at Najar for DC United; he is making a immediate impact for his team.

  • In reply to longoria3:

    Pineda is training with team, he has been since he signed. Najar is an exceptional case, he's phenomenal...but I guess it wouldn't hurt to get Pineda a look.

  • In reply to albinosounder:

    Per Sam....
    Castillo is not travelling to San Jose.
    Ljungberg, Ristic, and Segares did not train today but are travelling.

  • In reply to albinosounder:

    Guille, tell me it's just me or that it's a fluke season, but Pappa or as I call him, Potato is the most frustrating player on this team. You know he has the ability to make phenomenal play at any time, yet when it comes to giving a lead pass down the line or even a simple 20 foot pass he tends to either kick it out of bounds or to the other team. I don't doubt the talent nor the drive, but maybe it's a lack of concentration? Maybe I expect too much? It's just frustrating to see Potato playing like a chicken with it's head cut off in a rec league game.

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    Pappa is a good example of what's wrong with this team as it's constructed. He is a very good individual talent who hasn't figured out how to play a team game. He's also limited because he's almost exclusively left footed and not a very good passer. He hasn't figured out how to get himself in a good position to score other than working his way toward the middle of the field and blasting 25 yard shots.

    He's a good player but not a legitimate MLS first XI all star (although he was in the game this year)until he improves his overall game.

  • In reply to cesba:

    Also, Patrick Nyarko has the break away speed to elude pass defenders but his weakness is the inability to finish or create a shot. Remember Pappa and Nyarko aren't 25 years old yet. 2011 Superdraft are going to have some forwards and midfielders available. F William Bruin (Indiana), M/F Ashley McInnes (Tulsa), M Anthony Ampaipitakwong (Akron), F Darlington Nagbe (Akron) and F Ausin Neil (Tulsa) will upgrade the forward position for this team.

  • In reply to longoria3:

    Longoria3 -- you have a lot more faith in the products of our college system than I do. However, I must admit that I liked Akron last year. Right now, they probably come the closest to actually playing soccer of any college team. Keep an eye on their coach -- he seems too good to stay in the slam-bang college game.

  • In reply to shortpasses:

    The college system has a long way to go in terms of improvement and the ability to turn out impact pros on the offensive side but it has started to provide some quality MLS defenders of late.

  • In reply to shortpasses:

    This guys think Sean Johnson could get a call up soon.....

    http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/roster-predictions-ahead-us-friendlies

  • In reply to shortpasses:

    shortpasses, I am starting to following it a little bit. The last couple of years, it is starting to make some strides with the talent core but it is not quite there yet in terms of being the elite especially with the striker position. More than half of the MLS players who attended college who came from the ACC, Big Ten or PAC-10. Akron (MLS University) is the place to start if any MLS franchise wants to look for in terms of speed and quickness. Then again, the college ranks for the past 10-15 years have produced goalkeepers and defenders. The names I had mentioned I will guarantee you that they will be Generation Adidas.

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    Mike Banner is also not travelling with an achilles injury

  • They actually practice what they preach during training....as CJ pointed out last week, during games players panic and go into "dribble through 4 defenders mode".

    I think this team has good individual talent that just does not play well together. Ljungberg has looked good at times but they still do not have a real facilitator in midfield and the forwards just aren't very good without service.

  • In reply to cesba:

    They aren't very good with service either...

  • In reply to DerSting:

    Also true....unfortunately

  • In reply to DerSting:

    Probably the most creative thing in Toyota Park last night.....
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epQdreYwO5s

  • In reply to cesba:

    The creativity did not rub off on the midfield unfortunately...

  • In reply to DerSting:

    kwame did have his best game that i have seen from him - good job on the player ratings

  • In reply to DerSting:

    Thanks Count...those are always tough after games like that.

  • In reply to DerSting:

    How is CJ Brown not getting destroyed here? He was by far our worst player. Never completing a pass. Long balls all night to nobody. Terrible defending. Would have looked good at a ballerina recital with that defending on the goal. Then decided to try and yell at all the entire team for his poor performance. I love CJ for all that he has done for the club but it is time for him to go this off season. With what happened this season, I think it's time to really clean house with the aging players and start new. We have some good young talent that needs to play the rest of the season. Watson-Siriboe was our best player last night. He looked like a young Soumare and should get to start the rest of the season. Johnson and Logan also played well. We have no creativity in the attacking third and the only way we will win a game with this group of players is getting a one goal lead and hopefully holding on. We won't score 2 goals in a game and we probably wont keep a shutout.

  • In reply to DerSting:

    At this point I just hope that RSL loses. I'm not quite sure who to root for yet. It was going to be Seattle, but they've become pretty annoying lately.Maybe Columbus, and it would be good for MLS is NY or LA won.

  • Nothing, the midfield dribbles around playing keep away from the forwards.

  • Still amazed we didn't bring in another striker.. nothing against ristic or carr .. but Carr should be a energy guy not a starter , and RM, RB isn't as big a need in my opinion.

  • A quality striker should be a priority in the offseason

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