Union 1 Fire 0 - Game Recap and Player Ratings

After a disjointed and sloppy first half that saw miscommunication in the back and a shocking inability to complete more than 2 consecutive passes, the Fire came into the second appearing to finally realize that the season was on the line.  A more spirited effort in the second 45 still did not provide a score and the team with two designated players on the pitch becomes the first side to be shut out this season by Philadelphia. 

The 1-0 win is the Union's first clean sheet of the season in league play.  That stat alone is reason enough to believe that playoff hopes are merely dreams at this point.  After receiving favorable results in other league matches with losses by Colorado and Toronto the Fire once again failed to capitalize on an opportunity.

Player Ratings

GK Sean Johnson (6) - Communication was shaky in the back during the first half but he was more composed as the game progressed.  There's not much more that can be asked of the rookie keeper.

D Steven Kinney (4) - Attempted to push the attack a bit with moderate success.  Philadelphia enjoyed way too much success attacking in the first 30 minutes. 

D Wilman Conde (5) - Mass disorganization in the first half resulted in several Philadelphia opportunities.  Like the rest of the team his second half effort was better but too little too late. 

D Dasan Robinson (4) - After being the Fire's best defender on Wednesday night, a weakly cleared header resulted in the Union's only goal.  Also committed several unforced giveaways.

D Deris Umanzor (5) - Played a fairly decent match on both ends but an errant pass behind Logan Pause (which Pause wasn't looking for) resulted in the counter attack which led to LeToux's goal.

M Logan Pause (4) - Mass disorganization in the defensive end in the first half, little to no ability to link the back line to the midfield, careless giveaways, and long stretches of Philly possesion.

M Patrick Nyarko (5) - Something has been missing from his game since returning from concussion symptoms.  Some nifty footwork that ultimately resulted in nothing. 

M Baggio Husidic (4) - Made a few decent runs before being subbed out but his touches and passing were awful. 

M Freddie Ljungberg (5) - A decent shot in the first half was saved by Knighton.  Seemed to wake up when he was moved to central midfield at the top of a 4-4-2 diamond. 

M Nery Castillo (4) - Several careless giveaways in the first half then provided little to nothing in terms of real scoring chances in the second half before being subbed out for rookie Corben Bone in the 87th minute.  Can I say once again that Castillo is not a left midfielder?

F Collins John (5)- His only real chance was on a break out shot that was knocked away by Brad Knighton.  The shot was well struck but directly at the Union keeper making it an easy save. 

F Calen Carr (5) - Came in at the half for Husidic and had a few half chances that resulted in nothing.  A header opportunity in that went high in the 76th minute was his best chance.

M Mike Banner (5) - Came in for John in the 58th minute, passed up a chance in the 61st and passed up another shot in the 66th before getting fouled.  Provided a decent cross to Carr on the header chance. 

M Corben Bone (NR) - Came on in the 87th for Castillo, which was much to late to register any sort of impact. 

Next Match

Things are not looking up for the Fire.  The next match is at Rio Tinto Stadium next Saturday against Real Salt Lake.  The playoffs are looking further and further away.

Comments

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  • I didn't expect the playoffs in any case. Time for a serious retool with a bit of money available. Time to see what Bone can do, but who else deserves a shot? We are just not very deep and have no goalscorers on the pitch or bench. Jason Kreiss retooled RSL within a season. Time to scout Argentina,colombia and any other place were value for money can be had.

  • In reply to Celt:

    Also, the Chicago Fire don't have a team president since Greeley left.

  • Well I'll say it, I've had enough of Freddie, takes himself out of many plays while complaining to referees and this seems to be spread to the rest of the team. Hope they do not re-sign him

  • We just don't have a goal scorer. John isn't working out, McBride isnt going to do it, and Carr is Carr. We have good players but can't score goals. When we keep possession for awhile we don't do anything with it. Other teams can't keep possession but get opportunities and put them away. And it's not up to the FO to resign Freddie. He has a player option for next year. It's time to give Bone a shot and also see what the home grown guy can do. Put Conde in front of Pause and put Watson-Siriboe in the back.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    For sure you can see Watson-Siriboe in the back with Conde with Segares and Kinney at defense with Krol/Robinson in the mix. Nyarko and Pappa are outside mid with the addition with Pineda to join Husidic, Pause, Bone and Ljungberg to round out that core. Castillo is the only forward but there is the area they need a lot of help. My perspective is players like Banner, Carr, Umanzor, Thorrington (injuries), Brown, McBride (retire), Lowry and Dykstra.

  • In reply to longoria3:

    My perspective is players like Banner, Carr, Umanzor, Thorrington (injuries), Brown, McBride (retire), Lowry and Dykstra will be replaced while Johnson continues to improve behind the net.

  • In reply to longoria3:

    I wasn't Freddie's fault that the Fire lost,(maybe the Toronto game) it took a team effort to lose to Philly.
    Poor coaching and placing players in the wrong positions helped.
    If the Fire loses one more game, pretty much knocking them out of the playoffs,
    I rather see the subs and younger players have a shot, see what they can do.
    I disagree about the above comment regarding Lowry, when he played he seemed fairly effective
    for the most part. The Fire really hadn't a consistent effective player game after game this season,
    outside of Sean.
    This was a team rated in the top four to six teams prior to the start of the season, even before
    getting the DP's. Everyone seemed so happy when the team signed Freddie, Castillo, and Segares.
    Some of the biggest current complainers, were saying several weeks ago that the Fire had the most solid team in MLS.
    The fact is, the team never seemed to jell and settle in for more than one or two games in a row.
    I'm tired of seeing Banner as being DLC's answer to lineup difficulties, actually he hasn't looked so bad lately, probably as the team started playing at his level. An overall team rating of 4.5 to 4.25 for tonight's game seems appropriate. If the team continues to slide, like losing 6 out of the next 7 and fade badly,possibly DLC will not be back next year.
    The team's collaspe brings back memories of the 69 Cubs, never seen a team fade so badly in the space of three weeks, when it looked like the Fire would be shoo-ins for the playoffs.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    "Some of the biggest current complainers, were saying several weeks ago that the Fire had the most solid team in MLS."
    I remember someone on either this blog or another, saying (I think seriously) that this was the most talented team in MLS history. As stupid as that sounded three weeks ago, it has only gotten dumber since then.

  • In reply to manyou07:

    That was me that said that and I said it was one of the most talented teams on paper in MLS history. I stand by that statement too. On paper this team is a great team. They are not playing well. We have Ljungberg, Castillo, McBride, Pappa, Nyarko, Segares, Conde, Collins John. All those players on an MLS side is great work by the FO. It's the players and the coaches that need to do it on the field. I didnt say that they were the best side in MLS on the field. On Paper, they are a great side. I stand by that 100%.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    I think we've crossed the line now from hoping we'd squeak into the playoffs to hoping the final game of the season will put an end to the misery.

    A truly dreadful performance in yet another "must-win" non-win. I think instead of watching the remaining games, I'll be spending the next two months wondering how the hell we're going to fill ten slots on our list of protected players for the Vancouver/Portland expansion draft.

  • In reply to manyou07:

    Thank god the Champions League is getting into high gear this week! With the Fire in this dreaded state, I can concentrate on something a bit more interesting.

  • In reply to manyou07:

    Johnson times 10

  • In reply to longoria3:

    i've seen enough of these tactics. its not working. they need to try something different

  • In reply to longoria3:

    Why do you think Seattle got rid of Freddie? The posts here are the same as they were in Seatte about Freddie. He flops, and spends too much time complaining. By the way, after the last game Freddie played with the Sounders, the chances of the Sounders making the playoffs was about 6 or 7%. Without Freddie the Sounders are now at 56% for making the playoffs. Prior to acquiring Ljungberg the Fire had about a 50% chance of making the playoffs. Now the Fire are down to 14% with Freddie. (Sportsclubstats)

    Thank for taking away the dead weight.
    Ljungberg is a distraction, a diver, and a whiner.

  • It is time to start playing for next year because it is realistic that this team is out of the playoff picture. It wouldn't surprise me that Frank Klopas will be active during the offseason with finding talent outside the country, protecting players from the expansion draft and college draft. I will give De Los Cobos another chance to work with the players he needs going into 2011. A couple of young speedy forwards that can finish is the Fire's top wish list. Do the Chicago Fire have a first round pick in 2011 Superdraft? The best school for Generation Adidas players are from Akron University and University of Virginia. celt, you are 100 percent correct about scouting in Central and South America for midfielders that are creative playmakers.

  • In reply to longoria3:

    Maybe Klopas could get the entire Salvadoran team for next year, they seem to be the ONLY ones comfortable with DLC's attractive attacking style. Or we could let him go back after the season and take Banner with him...

  • In reply to longoria3:

    How come the Coach is not graded? He is an integral member of the team. He sets the line ups and is supposed to make sound tactical changes to lead the team to victory. How did he do this week?

  • In reply to DerSting:

    I would say about as well as the team did.

  • In reply to DerSting:

    Why is the technical director not graded? Is he not the one responsible for putting this slop together?

  • In reply to FrankFlopas:

    Klopas has done well to bring in a lot of quality players to the fire. Looking back I wouldn't have disagreed with any of the players he brought in. I hope he keeps bringing in these types of players. Although the Bush loss was costly.

  • In reply to fire1020:

    So for all the quality of talent that was brought in, why is the team on the brink of missing the playoffs? I am sure the common response would be that this is a building year and to wait til next year.

  • In reply to FrankFlopas:

    I was wondering when FF would resurface.

  • In reply to FrankFlopas:

    Charlie Corr's piece on Andrew Hauptman

    http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/fire/post/_/id/600/no-transition-fire-owner-wants-a-winner

  • In reply to DerSting:

    Everyone is more than welcome to join the "Fire Frank" bandwagon. It just so happened I jumped the gun back in preseason before you all knew it was cool. It is ok, no apologies needed, hopefully you realize what a disaster he really is after a season of empty promises and a crap product.

    I am sure he will come out soon enough and point the finger at everyone else minus himself and again promise an amazing season next year, don't be fooled.

  • In reply to FrankFlopas:

    actually i think klopas has done a good job of trying to get some very good players for this team

    i think the problem is CDLCs tactics

  • In reply to FrankFlopas:

    Who would you have liked to see him bring in? I love your bashing with no offers of what you would do different. Klopas sucks because he brought in Ljungberg, Castillo, John, Krol, signed Pappa to a 3 year deal...

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    All I am saying he Klopas is master at the smoke and mirror game. Sure he has brought in all these fantastic players and an international coach but again, why are the Fire on the verge of missing the playoffs? Does that not ultimately fall on the Technical Director for not putting together a winning team, as he promised since preseason?

  • In reply to FrankFlopas:

    What do we want from Klopas? We want him to bring in players that will help us win games. I say he has done that. I feel that this falls on DLC and not Klopas. The players that DLC has wanted (Martinez and Umanzor) have failed epically this season. The Fire are in this position because of the players and the coach. Klopas went and signed Collins John in the off season. Coming into the season everyone was very excited about this signing. We got him on the cheap and it hasn't panned out yet because of the player. It comes down to DLC tinkering with his lineup every match. Players don't know where they are going to play and who they are going to play with. If anyone needs to go it should be DLC WAY before Klopas.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    So you just said John hasn't panned out yet, so if Klopas signed him doesn't that ultimately fall on Klopas?

    And you think DLC has the sole voice in the players he brings in and the starting line up? It just seems that the with Klopas having an increasing visibilty on the bench at away games, I would bet that he has more of a say in the day to day operations than most would think.

  • In reply to FrankFlopas:

    Klopas signed a former EPL leading scorer for his club, international player for Holland, and is 24 years old for 160k. Thats a good bit of business in my eyes. Not all signings are going to be a hit. Its not the John signing that has made this season the way it is right now. This season has come down to the defense not defending and costing us 9 points by letting up goals in the 80th minute and beyond (SJ 4/3 81',KC 5/15 89',Colorado 6/9 91', HOU 8/21, SEA 8/28 92', LA 9/4 91'). With those 9 points, we are in 6th place and not having this conversation. So it really comes down the the coaching and the players on the field.

    I'm going to assume that it was DLC that wanted Martinez and Umanzor because thats what was said. They come from the team that he coached last and as soon as he got here, those were the players that he went after.

  • In reply to DerSting:

    At last I was able to watch a Fire game down here in the St Louis wastelands. Unfortunately the first 45 was enough for me to want to sell my tickets to the upcoming Sounders match. The second half was sufficient recovery for me to hold off on the sale. I have tried to analyze what I saw in the most even-handed way: first we continue to be plagued by injuries and unavailable players such as Segares, Pappa, and Thorrington. Second, one of our DP's is still not in shape and unfamiliar with MLS play. That's the best excuses I can come up with. On the other side of the ledger we have first, several dysfunctional members of the team. (Conde is a loose cannon, makes several awful plays per game including fouls that could be disastrous. I can't speak to his effect on the locker room but I can't believe that he is the type to help bring the team together -- drop him; Collins John has done nothing all year IMO and he's not inexpensive -- drop him; Freddie L is more problematic. He is indeed a whiner even though some of the hits on him should indeed have been fouls or even yellows. Being a whiner casts a shadow over him as a team leader. Give him till the end of the year to improve his attitude and become a real team leader. However he should hereafter always be played as the central attacking mid -- do you here that DLC?? Finally, coach DLC!! I sympathize with him for two things: the unavailability of his best 11 throughout the year and for the uniqueness of MLS play which I'm sure has been difficult to understand and adjust to. However, his lineup tinkering has got to stop !!! Conde is a central defender. Ljundberg is the central playmaker and Castillo is up front!!! As much as I love what he wants to do -- play from the back, short quick passing, possession ball -- The Fire is not a team that can play "TOTAL FOOTBALL" (nor can any other teams in MLS). Therefore they need to have as many players as possible playing in their positions of strength. If half of your starters are injured, then replace them and leave the other half where they are their strongest. This team needs as much stability as possible and it isn't getting it when nobody knows where they will be playing from one game to the next !!! Go Fire.

  • In reply to shortpasses:

    Something for DLC's bulletin board from Paul Gardner: "...a sharp, intuitive understanding between the players -- and without that, you can forget about flowing soccer". For that to happen you need time and consistency !!!

  • In reply to shortpasses:

    Time is the key word there.

  • In reply to shortpasses:

    we suck :(

  • In reply to longoria3:

    If the Fire believed in truth in advertising they would call the team the non-fighting Bridgeview WeSuk,
    not to be confused with the Bridgeport WeSux, which are the White Sox.
    The most discouraging thing isn't losing or ties, but playing with such passivity, the last time they showed any Fire was the Galaxy game in L.A.
    Like a jerk, I renewed over a month ago, don't know if I can suffer through another season like this.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    the fire only played well in LA for about 20 minutes. the rest of the game was spent bunkering and fending off galaxy attacks

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    I know Baggio wasn't the best yesterday.. but I would rather him pay the holding and take off pause if we are going to push forward.. Pause offers only negative passes it seems..

    Also Conde has been crap all season. Our CBs are all average at best, that is the main reason i think why we are struggling.. Conde has been terrible, Brown ( love him) but he is old and slow which create problems, and Dasan is good for a blunder a game, then there is Watson who is young and needs time.

    That being said our vaunted attack is not doing what it needs to, for a coach that wants to play possession.. it seems we have a bunch of dribblers who lose possession , banner, nyarko,pappa, freddie, castillo.. where is the pass and move he was supposed to push?

    Just frustrated.. I would like to see this diamond 4-4-2 next game

    Kinney - Brown - Krol - Sega
    --- baggio----
    Nyarko------------------Pappa (Carr is pappa still hurt)
    -------ljunberg----
    ------Castillo
    ---------------John

  • In reply to lijien:

    The diamond seemed to work in the second half. I've said many times that Castillo is not a left mid. He should be playing the withdrawn striker position with Ljungberg playing the CAM. Baggio has done well as the second holding mid but he's just not fast enough to play that position alone. Neither is Pause but he's still the best option for that spot.

  • In reply to cesba:

    The reason I prefer Baggio is that he seems to make better runs and has more vision.. Pause is a bit better defensively, but he kills the attack often by not making a penetrating pass, instead he almost always plays a back pass..

  • In reply to lijien:

    Pause is the most underrated player on this team. Ask anybody that has played the game at a decently high level growing up and knows what they are talking about and they will tell you that the holding, defensive, midfielder is the most important player on the field. It's not Logans job to make that "penetrating pass". It's his job to clog up the middle and win the ball back. Get the ball and give it to a player that should be on the ball like Ljungberg or Pappa. If Pause doesn't play will never have the ball and just be running around for 90 minutes trying to get it back.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    I disagree... While Pause is good at breaking up the play, he doesn't forward the play on. The best DM/Holding mids can break the play up and then play the ball forward. If he can't do that we are essentially playing with a back 5.

    And he doesn't give the ball to Pappa or Ljunberg.. he routinely plays it back to our CBs or to the FBs..if he did get it to our attackers i wouldn't have a problem.

  • In reply to lijien:

    Can we agree that Makelele is the best holding midfielder in recent memory. I mean they named the position after him. He offered nothing to the attack. All he did was win the ball and then get it off his foot. He has played 540 professional matches and has 16 goals. Chelsea doesn't win all those titles without him. If Pause isn't on the field for us we are essentially playing with a front 6 and a back 4. Not every player needs to be attack minded that isnt a defender. Pause needs to be on the field for us if healthy.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    I love to beat a dead horse !!! Sam Stejskal: "The Fire would be wise to begin next Saturday

  • In reply to shortpasses:

    Here's Sam's full article
    http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/fire-absences-hurt-troubles-run-deep

    Castillo is not a left mid and I thought the initial idea behind bringing in Ljungberg was to play him centrally. It's something we've discussed for a while now.

  • In reply to shortpasses:

    Ives Galarcep writes about the Fire and TFC's ineptitude this weekend......
    http://msn.foxsports.com/foxsoccer/mls/story/chicago-toronto-missing-the-spark-for-mls-playoffs

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    I can see next year's ad campaign already....
    "We are the WeSuk".

  • In reply to longoria3:

    It seems like the Fire have learned from the Cubs. Sign a couple of big names to generate excitement right around renewal time, then next year when nothing has changed, it is too late.

    I agree with you lonecoyote in that playing with intensity and heart has been lost. When teams played the Fire in the past they knew it was going to be a battle, now they know they will at least get a point out of it because they can't string more than 3 passes together! It would seem that the bar has been lowered, but hey we have 2 designated players so it all works out!

  • What a sorry state the fire are in, they do not know who they are anymore. The sheer amount of fundamental errors are ridiculous. The defensive lapses were scary, the lack of continuity Between ANY of the players at this point in the season does not provide me any confidence in the coaching staff. There is no discipline on the pitch. Maybe Freddie should retire and become a referee trainer, he puts more effort into complaining to the refs than any other thing he does on the field.

  • What is going ON?

  • I appreciate the comment DJ, but I can assure you that nothing I write is affected by any relationship with the coach or anyone else in the Fire organization.

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