Fire 3 Sporting Kansas City 2 - Recap and Ratings

The Fire are off to a positive start in 2011 after defeating Sporting Kansas City 3-2 in front of a frigid 12,157 fans in Bridgeview.  Defending home turf has been an issue over the last two seasons but the Fire have followed a positive result in Dallas with a win at home.  "I remember last season there were some matches we played good and the result wasn't with us. I need to take care of this situation because I need to manage the moments in the game to get the result," said Carlos De Los Cobos. 

The Fire continued to create chances as they did last week.  The offensive spark plug once again was Gaston Puerari who is adding a dimension to the Fire attack that was missing in 2010.  Puerari is frustraing defenders with speed and high pressure opening opportunities for Diego Chaves and Marco Pappa.  The Uruguayan attacker also drew a red card from an opposing player for the second consecutive week. 

Defensively the Fire played relatively well with the exception of the two isolated plays which led to the Kansas City goals.  Sean Johnson took responsibility for the first goal after a short hop from a cross escaped him.  "I definitely should have handled it better.  The ball came across and I just should have gotten my body around it a little bit better," said Johnson. 

The second goal was simply a result of a terrible back pass attempt by Gonzalo Segares that was intercepted by Teal Bunbury sending him in alone in front of Johnson's goal.  That mistake made the game closer than it should have been but Kansas City did put up a fight despite being a man down for 60 minutes. 

Player Ratings

GK Sean Johnson (6) - Johnson muffed the bounce on the first KC goal but also saved an own goal with an acrobatic tip of a cleared header from a Kansas City free kick in 44th minute.  Seemed a little more steady in the air this week. 

D Jalil Anibaba (6) - Handled Omar Bravo pretty well 1v1 in the first half before Bravo's exit.  Kansas City tried to test the match up early and the rookie responded. Got into the attack and possesion a little more in the second half as well. 

D Cory Gibbs (6) - Gibbs helpled the Fire limited Kansas City's opportunities.  He also had a chance to contribute offensively but overshot the goal on an early Fire chance in the second minute.  Solid outing.

D Josip Mikulic (6) - Appears to be a rock solid central defender after the first two matches of the season. Knows when to step up and challenge and when to stay back.  This guy may be just as important an addition as Puerari and Chaves.

D Gonzalo Segares (5) - Had a decent first half but struggled in the second.  His failed back pass to Anibaba set up Bunbury's goal and had a few issues with Sapong late.

M Logan Pause (6) - Pause was solid again while fully embracing the role of team captain.  The Fire alllowed limited opportunities but Kansas City enjoyed a little too much possesion for being a man down for an hour.  Pause also is more involved in the attack going forward than he has been in the past making several runs that could have resulted in chances while moving the ball forward positively.

M Mike Videira (6) - Sharing the holding midifield role along with Pause, he does provide another workmanlike defender who can also play forward.  His pass to Puerari led to the Fire's second goal. 

M Patrick Nyarko (5) - Still seems to be hesitant to shoot on goal when an opportunity to be more selfish arises.  As an example, Gibbs' early shot on goal was a result of a passed shooting chance from Nyarko in the box.  Was also hesitant to charge forward after Pappa dribbled through defenders to create a chance in the 16th minute inside of the area.  Improved as the game went on.

M Marco Pappa (7) - Assisted on Puerari's goal and showed some of the ability to create and be more "dynamic" that the Fire is looking for.  While talking about his goal after the match, Josip Mikulic jokingly compared him to Messi.  Also forced Nielsen to work on several other chances while managing to convert his goal with a right footed shot. 

F Gaston Puerari (7) - He's changed the way the Fire will have to be defended and works very well with his strike partner in Chaves.  Finished his chance in clinical fashion after missing the break away opportunity last week in Dallas.  Puerari is everything Nery Castillo should have been at a fraction of the cost.

F Diego Chaves (7) - Buried a rocket shot into the upper netting on the penalty kick attempt to give the Fire the lead.  Passed the ball well and kept the offense moving when he had to as well.  Set up Barouch for a break away chance in the 81st minute. Forced Nielsen into a difficult save in the 47th. 

F Orr Barouch (6) - More invlolved in short action as a sub than he was last week.  Came on for Puerari in the 74th minute.

F Dominic Oduro (NR) - Entered the match in the 90th minute for Chaves.

D Dasan Robinson (NR) - Came on in stoppage time for Nyarko.

C Carlos De Los Cobos (6) - The Fire needed a win at home in order to give the result in Dallas any resonance and they got it.  The team started the match in a 4-4-2 alignment and briefly used the 3-5-2 after Bravo's red card.  They will need to cut down on careless mistakes such as the two flubs which led to KC's two scores.  Other than those two isolated plays, the Fire did what was needed to win. 

Notes:

De Los Cobos on the US Open Cup match against Colorado on Wednesday, "We're going to play with our best on the field.  We want to play with responsibility.  We know last year's result was poor.  We're going to try to win the game."

Gaston Puerari says the hip injury which caused him to miss training time during the week is nothing and he'll be fine going forward. 

Logan Pause became the youngest Fire player ever (29) to reach 200 regular season games played.  He is the 61st player in MLS history to do so. 

Listen to De Los Cobos' complete post game press conference here.   

 

Comments

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  • If CDLC said playing with the best team in USOC then we have to believe him, right? I am still impressed how how he spoke in English during the conference, he's getting there.

  • In reply to Adam25:

    They should play the first team on Wednesday since they dont have a game next weekend.

  • In reply to Adam25:

    Good stuff. Im glad we were able to hold on to the win, as I think we definitely deserved the points. After Bunbury's goal (off of that terrible Segares backpass) I thought we were in for another edition of last year's typical point giveaway. I'll admit to being a bit scared when Bunbury came in, but Fire kept him caged enough. I really enjoyed watching Anibaba, especially against Bravo in the first half. I think I agree with all of your ratings there.

    What I am very excited about is our offense. Perauri and Chaves seem to have a great understanding of each other, and Nyarko and Pappa are going to reap the benefits as teams have to choose which speedsters they want to try and stop. We should do well against any teas with old/slow defenders. Peurari has 2 breakaways that drew red cards in back to back weeks. A high line is not smart against the Fire, especially if you're not particularly good at it.

    Gotta rack up the points before league defenses start gelling. Next 3 games are away and will be a good test. Colorado is always strong and will be tough for our defense, Sounders play on fake grass and have a great home field advantage, and the Timbers... well they look like crap right now, but it's the 3rd game of 3 away. Don't see why we shouldn't get 5-6 points from then though.

    And then they're greeted by the great Galaxy when they return to TP! Can't wait.

  • In reply to RedLine55:

    and yes, i realize i misread the next 3 games! I was thinking in my head that the USOC game vs Colorado was "away", even though it's technically home in peoria. My thoughts on the 2 actual away league games still stand, though! ha

  • In reply to RedLine55:

    I was surprised by the low turnout. My son and I went to the game and thought the crowd was a little quiet. I thought I saw Bravo switch sides for awhile because he was getting stymied by JA. Is that right? There is no doubt SJ should hav smothered the ball on he first goal. The second goal was just a huge mistake. Overall, the biggest difference between this team and last year's team is that this year there seems to be much bigger willingness to work the ball foward rather than sending long balls over the top. The passing leading up to the second goal was truly wonderful. This group works really hard especially Puerrari. He never gives up. Chaves is a tough player who doesn't seem to mind getting right into the chops of any central defender he feels fouled him or Puerrari. Its nice to see these guys fighting for each other. Maybe the cohesiveness that the Front Office has been talking about whenever given the opportunity is really showing up. I'm feeling very positive about this team.

  • In reply to SoccerNewbie:

    I'm pretty sure the weather scared quite a few people off. It was pretty cold especially when the wind kicked up.

    Bravo and Sapong did switch positions for a short period atter Anibaba stifled Bravo a few times.

  • In reply to cesba:

    I agree about the attendance however, it was cold at Rio Tinto and they packed the house with 20,000+ Still a little disappointing. Hoping the Fire faithful will pack Toyota Park in games to come. Sooner or later it would be nice if the Fire organization actually made some money at the end of the year with ticket sales.

  • In reply to TKing:

    They are in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions league. Won the title several years ago. They are unstoppable at home. We missed the playoffs, more than half the team is brand new, and we really haven't done anything to capture the local media attention. We are pretty much where we were in 1998. Nobody expected anything from us then and nobody expects anything from us now. You know how that turned out in 1998. ;)

  • In reply to TKing:

    anybody notice that pappa was a little lazy on tracking back? there were numerous times he let the SKC rightback go by him leaving him wide open on the wing and especially free kicks.

  • In reply to firefan1998:

    yeah i noticed that a few times, pappa should almost be playing as a forward - he is a fair bit of a selfish player too. selfish is not always a bad thing (nyarko could be a bit more selfish for his own good)

  • In reply to firefan1998:

    As expected Manchester United is the MLS All Star Game opponent again this year........

    http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/manchester-united-return-2011-att-mls-all-star-game

  • In reply to cesba:

    that sucks, i was hoping for some new opponent this year.

  • In reply to cesba:

    GR and Fire Confidential participants -- After perusing the comments on this weekend's game, I was suddenly struck at the civilized level of discussion. It's refreshing to see people disagreeing without resorting to terms like moron, jerk etc. Compliments to everyone, especially GR. BTW -- I deserve some sympathy! I will be freezing my butt off in Peoria while you all are cozily watching a pod stream!!! I was really happy to hear that DLC is going with his first string.

  • In reply to SoccerNewbie:

    Okay...it is a stunt but you have like the approach Chad Johnson is taking along with the respect he's showing.......

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbV6cE1f8Xs&feature=youtu.be

  • In reply to cesba:

    He really is not a bad guy. You do have alot of idiots in the NFL playing receiver these days but Johnson is ok. He may say some things to fire up the players he plays against but he is only having fun and he has never hurt anyone or himself.

  • In reply to SoccerNewbie:

    Even though It was cold and Beer didn't help and my wife telling
    me that she is Freezing constantly I enjoyed the game.
    I like Shawn Johnson but the first Goal allowed was definitely
    his fault and I would like to know what Saga was thinking with that
    very poor backward pass that resulted in Kansas second goal.
    Good effort by the Fire and I think they got the Players that can
    make us proud. They just have to keep their Focus and continue to
    work for each other and not be selfish and look for the open man for the best shot on goal.

  • In reply to TigerJMS:

    i can't remember who made the horrible pass at the top of the box that led to the sequence of corners that led to that first goal, but i blame that player at least a small amount for that goal as well

  • In reply to SoccerNewbie:

    The turnout was not bad considering it was 30 degrees. Traditionally the home opener draws less if the weather is bad. 2 years ago it was cold and damp and the total was just a little over 10,000. Not a concern.

  • In reply to FireStingDoug:

    Not to mention the USA game was at 6pm... I know that kept a lot of my friends from going.

  • The "You're still the Wizards" chant made several people in the press box laugh out loud.

  • In reply to cesba:

    Direct TV thinks they are still the Wizards too , the marking on to top of the screen for the game called it Wizards at Fire.

  • In reply to cesba:

    Here is another spot where the Fire won yesterday , they scored 3 goals in front of the home fans. It still is in the best interest of soccer teams to play entertaining soccer at hometo keep the new fans coming. In the last year to year and a half the Fire has not won alot at home and have not scored alot of gooals at home , 3 goals at home is a win win win situation.

  • In reply to cesba:

    I usually only find slight fault with your ratings that are simply matters of opinion, but this set if full of real head scratchers. Looking at your scale I fail to see how Gonzalo, who has been a shadow of his former self since arriving from Cyprus last year and playing for the Fire, gets a 5 when he "Committed errors and was directly involved in negative plays on the pitch resulting in goals allowed" and "Provided little in terms of positive play." If we ended up with a tie I am certain Sega would be a 3. You gave Nyarko, someone who did not make a backpass that resulted in a goal, and who made some nice runs and passes in the final 3rd (Gaston mishandled one and Gibbs the other), the same grade. Is Nyarko being punished for having a higher talent level? Pappa, who did his best Messi impression on the 3rd spectacular goal, and sent through the brilliant pass to release Puerari that led to the PK and Bravo's Red AND assisted on Puerari's lone goal (that's being involved in all 3 scores BTW) gets a seven? Would he have to score a hat trick and block a PK to get an 8? It was the definition of a MOTM performance, probably a 9. The third rating I find fault with is Anibaba's, without Sean John making a huge save Anibaba scores an own goal and has a 4 rating. My reading of your scale- Pappa was a 9, Sega a 4, and Anibaba a 5. I would give Nyarko a 6 but I can see him getting a 5 as long as a player who was clearly much worse (Sega) is rated as being clearly much worse. A friend noted yesterday that Sega might be the new Fire version of Francis Okaroh, a really good player who through injury or age is just a shell of his former self.

  • In reply to milicz:

    I've tried to set some guidelines for the grades but they're still for the most part subjective, which makes for good conversation in the comments section. ;)
    Segares definitely had a rough second half and could have been a tick lower if Sapong would have broken away from him in a more dangerous area or the terrible back pass would have cost them points. I thought he was decent in the first half which kept his number at 5. I can see your points about Pappa, he was outstanding along with Puerari.

  • In reply to milicz:

    Segares might indeed be a shell of his former self but last week in Dallas I thought he was very good so hoping yesterday was a blip rather than a sign of things to come. Agree that Pappa was immense. I wonder if Johnson' error may be a sign of errors to come as he was poor in Dallas. he has great athletic ability but waving at crosses in Dallas and mishandling the first KC goal reminds me that he is far from the finished product.

  • In reply to Celt:

    last season it seemed sean johnson just reacted immediately to any situation and was very decisive

    this season it seems he is thinking too much - perhaps the US national team influence didnt have a good effect?

  • In reply to cesba:

    The SKC folks really livened up the Tilted Kilt after the game. They were in full voice for the US game. It's great to see the away support, especially when they can't taunt us after a victory.

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