Union 2 Fire 1 - Recap and Ratings

The worst start in club history continues to get worse as a promising fixture list during the month of May has yielded only two points with one match remaining.  In increasingly frustrating fashion the Fire didn't play a terrible game and the effort on the pitch was commendable but the results continue to mount against them.  Mistakes at inopportune times and breakdowns which allow goals far too easily continue to be recurring problems that haven't been corrected. 

This time Philadelphia scored twice on plays that looked fairly unthreatening.  The Union's first score came after a free kick was awarded to the left of the Fire goal.  Rather than an attempt to play the ball into the penalty area the Union passed back to the top of the box to Michael Farfan from about 30 yards away.  Farfan's shot wasn't particularly well struck but the combination of a slight deflection and a wall in front of Jon Conway was enough to put the Union on the board.  Ruiz's GOTW strike to give Philadelphia the win was impressive but Conway was also caught flat footed again on the play.  The score marked the first time this season that Philadelphia has managed to score more than one goal in a match. 

The Fire once again won the possession battle (53% to 47%) but they were unable to break down the Union's defense for clear chances until after Philadelphia took the lead.  For all the talk of effort and "being close", the story is getting old quickly. 

Player Ratings

GK Jon Conway (5) - He wasn't terrible in goal but as mentioned above he was caught flat footed twice and was unable to get high enough to get a hand on Ruiz's shot.  In fact,his feet barely left the ground.  Conway can't be blamed for the team's run of form or the continued defensive break downs but perhaps it is time to replace him with Sean Johnson.  Ten games into the season the Fire are playing to youth and the future of the club doesn't lie with Conway in goal.  You know what you have in Conway, it's time to find out what Johnson really has.  It can't get much worse.

D Bratislav Ristic (4) - Playing right back in place of Jalil Anibaba, Ristic is a capable fill in but he's a natural midfielder.  Consistent infringement earned him a yellow card in the 30th minute on a senseless grab of LeToux's shirt and his foul led to the free kick which set up Farfan's goal.  Not a particularly good outing for Ristic. 

D Cory Gibbs (5) - May have gotten a touch on Farfan's ball to deflect it into the net past Conway, otherwise he wasn't impressive either.  An awful back pass attempt to Conway in the 26th minute almost led to disaster.

D Yamith Cuesta (6) - Probably the best of the Fire defenders on the night.  Cleared several balls out of dangerous areas after teammates were beaten and also got involved in the offensive third early just missing on a header attempt in the 11th minute.

D Gonzalo Segares (5) - Decent night for Segares but he too was out of position on several occasions. 

M Daniel Paladini (5) - Provided a fine pass in traffic that freed Puerari in the 71st minute that should have been the Fire's second goal.  Did well in the passing game moving the ball forward to Fire attackers when needed.  Still finding his way defensively at the holding spot however, getting caught out of place on more than once occasion allowing too much space for Union attackers. Picked up his fourth yellow card in four matches.

M Corben Bone (5) - Not as aggressive in taking on defenders as he was in the second half last week but did find an unspectacular place moving the ball around in midfield.  Was head scratchingly substituted for Pause in the 60th minute with the game tied at 0-0.

M Marco Pappa (5) - Held on to the ball way too long on several occasions when a quick pass was called for.  Also went into "long distance prayer" mode late in the game unnecessarily.  Service on free kicks and corners continues to be an issue. 

M Dominic Oduro (6) - Will continue to cause problems for every outside back in MLS and this game was no different.  Not only did he score the only goal on a fine individual effort but he also created other chances with pure speed.  You have to wonder how Oduro has been in the league this long and defenders still haven't figured out that he will only go to his right. 

M Baggio Husidic (5) - A non factor for most of the night before being subbed out in DLC's double sub move in the 60th minute.  

F Diego Chaves (4) - May have aggravated the foot contusion injury that limited him in practice during the week.  Chaves' passing was uncharacteristically bad in the first half before being removed at half time.  He was also a non factor as the lone forward against the Union's tight defense. 

F Orr Barouch (5) - Came in at half time for Chaves but didn't really factor into any dangerous opportunities.  Appeared to fall back into midfield once Puerari entered the match and the Fire switched to a 4-4-2 with Oduro playing higher. 

M Logan Pause (5) - Came into the game in the 60th minute for Bone while the match was scoreless.  Cleared the weak free kick attempt that led to Ruiz's volley but he can't be faulted for that.  Made an effort to move the ball forward when the Fire were down 2-1, but that just isn't what Pause does best. 

F Gaston Puerari (5) - More lively than he has been as a midfielder in the 4-1-4-1 formation.  Came in for Husidic in the 60th minute and played as a withdrawn forward, where he is best suited to play.  Should have scored in the 71st minute but his shot headed for the net was cleared just before reaching the goal by Sheanon Williams.  Four minutes later Ruiz would score to give the Union the lead.

C Carlos De Los Cobos (4) - Okay, the Fire did win the possession battle but the Union controlled the play for about 20 minutes in the first half with little answer from Chicago.  A double substitution in the 60th minute bringing on Pause and Puerari for Bone and Husidic may have been an attempt to get more offensively in a 4-4-2 formation but the move to bring in Pause was wholly unnecessary when a central combination of Bone and Paladini would have been more threatening to Philadelphia.  I preached patience a year ago when the thought of a coaching change was discussed but time is running short for De Los Cobos with the season almost a third of the way over. 

Up Next

A US Open Cup match up with the San Jose Earthquakes in California on Tuesday night.  De Los Cobos may have looked ahead to this match up with Anibaba and Puerari starting on the bench in Philadelphia.  Cristian Nazirit may also get a look in this match. 

The Fire will also take on the same Earthquakes next Saturday night at Toyota Park.  If three points aren't picked up here the pressure will really mount on De Los Cobos.   



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  • The Fire need to change their style. trying to play a possessive passing game isn't working for them. They need to build up from the back. They should focus on being solid defensivly, and then play for the counter attack. With Puerari and Oduro, they have the players up top to do this, But they may have to make a few deals in July to have a solid defense. Boca or Cherundolo?

  • Completely agree with your assessment GR, especially on Pappa and CDLC's substitution calls. Really don't know at this point if it's in the Fire's best interest to keep him around for the season, even at cost to them, but I don't know that Klopas would can him midseason, either.

  • There should be a clean house. Klopas is the engineer of this mess and should accompany the coach out the door. The other individual is Javier the owners man that behind the scene has supported this mess. He is the guy that named a newspaper man with zero knowledge of soccer the president president of the te

  • Maybe we can make a deep Open Cup run. We'll be like Portsmouth of last year -- Get to the finals of the cup, and finish last in the league.

  • Part of me wants CDLC out now, bar none. The other part of me thinks that, at this point, I don't see what firing CDLC mid season does for us. With the team already in a state of flux, I don't think there is much to be gained by firing him now. On the flip side, if we did bring someone in soon, they would have the rest of the season to evaluate and then go from there.

    The downside is that the team can't afford constant personnel changes. Of course there will be some turnover year to year, but CDLC was given that talent he thought he needed to implement his system. Will the next coach be able to use that talent to take the team where he wants to take it? I am not so sure.

  • The issue is that there is some talent on the team but the coaching is so bad that the talent and game planning cannot develop. As I stated this mess is a result of a couple of great minds and they should all be gone. Look at Chivas they just went into New York and took three points. Portland is competitive in every game with a young coach that has experience in the league. The fire guys could travel to Mars to find athletics but they would never develop with the Gen manager and coach that they have directing the team. I hate to say this because everyone reacts in a negative fashion but in the days of Peter W we all looked forward to great talent team with talent that was developed by the coaching staff.

  • what does the club's chairman think of what is going on? talk about absentee ownership.

  • Any word on broadcast information for Tuesday's Cup game? I have Saturday's game DVR'd but after your review I think I'll wait a while on watching it.

  • Can you imagine what the Manchester United game is gong to be like. Manchester will have to bring along a local English high school team to meet the De Los Cabos team.

  • In reply to brokerjohn:

    friendly, doesn't matter anyway. the second half chicago and manchester will be playing their reserve squads.

  • In reply to brokerjohn:

    I understand all the frustration with Klopas (enormous turnover the past 2 years and what he's come up with so far has been weak) and DLC (team just isn't/hasn't produced results) but I also think, to be fair, the players should get their fair share of the blame. We rant and rave about Frank and Carlos, but what about not finishing, giving up weak goals, not producing based on expectations and talent and draft status, etc.? The players have let down the team and the front office and coach just as much as vice versa. Klopas has given DLC a mediocre team and DLC has done nothing with it and the players (most of them) haven't made the most of their opportunities. And while I'm at it, I'm not so sure Hauptman has given Klopas the resources to compete this year considering the huge turnover and now the lack of DP's, etc. He seems to be a tad on the cheap side this year, which is probably justifiable consider the economic environment and attendance and no sponsor (yet another failure of the organization)...but the failure starts at the top and has so perfectly worked it's way down all the way to the pitch. There's a lot more blame to go around than to the coach and gm.

    Now that I think about it, I think I'm pretty much just restating what Krasov said, and just including that the players deserve as much blame as anyone. What a group of mediocrity.

  • In reply to brokerjohn:

    GR, where is Julian Posada in all this? It's bad enough to have an owner that is absent and doesn't talk to us, but for the team President to stay silent as well? Not that it would make the results better, but it would sure be nice if they actually talked to the fanbase and addressed our concerns. Communication seems to be sorely lacking in the Hauptman regime thus far.

  • In reply to brokerjohn:

    Freddy Adu. 3d youngest guy on the team. Hope he makes the most of the early birthday present.

  • The eternal optimist side of me is saying hey, sometimes teams actually pick up and get better results when their supposed "star" player is missing. Is this one of those times? Too much current reliance on Pappa to make the "big play"? uhhhh.... i hope so. Good for him, though, he seems to always score goals and play well for Guatemala. And I like most Guatemalans that I know, too, so it's good news all around.

  • Not only should DLC and Klopas be shown the door, so should the marketing people, the fan relations folks, the person in charge of parking, the people who sell beer, the kids selling the 50/50 tickets, even Sparky should go. Yes, we need to let the dogs out!
    I believe in the Fire's story that the team wants excellence on the field and in the community. I just don't see it happening on the field. DLC and Klopas are not putting out a product that can be sold to the public. If they want to see fans in the seats, they are going to need to start giving tickets away. If people are not buying tickets, how can Hauptman continue to throw money at this team? From a financial point of view, this club has got to be seriously hurting right now given the low attendance. When Hauptman bought the team, the team was a winner. Now...? With his people in place, they are going downhill fast.

    On second thought, maybe Sparky should be the new coach.

  • De Los Cobos needs to go NOW before we dig ourselves into an even deeper hole that we can't get out of. It's not too late to turn our season around, but there is no way we will do it with this guy leading the way.

  • I don't understand why he messed with a working formula or Gaston and Chaves. The only person it has worked for is Oduro. I think we should concede possession go to a counter game and maybe play a 4-3-3 with 2 d mids and a box to box guy and let gaston, chaves and pappa have more of a free role where is lack of D won't be as big a deal..

  • I don't know much at all about the financial realities of MLS teams but, if this were anything like the rest of the Pro sport leagues in the USA, I would be expecting the Fire to fold their franchise at the end of the year, if not sooner. I hate to say it but there's so much wrong here, perhaps that's what's needed.

  • Thank God there's no relegation or we'd be playing AAA ball next season. Man, they looked so good for the first 15 minutes or so. When PHI got the goal, I thought, Philly's gonna grind out another 1-0 "result". When we got the goal I hoped against hope. But when Williams' feet got tangled up in the ball and it stayed out I started to lose hope.

    I think all this team needs is confidence that they can finish these games out and get some W's. The difference between us and the 3 or 4 teams ahead of us miniscule. But, I fear we're all descending into a deep funk.

    PMA people! PMA! Two wins over the 'Quakes and we're done with May!

  • anyone from the fire?

    hahahahaha :(

  • In reply to Drew:

    Drew, I see a former Chicago Fire Carlos Bocanegra ;) However, why I don't see Buddle, Bunbury, Beasley or Bedoya is beyond me. Rogers, Wondolowski, Boernstein, Goodson and Altidore...BLAH!!! I take it Jay DeMerit is still not 100 percent healathy and Davies has ways to go before considering on that list.

  • In reply to longoria3:

    oh yeah....I forgot, Hercules Gomez should be considered on the USMNT as well.

  • The Fire have a good chance to pick up two wins against SJ. The downside of that is DLC will continue
    as coach.The Fire haven't played that badly, but just not quite good enough.
    Perhaps Nazirit will provide a lift, but nothing can make up the lack of a CMF.
    The defensive lapses continue to haunt the team and seems to lack leadership on the field.
    I'm not ready to give up on the season yet. DLC should put out his strongest and most talented
    players go out on the field and just play, no tinkering or fine tuning or playing players outside their natural positions. They may lose a few in the beginning, but eventually they will become more organized and consistant. They may not have the overall talent as L.A. or N.Y. but have enough talent
    to be one of the better playoff teams with the proper coach. They have some of the most talented younger players in the league and with a decent CMF who can provide some field leadership the
    Fire could become one of the top teams in the league

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    "They may not have the overall talent as L.A. or N.Y. but have enough talent to be one of the better playoff teams with the proper coach."- I have to respectfully disagree. And if you are right, then the players need to be held accountable. 1 win in 10 games...there's a lot of blame to pass around, and if they have top talent, then this is a bunch of underachieving players. I happen to think it's a mediocre squad with a mediocre coach and a mediocre gm and a mediocre owner.

  • In reply to Drew:

    ...but with GREAT fans! :)

  • In reply to Drew:

    Fire 'til I die. And I'm gettin' pretty close.

  • In reply to Drew:

    I think the Fire have played hard but not wisely. It's hard to hold the players accountable when DLC continues his tinkering with the line up, changing formations, having players play out of position. I'd agree with you if the Fire were being outplayed by a great margin, but this is not the case.
    The team needs continuity, consistantcy, and stability in order to develop.
    Their most glaring omission is the lack of a CMF and part of the lack of on the field leadership has to be be put at the feet of DLC due to his lack of leadership.

  • Humo is too cute to send to the pound. Besides, he has the most talent of everyone performing at TP lately.

  • Since the July transfer window opens up, I heard names like Seedorf, Riquelme, Hernandez and Pardo comes to mind...which of the big names on that list is more realistic for the Fire? While back I heard Pardo's name mentioned on the Fire's radar, since he plays defending midfielder, where does Logan Pause fit in?

  • In reply to longoria3:

    By July, it's most likely going to be too late. I'm really upset that this is the 2nd year in a row that they've gone into the season without a DP. Teams need time to jell and playing it cheap by paying for 1/2 a year is not ok in my book. I know, no team has won with a DP, blah blah blah. I believe that's a coincidence more than a result of DP's not providing value. It is an indication that it's not the end all be all, but if the rest of the team isn't that good, it sure would have been nice to have a top end talent (MLS wise) at CAM or F this year.

    At this point, I'd prefer the team just play out the season, do what they can to develop their young talent, save cash for a full season DP (or two!) next year, get some high draft picks and a high allocation spot. It's pretty clear that this year is already a lost season, might as well do everything possible to make future ones successful.

  • Thanks for the update. I may have sounded a tad harsh, I am sure Andrew and company care deeply. It's just really hard for this once proud franchise to be in the spot it's in. Add to that the fact of a very unpopular coach right now, and there aren't many happy campers around TP. Here's to hoping it only gets better from here.

  • Also, a big name player that is currently a free agent is German national player Torsten Frings. IMO, he has an upside than Pardo but is a 1,000,000 to 1 shot on him.

  • Yep , a loss at home to SJ will start the coaching pressure cooker going, Carlos seems like a good man and I wish it would turn around but the bottom line is this team has one win in 11 games

  • Yeah, we're talking about a bad coaching scenario. Fold the team?? Mmmkay. Move along.

  • In reply to DFBJeff:

    But my point is that's just one of a growing list of issues that have developed over the last year or so with the Fire. Yeah, my premise that the franchise might fold is a bit over the top. But in a relatively minor pro league you just can't afford to let so many aspects of the operation simply drift, seemingly unattended and out-of-control. And in this economy... well, you gotta wonder if the owner isn't taking any visible steps to put things back on course, is he thinking fold? Mind you, I'm not convinced of this. But they've got me wondering. And, maybe, the baggage of bad circumstances at some point make it more viable to let a Chicago franchise go under so that a new one can take it's place, unburdened by all those bad moves.

  • I'd be shocked if the Fire dropped either of this week's games and Klopas didn't can CDLC. It's obvious across fan circles that the Philly game broke our collective backs. And I know the players are tired of the current situation. Klopas made some moves in the offseason that were head scratchers, but seemed (at least in the short term) to work out. If those SJ games are dropped (either or both), and no action is taken, I won't be surprised, but I'll be disappointed.

  • In reply to DFBJeff:

    I am lloking at the MLS standings, the last playoff spot belongs to Columbus with 13 points. It is not as bad what fans make it out to be; there is still plenty of time to catch some ground.

  • will you be taking questions from us to ask our chairman/owner?

  • Plus, if your are going to contract a sports franchise, it has to be at least 2 teams not just one and it gonna cost money for that to happen. Besides, contraction talk is nonsense and Chicago is one of the biggest markets in the US along with Philly, Boston, Los Angeles and New York.

  • As a LONG time Cubs fan who remembers Ron Santo as a rookie, I'm not so concerned about the performance of the team as I am about the poor management and marketing, i.e. lack of english language radio (& sometimes TV) coverage, poor location of Toyota Park with limited public transit access, failure to get a team sponsor, etc. These problems combine to suggest (in my mind) that perhaps management isn't really committed to making this a successful franchise. The team performance may have left me feeling more negative than before. But I'm much more concerned about the committment of the ownership and management of the Fire. I still think there is some reason for optimism yet with this group on the field. They're young and still learning. Could just be the Cub fan/eternal optimist in me though...

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