Fire 0 Sounders 0 - Recap and Ratings

After an entertaining first half from both sides the Fire ultimately concluded another match at home in much the same fashion as the previous four games at Toyota Park, without a full three points.  That's not to say there weren't positives to be taken away because there were.  Set piece defending was much improved after an emphasis was placed on improving the way the team approaches dead balls during the week.  Offensively the side looked cohesive and prepared throughout the first forty five minutes and only another good effort from Kasey Keller kept them off the board. 

Unfortunately, despite the positives, that sounds eerily similar to much of the post game analysis throughout the first eleven matches of the season.  Playing well in stretches and missed opportunities have been a common theme throughout the current 10 game winless streak although there seems to be a renewed energy as a result of the coaching change last Monday. 

There's still a long way to go in the MLS season but Frank Klopas has got to find a way to begin maximizing points on home turf if the Fire are to seriously contend for a playoff spot.  Consistently winning at home is the mark of good teams and the next two matches at Toyota Park won't be easy.  Real Salt Lake and New York visit to close out the month of June.   

Player Ratings

GK Sean Johnson (7) - Johnson kept Seattle from taking the lead early with a diving save of a Lamar Neagle header in the sixth minute.  He recorded three saves, all in the first half but that one was by far the most difficult.  Looked relaxed and in command and even improved on balls in the air.

D Gonzalo Segares (6) - Combined well with Bone on the left side in the first half but did sky a one-time chance over the cross bar from a corner kick in the 40th minute.  Solid defensively on the left side.

D Yamith Cuesta (6) - Fire defenders were solid all night in keeping only the second clean sheet of the season.  Cuesta and Gibbs were both strong in the middle.

D Cory Gibbs (6) - Seattle failed to register a shot on goal in the second half and set piece defending was also greatly improved as a whole.  Other than the shot in the sixth minute Seattle rarely threatened in the box.

D Bratislav Ristic (6) - His best game at right back of the last three which he has started.  Did get beat in the ninth minute forcing Johnson into his second save of the match.  Did well on Montero once he entered the match in the second half.

M Logan Pause (6) - Played a solid game in the middle particularly in the first half as the Fire midfield seemed able to control and push forward to front runners impressively.  The second half was not so good as Seattle regained possesion but rarely threatened.

M Daniel Paladini (6) - Solid effort from Paladini as well. His 27th minute long distance strike forced Keller into his best save of the night.  Followed up with a shot that just missed wide two minutes later.  Combined well with Pause.

M Dominic Oduro (5) - Will also create chances with pure speed, such as the run which led to a 26th minute corner kick after chasing down a ball that seemed destined for a goal kick and another run that forced a Seattle foul from 20 yards out but you'd just like to see him develop another move other than the rush to his right. 

M Corben Bone (6) - A good match on the left side for the second year player.  Very active first half saw Bone involved in several plays that led to scoring chances.  Took over corner kick duties in Pappa's absense and actually provided better service.  Moved to a withdrawn forward spot in the 54th minute when Nyarko entered the match before being subbed out in the 67th.

F Diego Chaves (6) - Did well to move the ball in the first half but continued his spell of bad luck on the finishing end.  Forced Keller into another big save in the 31st minute and had another shot on goal in the 12th that was easily handled by the Seattle keeper.  Once he was subbed out in the 54th minute the offense seemed to stall.  Movement and chances were minimal from that point on.

F Cristian Nazirit (5) - Decent effort from Nazirit as well causing some problems with his size.  Downside was no clear cut chances on net and took a badly struck free kick attempt from 20 yards out in the 37th minute. 

M Patrick Nyarko (5) - Entered the game in the 54th minute for Chaves and slotted into left mid as Bone moved forward.  Did not appear hesitant after recovering from concussion symptoms and did manage a few cross attempts but none were of a dangerous variety. 

F Gaston Puearari (5) - Came into the match in the 67th minute for Bone and touches were hard to come by until a last second cross in extra time narrowly missed Oduro racing toward Keller's net.  

F Orr Barouch (5) - Subbed in for Nazirit in the 78th but like Puerari didn't see much of the ball.  The match seemed destined for a 0-0 draw at that point. 

C Frank Klopas (5) - Set piece defending appeared markedly improved over the first eleven matches and the team seemed to have a good flow in the first half.  The plan of attack against Seattle also worked but substitutions early in the second half changed the dynamic of the side and the team was not the same after Chaves' departure.  "We tried to push the game in the second half with the guys we brought in.  I believe in my players and that's why you have subs.  We didn't get the win but I felt there were alot of positives going away from this game," said Klopas after the match.

You can listen to his entire post game press conference here

Next Up

The opener of Sporting Kansas City's Livestrong Sporting Park on Thursday night.  Another stadium opener won't be easy even against a struggling KC team missing several players to international duty.    


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  • Man, I hate when I write a long message and it doesn't go through.

    Anyway, in an abbreviated note...I liked Klopas subs regardless of it still resulting in a tie. He made offensive substitutions, went for the win, and it almost worked with Puerari's cross there at the end.

    Also, I'm feeling fairly optimistic about this team for the first time since starting 1-0-1. I know we had yet another tie, but seeing some of these more unknown players (to me, at least) play pretty well (like Paladini & Cuesta) and Johnson get his act together, it bodes well for the future. At this point, I'm really just hoping that we can develop a strong base of a squad to go into next year with a high draft pick and hopefully a DP or two for the entire year. I believe if the team does that, we could be much much more competitive and a pretty deep team.

  • Except for not picking up a win, I thought the Fire played pretty well, no one on the team looked particularly out of place. They appeared more organized with better pace and spacing than before. The absence of Pappa wasn't apparent and seemingly they had somewhat more open play then when he was in the lineup.
    They almost looked like a team that's starting to get on the same page. With more crisp and accurate passing they could get in the playoffs. I'm encouraged.

  • So, I still like our players, and I'd still love to get a win, or a bunch of wins. Remember when Blanco first got here, how his arrival helped? Maybe we are just a midfielder stud away from similar improvements. It is rough watching each game go from "looks good" for posession and attempts to "looks like the clock is running down and against us." As a fan, I have mixed feelings of hope and exhaustion.
    Let's hope KC is still bearable, even on the new home turf for them.

  • In reply to ChrisConnolly:

    Well, did not see it like the rest of you. Team still sputtering with only minor changes to line up. Chemistry problem with team identity issues holding them back. Winners just win! Get some new blood infused. Defenders leaving back post open, forwards not finishing open chances. Ouch! another tie at home no less.

  • In reply to bigdog:

    I hear you bigdog, let me clarify a bit. I wasn't happy with a tie, and thought the finishing was pretty much atrocious. What I feel good about is that some of our players are seeming to develop nicely, setting up a possibly a stronger future than I envisioned, say a month ago. Paladini, Cuesta, Bone are playing pretty well, Johnson had a very good game, and added to our current squad and new players next year, we could be right back in the mix. This year? Completely the opposite, I already gave up on the team besides maybe an Open Cup run a while back. I'm just watching for development and the future at this point.

    One thing I don't see though...chemistry problems? Seems like the team gets along well considering 1 measly win.

  • In reply to Drew:

    Chemistry not in locker rooms as I would have no idea but the team working together to get results. Players need to know what to expect from your partner on the pitch. Seems like we have selfish players who hold the ball. How many assists does Chavez have? What is his percentage of shots per finishes? With Klopas direct style we will open up to counter attacks as we saw in Sounders game. Seems like we are playing two different styles. Its not about how that individual plays its about how the team as a whole combines when they are in the game. Chemistry like in a good margarita.

  • In reply to Drew:

    With all the talk of the work on set piece defense, I was particularly interested in watching what the new scheme looked like. It was fairly obvious: take a guy and stay with him. See the ball and clear it. Every corner, every free kick was easily dealt with. Clearly CDLC's zonal scheme was the problem. It was not a "focus" issue at the end of games. Although I would have LOVED to have seen a victory saturday night, it was very nice to see a well organized defense that except for one play early on never looked threatened. Sean Johnson looked like the SJ we expected to see all year. Not sure, but maybe the coach was getting into his head in a bad way, and Frank is already building his confidence. Paladini has a canon of a shot when he can get it off without it being blocked. Keller made a great save to stop his shot in the first half. Pause, despite his offensive weakness, does so much defensively that he truly needs to be on the field. Oduro really is not as good of a wing as Nyarko is. Should he be up top with Chaves when Pappa gets back? Nyarko can advance the ball on his own and can almost always beat at least one player and make a pass to an advancing player in the box. The problem is the player in the box cannot finish. I feel a win coming. These guys have a new spirit and now have a coach that has them prepared to play.

  • He ain't joking. That Emperor (the Cubs) has been buck nakid so long we should all be filling in the chorus to sing back-up for Carlos.

  • WOW!

  • Henry Kissinger? Obviously Ratko Mladic is busy at the Hague but Bush, Blair and Cheney must be available.

  • 100% agree. That was the second time in two games that Nazarit took the free kick and it went horribly wrong. I think he might want to think about hanging out near the back post from now on.


    these two clubs have worked together in the pass, pardo is no where near his prime but in the mls he could still dish out nice passes

  • past*

  • "What the Hell is Klopas thinking by letting Nazirit continue to
    take Goal Scoring Opportunity Free Kicks???"
    That's two right into the wall in a week by Nazirit not a good result.
    "Frank wake up Nazirit is not the free kick specialist."
    Daniel Paladini would be a much better choice isn't that one of
    the reasons he is here???
    Would like to see Chavis and Puerari on the field at the same time
    with Orr Barouch starting instead of Nazirit.
    Have Nazirit warm the bench for a game going forward and see
    what that brings us.

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