The eighth and ninth place teams in the Eastern Conference played exactly like you would expect the eighth and ninth place teams in the Eastern Conference to play a Thurday night match. It wasn't pretty for either side as bad passing, conservative play, too many long balls, another crossbar, and a possible missed penalty call were the highlights of the night for the Fire. After completing their 11th consecutive match without a victory frustration is surely mounting as there has been little in terms of imaginative play in the last 120 minutes.
The first half saw a few chances from distance on solid shots from Corben Bone and Daniel Paladini as the Fire took a conservative approach in an attempt to ride through the emotion of a home opener. Unfortunately that was about it as both teams played a rather unattractive and disjointed 45 minutes. The second half saw the Fire waste a golden opportunity to take control of match as Jimmy Nielsen was red carded for handling the ball outside of the box on a goal scoring chance. Playing with ten men for the last twenty-three minutes the Fire seemed content to play long useless balls over the top that went nowhere. Kansas City was forced to play for counter attack chances as the Fire sloppily attempted to pass the ball back and forth as if unsure whether to push the ball on the ground or continue to hoof senseless long ball attempts downfield.
Kansas City was fortunate in the 80th minute when Orr Barouch rattled a rebound shot off the cross bar but the Fire might have been just as fortunate when Bratislav Ristic avoided a penalty call on a 97th minute challenge against Omar Bravo. Either way, both teams are were they deserve to be. Eighth and ninth in the East.
GK Sean Johnson (5) - Had four saves but wasn't really tested at any point. Is getting more comfortable in the air.
D Gonzalo Segares (5) - After struggling on a few runs from Kamara early he settled in and played a tight game. Not as involved with runs going forward as he usually is as the Fire took a very conservative approach in this match. Was beaten by Kamara in the 15th minute which resulted in a Bravo score called back for offsides.
D Yamith Cuesta (5) - Decent in the middle on clearances all night with the exception of a gaffe late in the first half which almost resulted in a chance for Bravo unmarked in front of the net.
D Cory Gibbs (5) - Paired along with Cuesta to limit KC chances in the box and prevent many good looks on goal. How much of that can be credited to good defending from Chicago or sheer incompetence from Kansas City is debatable.
D Bratislav Ristic (5) - Provided a fine service into Nazirit for a header attempt that was saved by Nielsen in the 31st minute. May have gotten away with one in the 85th minute as a silly, reckless challenge on Bravo in the box went unpunished since he appeared to initially get his foot on the ball. The Fire was fortunate this wasn't called a foul. Have I mentioned before that I don't think Ristic is a right back?
M Logan Pause (5) - Pause did what he's on the field to do. Get in the way of opposing players and pass the ball backward so defenders can hoof senseless 50/50 balls over the top of the opposition. Both Chicago and Kansas City are in dire need of a midfield general who can direct an offensive attack. Without a player in this position Pause is perhaps unfairly expected to do things which he just does not excel at and is not comfortable doing.
M Daniel Paladini (5) - Okay effort from Paladini but his second half game turned into not much more than attempting long distance prayer shots. Perhaps trying to compensate for the Fire's quota of long distance prayers in the absence of Marco Pappa. Had a good look in the 30th minute deflected out of bounds by KC and his long shot in the 80th minute was bobbled by Kronberg leading to Barouch's chance.
M Dominic Oduro (5) - Continues to be active and make defenders work just to keep up with him but his weakness was exposed in the 9th minute when a 3v2 counter was spoiled by a terrible pass behind Puerari that should have resulted in a shot on goal. Fell over himself in the 42nd minute after a Puerari pass put him into the box in a dangerous area. On the positive side his speed created the red card as Nielsen was forced to come out and play the ball. Also managed a hard left footed shot on target in the 42nd.
M Corben Bone (5) - Disappeared for long stretches but his 9th minute shot forced Nielsen into a save. Subbed out for Nyarko in the 56th minute.
F Gaston Puerari (5) - Has not found his groove since the first few games of the year when he was paired up top with Chaves. Did provide a few decent passes which led to opportunities but his touches as a whole were rather poor as both teams battled in a turnover fest. His pass to Oduro led to Nielsen's red card. Subbed out in the 71st for Chaves.
F Cristian Nazirit (5) - The header in the 30th minute was the highlight of the night for Nazirit. A terribly taken free kick from 19 yards out wasted the chance created by Nielsen's red card. This should be the last free kick chance for Nazirit for a while since this is the third consecutive match featuring a horribly taken free kick chance. Subbed out in the 77th minute.
M Patrick Nyarko (5) - Entered the match in the 56th minute for Bone but didn't manage to get much done. Seemed to have room to take on defenders on several opportunities but instead chose to slow the attack down and pass laterally or backwards.
F Diego Chaves (5) - Came into match in the 71st minute for Puerari and contributed a few sloppy touches and turnovers as the Fire struggled to complete passes.
F Orr Barouch (5) - Subbed in for Nazirit in the 77th and promptly hit the crossbar in the 80th minute after Kronberg bobbled Paladini's long shot. Not much from Barouch after that.
C Frank Klopas (5) - The Fire came out conservatively on the road trying to withstand a Kansas City attack that never really showed up. An attempt to play more direct resulted in numerous 50/50 balls that led to nothing. There was also no apparent sense of urgency in the side after the Fire went up ten men. A late foul call in the 8th minute of second half stoppage time resulted in the Fire wasting almost thirty seconds in order for Paladini to take a harmless 40 yard shot attempt. Picking up a point on the road is generally a good thing unless it's against the worst team in the league while playing up a man for 23-plus minutes. Nazirit should also be relieved of free kick duty in favor of Paladini.
A visit to Columbus where the Crew seldom lose. Columbus defeated Real Salt Lake at home last weekend.