At the half way point of the MLS season (17 games) the Fire have accumulated an incredible 11 draws. Only one short of tying the club record for draws in a season (12) set in 2009. They are only three ties away from equalling the MLS record for most deadlocks in a season as well. The record is 14 set by FC Dallas last season. That Dallas side drew 14 times in 30 matches but only lost 4 times during the regular season. The Fire currently stand at 2-4-11 on 17 points. Good enough to stay above only New England and Toronto FC in the Eastern Conference.
After a generally uneventful and ineffective first half that saw New York enter the break with a 1-0 lead courtesy of a defensive blunder in the back the Fire bounced back to control the play in the final forty minutes. Although they managed to outshoot New York 9-1 in the second half only Marco Pappa's long distance bouncer managed to get by Bouna Condoul, who should have done better to deny the opportunity.
The same story continues to materialize match after match. Enough chances are created to present an opportunity for wins but time and again Fire attackers come up empty handed. Decision making in the final third continues to appear questionable as players seem to be pressing into badly timed off balance shots when a pass to a teammate is required. When chances are generated for clear shots the final clinical touch seems to be always lacking.
Production out of central midfield again was non existent but the wingers continue to press forward to make some noise although the results aren't necessarily there.
GK Sean Johnson (6) - Three saves in the first half including a good tip block of Dane Richards shot in the 21st and a diving save in the 26th to deny Joel Lindpere highlighted Johnson's day. Rarely tested in the second as New York only managed one errant shot on goal.
D Jalil Anibaba (6) - Fairly solid defensively against Lindpere and New York's talented attackers but his passing and possesion need to improve.
D Yamith Cuesta (5) - Fair day against DeRosario and Henry but his botched clearance attempt right at Lindpere led to a gift of a goal for the Red Bulls.
D Cory Gibbs (6) - Solid in back in denying DeRosario on more than one occasion. Henry was not dangerous throughout the match as his touches in dangerous spots were very limited.
D Gonzalo Segares (6) - Not as dominant against Richards as he has been in the past but still good enough to keep New York's speedy right back at bay with the exception of one or two touches. Did provide a few adequate crosses into the box and Fire midfielders also missed him on a few runs going forward.
M Daniel Paladini (5) - He was okay in place of Logan Pause at the holding midfield spot but he'll miss the next match due to yellow cards after picking up a rather soft yellow in the 37th minute. His one free kick chance was struck directly at Condoul in the 47th.
M Marco Pappa (7) - Managed to score the Fire's only goal although he may have benefitted from some questionable goalkeeping. A free kick attempt in the 54th minute just missed wide and he provided a fantastic 50 yard ball in the 80th minute that sent in Chaves for a scoring chance. One other long distance attempt on frame in the 69th minute was handled easily by Condoul. Left the match in the 82nd minute and Klopas indicated that he may have been tired but he did go down clutching his leg just minutes before then spent additional time in the trainer's room getting treatment after the match.
M Baggio Husidic (5) - Entrusted with corner kick duties against a team that allowed 3 scores from corner kicks the week before. Service wasn't terrible but nothing was dangerous enough to provide a quality chance. Rarely involved going forward and subbed out in the 69th.
M Patrick Nyarko (5) - After a relatively quiet first half he improved his activity in the second but his only real chance came on an 87th minute shot that was struck high over the crossbar. Beat Solli on a run into the box in the 90th minute only to find no one making a run into the area behind him.
F Dominic Oduro (5) - Moved up into a forward spot after playing mostly in midfield this year. All that pace and very little touch makes for frustrating play at times. Seemed not to be on the same page with his strike partner and midfielders on more than one occasion when a pass should have been made instead of a shot and vice versa.
F Orr Barouch (5) - Managed a few shots early although none were on target. Just missed connecting on a header that was sent wide in the 32nd minute. A good ball sprang Oduro in the 47th resulting in a corner kick chance. Decent outing although results were lacking much like the rest of the Fire attackers. Subbed out in the 59th.
F Diego Chaves (5) - Came on for Barouch and did force Condoul into a difficult save in the 80th minute after an effective run onto Pappa's long cross field pass. Stood at the 15 in the 90th minute wide open as Oduro floated an off balance shot over the cross bar.
M Corben Bone (5) - Replaced Husidic in the 69th. Highlight was a through ball setting up Segares in the 89th minute but otherwise didn't show much.
M Gabriel Ferrari (5) - Came in for Pappa in the 82nd and almost benefitted from a botched Condoul clearance but not much else.
C Frank Klopas (5) - The substitutions seemed to be the right moves with Chaves replacing Barouch and Bone coming into the midfield in an attempt to push the game. The team came out a bit flat to start but the game plan against New York seemed to talk hold in the second half. At some point, someone has got to step forward and finish a scoring chance when given the opportunity. If not, the US Open Cup may be all that Chicago is playing for this season. You can listen to his post game press conference here.
The Fire travel to New York on Monday morning to prepare for a USOC match against the Rochester Rhinos on Tuesday night. The match will be streamed live at Chicago-Fire.com.