Fire 1 Chivas USA 1 - Recap and Ratings

 The Fire have now equalled the all-time franchise record for stalemates in one season with an incredible 2-4-12 record.  This time an energetic first twenty six minutes which saw numerous wasted opportunities to bury the home side before a Dominic Oduro goal gave them lead, turn into sixty four minutes of scrambling to defend and hang on to another frustating point against one of the bottom dwellers in MLS. 

In the meantime the Fire are getting further away from the tenth and final playoff spot as Sporting Kansas City managed a road victory in Portland and therefore bypassed Houston to take over the current 10th place berth in MLS.   The Dynamo are in Colorado tonight with another chance to push the Fire even further away from the last available spot.  There are sixteen games to go but the clock is ticking louder every weekend. 

Can July 15 get here quickly enough?  Will any additions made during the transfer window be integrated quickly enough to make a substantial difference?  Tick Tock.

Player Ratings

GK Sean Johnson (7) - Came up with an outstanding save in the 32nd minute to deny Jorge Flores and keep the Fire temporarily in the lead.  Also came up big on a 90th minute header attempt from Victor Estupinan.  Other than the lone goal, one on which Johnson had little chance as a result of a very well taken strike after Fire defenders allowed too much room for Nick LaBrocca to operate in, the second year keeper was on top of his game again.

D Gonzalo Segares (5) - Fire fullbacks spent most of the evening attempting to clear crosses and chasing Chivas attackers.  Segares found little time to support the attack on the left side as he customarliy does since the entire team was in scramble to defend mode  almost immediately after taking the lead in the 26th minute. 

D Yamith Cuesta (6) - Perhaps spurred on by the prospect of facing his former team, Cuesta was an important figure in the middle clearing numerous crosses out of the box before leaving in the 62nd minute apparently suffering of cramping in both legs. 

D Cory Gibbs (5) - Chivas only managed three shots on target despite holding a huge advantage in possession and keeping the Fire on their heels defensively.  Gibbs managed to stay in front of Justin Braun often enough to keep him out of truly dangerous territory and it's hard to blame him for not getting out to crowd LaBrocca on his score. 

D Jalil Anibaba (5) - Decent enough effort for the rookie given the amount of possession given up in midfield but his passing and decision making really does need to improve.

M Logan Pause (5) - The captain's return saw Chivas hold the ball for long stretches with little resistance from the Fire.  The space that LaBrocca found in front of the back line should have been closed down by the "holding" mid spot but Pause was several yards behind LaBrocca as he made his move. 

M Baggio Husidic (5) - Another fairly invisible outing in the middle of the pitch for the Fire's central midfielders.  Husidic did provide one pass that led to Oduro's 1v1 miss in the 8th minute but there was little else from there.  Also continued corner kick duties with little effect. 

M Marco Pappa (5) - A relatively quiet night for Pappa after a solid effort against New York last Sunday.  Chivas managed to keep the ball away from him and kept Pappa from maneuvering himself into dangerous shooting range.  Subbed out in the 64th minute.   

M Patrick Nyarko (6) - Continues to provide a good link up with Oduro and sprung him for the lone goal with a pass in the 26th minute.  Also struck a rebound shot on goal that could have resulted in the second goal but the shot was blocked before reaching the goal by Michael Umana in the 42nd minute.  It proved to be the Fire's last dangerous opportunity.

F Diego Chaves (5) - Seemed to push further back into midfield after the Fire's score in what almost appeared to be a 4-5-1 formation essentially taking Chaves out of the attacking third.  After scoring the only goal in the USOC match on Tuesday night Chaves disappeared for long stretches before being subbed out in the 74th minute.

F Dominic Oduro (7) - Scored the only goal on a fantastic finish but one can't help but think he should have converted 2 or 3 times.  Missed a break away 1v1 chance after a rather poorly struck shot was saved by Dan Kennedy in the 8th minute.  In the 15th minute a loose ball at the top of the box landed at his feet with a good look on net but his low shot was easily handled by Kennedy.  In the 42nd minute Nyarko sprung him yet again but the shot taken with the outside of his left foot was foiled by Kennedy.  Moved to midifield when Baroch entered the game in the 74th minute.  Oduro was the best player on the pitch for the Fire but it should have been a great game rather than just a good one.

D Josip Mikulic (6) - Entered the match in the 62nd minute after Cuesta apparently cramped up and couldn't continue.  Wasted no time getting into the action by clearing two Chivas chances in the penalty area.

F Cristian Nazirit (5) - Came into the game in the 64th minute for Pappa.  His highlights include a header attempt from a corner that went wide and a long distance free kick blast that was well high and wide.

F Orr Barouch (5) - Subbed in for Chaves in the 74th minute but couldn't manage to create or be involved in anything of consequence in the offensive third.

C Frank Klopas (5) - Perhaps a Paladini/Pause central pairing will be more effective next weekend once Paladini returns from his one game yellow card suspension but a move to start Corben Bone over Husidic against Chivas may have provided a little more offensively.  Seems to have a substition pattern in mind each game by liberally using all three moves available each game.  It's possible Bone may have been slotted to come in for Husidic later in the game as he has in previous matches but Cuesta's issues necessitated a move earlier than anticipated.  After the taking the lead in the 26th minute the Fire had little answer for Chivas' attack and that continued into the second half.   

Next Up

A reserve match on Tuesday against FC Dallas at the Toyota Park practice field before returning to California next Saturday to face the league leading Los Angeles Galaxy.


Leave a comment
  • I would prefer a Bone/Paladini combo to provide some movement in central mid since Pause and Husidic are holding mid with no movement. But they decide to go with Pause and stick him there. Nazarit's free kick was wide left compared to to other kciks that were low line drives that got no lift what so ever.

  • GR-
    I'm asking for speculation, is there a CAM who is all set, and we are just waiting for the transfer window date to roll open? Does it seem like Klopas is maybe narrowing down a couple of candidates? Will the paperwork have any holdups

  • In reply to ChrisConnolly:

    ... Ok the paperwork thing is really calling for speculation- but as the clock keeps ticking, and the situation gets more um hopeless, I'd hate for the possible rescue effort to be held up.
    Thanks, and as always, good review.

  • In reply to ChrisConnolly:

    According to Klopas, they have several options that they are exploring as additions during the transfer window. I know one of those options is definitely Grazzini. In fact he may be the preferred option #1. Another player they're looking at is a younger withdrawn forward with playmaking ability who is currently signed for an FMF side.

    I have heard anything in terms of legitimate big names rumors other than Pavel Pardo. The Fire did indeed have exploratory conversations with Pardo's rep but it did not proceed further than that and salary negotiations weren't part of the conversation. At the time of the discussion with Pardo's rep the team decided that they needed more of a dynamic playmaker than what Pardo could provide. I would be very surprised if his name has come back into the picture.

    At this point I'm assuming that they've had some discussions with Grazzini about contract terms. If he is the guy they're targeting, "paperwork" processing should have begun already in order to ensure that he can start training with the team and be available come July 15.

  • MLS needs to address why about 40% of games this year have ended in a draw and for all-time low scoring, I don't mind a tie game in a well played game, but this is gettiing crazy. I just finished watching another 0-0 game (HOU vs COL) where both teams were satisfied "with sharing the points".

  • In reply to Lewis26:

    That's not a fair description of the COL-HOU game. Colorado was pressing for the goal until the end; only an out-of-this-world performance by Tally Hall kept them from scoring.

  • In reply to Ufficio:

    Hall kept HOU in the game and Colorado kept attacking their defense compared to the Fire style of offense that is stagnant with no central midfielder.

  • In reply to Lewis26:

    The inordinate amount of draws this season (especially 0-0 ties) is something the league really needs to address and attempt to find a reason why those numbers are up substantially this year. I agree, it is a problem that can't be ignored.

  • MLS Shootout anyone?

  • no to the shootout. i do agree that playing baggio and logan together just does not work. the team could have really used paladini saturday. he seems to be the one that wants the ball and that wants to create. as far as new signings, look how long it took them to announce gaston and diego, we probably won't have an official announcement until the middle of august(lets hope i'm wrong about that).

  • In reply to penapirata:

    Big no to the shootout!

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    IT was great in the NASL days and I think a big part of that was the overall high scoring of that league , it would not work now because the with there being a lot of 0-0 and 1-1 ties , that would make alot of coaches not even attack during the game knowing that once they get to the shootout they have a chance to win so why would they blow that chance by giving up a goal in regulation.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    MLS had shootouts during the regular season from 1996 til early 2000's. I am for shootouts for the post season only.

  • In reply to longoria3:

    well yeah i know there were shootouts, as i was there since the beginning of the fire. call me a purist, but i would rather see draws than that damn shootout again.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    I'm with you on this one shootouts. Even if it means 12 draws in 18 matches.

  • For the first time in several months I was able to watch the game on TV. OMG!! We have no midfield! We couldn't pass and we couldn't defend. They looked like a bad college team. Chivas, bottom-dwellers, however, looked quite competent -- or did we make them look competent?? I have noted that other teams have already identified their new players to be signed at mid-month. Does the Fire operate under different rules inn that they can't even talk about their selections? The continuous "paper-processing is getting a little old. Klopas is like Nero -- while Nero fiddled, Klopas processes paper work!!

  • Maybe if we sign someone tomorrow, they might be ready to play pre season next year if the front office keeps up it's current track record going. It seemed to take forever to get Chaves and Gaston here...

  • I think Pappa should move to central mid along with Palladini. Keep Oduro and Nyarko on the wings. Put Logan and Baggio on the bench. Put Nazarit and Chaves up top. Keep the usual suspects on the back four.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    There are a few issues with Pappa at central mid. 1-He's a bit of a liability defensively so placing him at the top of a diamond presents problems getting back 2-He looks to shoot first before passing and tends to try to dribble his way through defenders when a pass is called for. Not qualities you want in your center mid. 3-It would push him further from the goal if he does decide to defend and he is their best pure finisher at the moment.

    They've toyed with Pappa in a central role and it hasn't really worked. I think he may have some success as an underneath forward in a limited role.

  • I think we can agree that none of the Center mids have really done the job. Bone and Palladini each really have only had game where they were really good and influential. Also, the style we run right now seems likely to have no CM support.. we play on the counter with super fast wingers, who stay on the end line. They aren't the kind to pinch in and help win possesion or play quick 1,2s nyarko and oduro both want to fly down the wing, and with that i think we need to do a 4-5-1 and maybe get 3rd natural midfielder in that spot as opposed to chaves..

  • In reply to lijien:

    Good point...they may be more suited for a 4-5-1 with their current center mid situation. Chaves has been playing in a withdrawn role and seemed to be deep enough against Chivas to be considered the fifth mid in that formation. This is part of the problem that DLC faced as well....whatever formation they choose there is still a black hole of production coming from the center of the pitch. It was a problem in attempting to play the 1-2 touch system that DLC was looking for and it's still a problem now.

  • RE: Draws and low-scoring: It could be worse. Look at the Copa America :)

  • Agreed on Pappa's defense with the Fire, but I saw a defensive side to him in the Gold Cup that shows he can do it when required. Oduro as a pure, up top, forward does not work because he needs space to runn onto the ball and attack from the wing. His shot is not string enough to be considered blistering so he should not be forced to play a role that does notadd to the team. Pappa loves to shoot from the 18, so they should just put him there rather than have him play on the wing where he willthen try and dribble there all night and shoot. They might as well try it because they are not getting enough shots with the CMs they are using now. Right? At this point, if Pappa gets 5 shots and Nazarit is hanging in front, there is an opportunity there for a cheap rebound. I'll take that and win ugly.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    i think Pappa as the withdrawn forward or the 5th mid who has freedom to roam might be the best thing.. Since the break up of the Chaves and Gaston combo, we haven't really got much from our forwards.. so why not try it again?

  • 33% chance to get soony saad in lottery

    i dunno anything about him, but i assume its a good thing to get him

  • personally i think nyarko had a crap game. i did not see the first 20 minutes or so, but what i did see, nyarko looked like banner, continually giving the ball away.

    another thing that frustrates me watching the fire is on throw-ins. most teams throw in, and then the ball is knocked back to the thrower who is in a position to look at the field and find an open player to pass to. chicago seems to throw the ball in to a player who then tries to play the ball with his back to the field, and often gets the ball knocked away or is knocked off balance, or ends up making a difficult angle pass. its like they try to do things the hard way instead of the simple way

  • He tried to sign with someone, anyone in Germany but no team would take a chance on the kid. Is that a sign?

Leave a comment