Yesterday's match against Manchester United was about as succesfull as an international club friendly can be without actually winning the game. The home team represented themselves well, actually leading the Premiere League champions 1-0 for 65 minutes and playing well enough to earn a bit of respect from the local fans amid a disappointing season to date. A record crowd for a Fire match of 61,308 packed Soldier Field and saw the Fire take the lead on Cory Gibbs' header in the 13th minute but the team's lack of quality finishing and touch in the final third kept them from extending the lead.
Despite the loss the Fire hopefully gained a bit of confidence as well as garnering some attention from the local "non-MLS" soccer crowd.
Several Fire players acquitted themselves very well on a big stage. Among them Sean Johnson who stopped Dimitar Berbatov with a big save early and stoned him again later in the first half before the former Tottenham forward was ruled offside. Marco Pappa, Patrick Nyarko, and Dominic Oduro also had their moments. Sir Alex Ferguson was impressed with the Fire's play. " The center forward is a big strong lad, he can run that's for sure. He's quick and creates lot's of problems at times," said Ferguson.
He was also complimentary of the Fire's first half performance, "They're very good on the counter attack with a lot of pace up front. They gave us some problems and they could have scored a few more."
Not So Hot
In central midfield Baggio Husidic somehow missed a wide open net in the 52nd minute that should have doubled the lead and Daniel Paladini struggled a bit as well. Both players will find it hard to come by playing time once Sebastian Grazzini is fully match fit and Pavel Pardo joins the team.
Sean Johnson was replaced by Jon Conway at the half and it's kind to say that Conway was.....well, let's just say not good.
Frank Klopas talks about the crowd and his team's performance in his post game press conference.
Sir Alex Ferguson discusses possible additions to his squad and his impressions of the local team in post game as well.