Monday Notes (and NYRB ratings)

Here a few stories and tidbits to share in the aftermath of a single season league record tying 14th draw over the weekend.

Kellen Gulley has reported to Toyota Park and has begun training with his new teammates.  The Fire's second Home Grown Player is highly regarded by some scouts but his hairdo leaves a bit to be desired.   We'll cut him some slack since he's only 17.  Gulley mentions Justin Mapp, of all people as an early influence growing up in Mississippi.

The guys over at Section 8 Chicago have posted a new Hot Mess podcast.

According to an internet report Dutch first division side FC Twente is interested in Marco Pappa and is willing to pony up $2.1 million dollars for his services.

Player Rating v New York

I didn't have an opportunity to post player ratings this weekend so here they are...

GK Sean Johnson (5) - Can't really fault Johnson on either of the goals and the Fire were rather fortunate it wasn't more given the huge disparity in possession (65% to 35%) and attempts on goal (20 to 9).  Came up with a couple of good reflexive saves to keep New York at bay.

D Dan Gargan (5) - Pretty good debut considering he was relied on to mark Thierry Henry on several occasions.  Also active in attempting to get forward.  He's a better passer than both Pause and Anibaba when playing right back.

D Jalil Anibaba (6) - A second consecutive solid outing for Anibaba at his natural center back position.  Two consecutive clearances in dangerous territory in the 79th minute helped salvage one point.

D Yamith Cuesta (5) - Allowed too much space in front of Lindpere resulting in the game tying goal in the 64th.  Did come up with a big block in the 3rd minute keeping the opposition from an early goal for the second consecutive week.  Better than the week before but that's not saying a whole lot.

D Gonzalo Segares (5) - Usually does a job on Dane Richards by shutting him completely down but the New York midfielder was able to break free on a few occasions this time.

M Pavel Pardo (5) - Relatively quiet all match long in this one.  The Fire appeared to start off in a 4-3-1-2 with Pardo in the middle, Pause on the right, and Pappa on the left.  This formation allowed too much space between the back line and the midfield but did allow Grazzini, Nyakro, and Oduro to get forward.

M Logan Pause (5) - Came up with a key block of an Henry shot in the 45th minute.  Moved into a dual holding role with Pardo after Nyarko was subbed out in the second half.  Fire midfield was overrun for the most part.

M Marco Pappa (6) - Pappa was sharp early on  and his passes in the 16th and 24th minutes led directly to the Fire's two scores.  After one of his better recent performances he appeared visibly miffed when coming to the sidelines after being substituted in the 73rd minute.

M Sebastian Grazzini (6) - Scored his first goal for the Fire on a rebound in the 24th minute and continues to show good skill on the ball.  He did however have several turnovers and was subbed out in the 67th.

F Patrick Nyarko (6) - Very good and active in the first half with passes to teammates that were unfortunately mishandled in what should have been good position for scoring chances.  Curiously subbed out in the 56th minute after Klopas said he "wasn't feeling well".  This substitution more than anything else damaged what the Fire had been able to do offensively up to that point.

F Dominic Oduro (6) - A nice finish in the 16th minute netted the team's first goal and another shot in the 24th led to Grazzini's rebound score.  One glaring mistake was a terrible lead pass to Pappa in the 70th minute that should have at least resulted in a close range open look at the New York goal.  Moved to right mid in the 56th minute when Nyarko was subbed out and didn't factor in much after that.

F Orr Barouch (5) - Entered the match for Nyarko in the 56th minute and slotted into a single forward spot.  Probably could have scored with a little more finesse in the 71st minute after getting in alone on the New York goal.

M Diego Chaves (5) - Came in for Grazzini in the playmaking role in the 67th minute and provided the ball that should have led to Barouch's score in the 71st.

F Cristian Nazirit (5) - Subbed in for Pappa in the 73rd minute as Klopas decided to switch back to a 2 forward alignment.  Not much in terms of opportunities.

C Frank Klopas (5) - The Fire's game plan to move two speedy forwards in ahead of Grazzini worked well in the first half but exposed the midfield.  In an attempt to address that problem Nyarko dropped back to right mid to start the second half and the team was immediately less effective.  Klopas said after the match that Nyarko wasn't feeling well in the second half which led to more changes and more substitutions.  Without Nyarko, Dominic Oduro was moved back to right mid and Orr Barouch played as the lone forward.  This may have worked if Oduro could complete a simple pass in the 71st and Barouch could capitalize on a 1v1 chance in the 73rd.  Mikulic over Cuesta anyone?

Next Up

At home on Thursday night against DC United, a club which actually managed to beat the mighty Vancouver Whitecaps by a slim 4-0 margin.



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  • Officially, Nyarko was subbed out with a "migraine". Unofficially, that's likely code for concussion.

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    What do you guys think about JPA to Chicago?

  • In reply to waam:

    i think JPA is already traded to Chivas USA

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    Not official yet but that seems to be his destination. I think he's done.

  • i'd like to see Nazarit actually DO something positive in a match. i mean, he never seems to contribute toward an attacking move, his passing isnt all that sharp, he is slow on decision making, and when he does win headers, they are usually headed so far forward that the opposing keeper catches it on a single bounce., almost never heads the ball to a teammate making a run.

    the only real positive thing he does is occasionally rough up an opposing center back

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    I'd like to see him get some time in a 4-4-2 with Grazzini behind him.

  • MLS to announce an ammendment to the DP rule today. Should be interesting.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Read its something to do with young player and how they would cost less the DP salary towards roster or maybe now we can have 4 DPs...that would be interesting

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    MLS and NASCAR, the only 2 major sports that change the rules in the middle of the season to accomodate the "chosen" teams

  • Is it me, or has Sega been woefully down in form from when he left for Cyprus? He used to be a solid, shut-down defender that would make good-to-excellent runs forward and provide quality crosses/passes. Now he seems to be an average, at best, defender that tends to miss play balls when moving forward; be it a long cross that only finds the opposite sideline or letting balls roll under his foot while trying to trap. I know it's been a frustrating season but he's slowly turning into Potato where he'll make one, unbelieveable play and then mess up the easiest play to follow it up. I miss the old Sega...

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    He's still pretty good but you're right....he hasn't been as good as he was pre-Cyprus for some reason.

  • To read all the individual comments you would think we should have won the game. Well you can't suck blood from a turnup! This team has an identity problem. They do not have a style only alot of individual players without a good foundation. Come on and stop with the Klopas experiment we are wasting time.

  • In reply to bigdog:

    That statement is emblematic of what the basic problem is. They have some decent individual talent (at least good enough to be better than 2-7-14) but they've haven't meshed.

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    You right Guillermo. So far, the players still generally have the backing of the fans. It's the head coaching thats been hurting.

    I generally like this group of younger Fire players, their talent level, and how they compare to other clubs in MLS. We are not that far off in talent. What we lack is confidence, and a cohesive team strategy that totally dominates the opposition consistently. Its like any team with a good midfield that knows what they are doing can break our unit at any given week.

  • In reply to waam:

    Central midfield has been a problem for the better part of the last two seasons and was just recently finally addressed with the additions of Grazzini and Pardo. Even DLC can't shoulder all the blame when in reality he didn't have the pieces to run the system he was trying to implement. That being said, they're not devoid of talent and should be better than they've shown.

  • So much to say, so little time...
    *Nyarko did look like he was in pain when he came off, seemed to be wincing
    *I know it's not happening, but I"m glad JPA isn't coming here, I don't think
    *Nazarit hasn't impressed me either. How long was he signed for? One frustrating thing about the Fire is the amount of players brought in that are decent, but just don't make that much of an impact ultimately
    *Mikulic lost his job to injury, and Cuesta was playing well for a while, but Mikulic has done the job when he's played. I'm looking anibaba-mikulic pairing here on out.
    *Sega doesn't seem to be like he used to be, but that said he is very solid. Not very often do I feel like we give up goals because of his mistakes.
    *Still like Grazzini, he may be looking like a keeper, which would be a nice change
    *If some team is willing to pay for Pappa, I say get the moolah now before we lose him for nothing or the price goes down. Use that to get a nice DP (a forward that can score, por favor)

  • oops, didn't finish my jpa thought...i don't think he has any gas left in the tank.

    anyway, here's looking forward to the us open cup and bringing home some hardware to dull some of the misery of this season.

  • MLS adjusts the DP rule for younger players in 2012.

    DP players 20 years old or younger will only count for $150K against the budget. Players 21-23 years old will only count for $200. All DP's under 2011 rules count for $335 towards the budget.

    If the Fire pick up the option to retain Nazirit he could fall into the 21-23 category.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Couple of questions:

    1. DP rule with young players: does their salary increase from 200K after 23 years old?

    2. LA Galaxy have 3 DP players on their roster, can they still sign a young player overseas under 23 with DP money?

  • In reply to longoria3:

    The $200K is just the budget hit not the salary cost. I'm assuming at age 24 the budget hit would then become $335K.

    The Galaxy can't add a fourth DP even if he is a young player from overseas under 23. The limit is still 3 per team.

  • Eddie Johnson signs with MLS. Fire are 4th in the allocation order behind Chivas, Houston, and Toronto.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Chivas will take him, I don't know who the Fire would waive if he happen to fall down the latter...

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    In reply to Adam25:

    Could be too expensive for Chivas. Is Eddie our kind of player?

  • In reply to waam:

    If Chivas passes for some reason he could fall to the Fire since Houston just signed Carlos Costly and Toronto has spent $ on a DP forward in Koevermans.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    don't forget chivas just acquired JPA as well. I think EJ could help us, was good in the MLS before he left, but i am worried he may not recover that form.

  • rumor has it Vancouver is looking at signing Owen Hargreaves

  • Top five reasons not to bring EJ to Chicago

    5. We have enough speedy players with a poor first touch who can't finish as it is.

    4. He had better service in the premiership and he did not know how to finish it.

    3. He is not a midfielder, and Klopas prefers to play 4 defenders and 6 midfielders.

    2. The staff has been ineffective developing players who can provide service or finishing technique.

    1. He cannot play alone up top, he needs lots of help...

  • P.S.

    Management is probably far too busy looking for a permanent head coach to be worried about this now...

  • I would have given Grazzini an extra point in the player ratings for his Zamba Dancing. :) As far as Eddie Johnson goes, I say "NO" to him and doesn't strike me as a game changer for this team.

  • You know I find myself following the Philly Union team with almost same excitement as when Wilt was the president of the fire. The addition Adu and the team under Novak is well organized and just plain exciting to watch. You get a feeling that you are watching a team that is actually trying to win a title. I have the chance to visit Philly on business and am trying to get a ticket to see a game. If only Hauptman would realize that he either has to sell the team or at the least return the once proud franchise to the people that were successful. That would mean no more Klopas, Jefferies, Julian and the most important guy is Xavier. It would be so simple

  • alejandro bedoya is going to join maurice edu at Rangers

  • Eddie Johnson backs out of the deal with MLS.......

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Maybe he was afraid that he'd end up with the Fire.
    Any update on Pappa, I guess no news is bad news.
    $2.1 seems a bit high, $600/800K seems more realistic.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    I haven't been able to get out to TP this week so I haven't had a chance to ask around about it but if they could get $2.1 mill for Pappa I'd be inclined to take it given that he could walk for nothing after next season.

  • I wonder if the league is going to address the high number of ties
    in games this year, maybe having an extended play followed by a shoot out. Many don't like games decided by a shoot out, but if you win it's great, and it will bring some excitment to the game.
    If they had this process this year, the Fire would be in contention with players like Orr, Nazarit, Pappa, Oduro,Chaves, and now with Pardo and Grazzini. With that lineup they would have won most of the tie games.
    No Nyarko, Pause, or Paladini needed in a shoot out.
    That's thing about the Fire, usually the sum is greater than the individual parts, but this year the individual parts appear to be greater than the whole. It's called teamwork, but in a shoot out it's the individual parts that win.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    Despite the ridiculous number of draws this season my vote is no for gimmick tie breakers.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    no shoot outs. no no, please no

    you want to give incentive to the players and coaches to go for the wins, take chances if they have to

    i'd rather see the league offer pay bonuses to the coaches/players for getting wins, if thats what it takes. draws & losses, you get nothing extra

    i also think if the refs would call the fouls they should, make the defenses play honest, you'd see more scoring and there would be less chance of draws then

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    I've always been intrigued by the concept of bonus points used in the old NASL. I'm thinking you would get 6 points for a win, 2 for a tie and a bonus point for each goal. In this scenario, a team would get more points from a 4-3 defeat than from a 0-0 draw. I don't know if it would affect the number of drawn games but I have to believe it would encourage scoring. Especially at the end of the season when you need to make up points. It would also be an incentive for a team with a 1 or t goal lead to keep the foot on the pedal. I know it might sound like heresy to the purists but, really, it's not a change in the rules but just how you reward a team's performance.

  • In reply to Doug:

    i like that idea as well - it doesnt change the match itself, just how the match is scored in the standings

  • In reply to Doug:

    Doug, my answer to that is no with the old NASL format. Your proposal is more like a gimmick. The point system in MLS is perfect as it is, the objective is to win as many games as possible. The shootouts during the regular season didn't work when the league started from 1996-2000.

  • Orr Barouch gets called by the Israeli national team for their friendly against England. Good news for the young man.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Actually the Israeli U21s. He'll leave for camp the day after the USOC semi final.

  • Sam spoke to Marco Pappa today. Pappa says he has not been contacted FC Twente.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Just resign him right now, or sell him. The state were in doesn't do anybody any good.

  • So let me get this straight, Fire fans are now trying to change the rules instead of just winning! I hope this is not emblematic to the rest of the fans. The fans I know in Section 8 have a just win mentality. Coming in second in anything goes against everything that is Chicago! Clean house now as the fan base is retreating!

  • Rangers have also signed Carlos Bocanegra. they now have 3 US int'ls on their roster. Bocanegra, Bedoya, and Edu

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    There goes another player for the Fire to hope for in the 2012 allocation process.......Bocanegra signed a 3 year deal

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    wow!!! the Fire are stuck with nothing....I would like to see the head coaching situation for next year.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    have you seen a list of players that might be available next year for allocation? would be interesting to know who may be returning.

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