Fire lose first CC Cup match 1-0

The Fire dropped their third consecutive preseason match after a 1-0 loss to DC United in the Carolina Challenge Cup opener.  Chicago controlled most of the possession and had the better of the chances throughout the first 60 minutes of the match but failed to convert on several excellent opportunities.

DC 'keeper Joe Willis guessed right to stop Pavel Pardo's penalty kick attempt in the 4th minute to keep Chicago from taking the lead early.  Patrick Nyarko drew the foul and played well before being replaced by Federico Puppo in the 32nd minute for what appeared to be an injury precaution.  Puppo struggled and wasn't particularly effective in combination with Dominic Oduro who was very active in the first hour of the match.  Oduro blasted a shot off of the underside of the crossbar just minutes before DC took the lead on a goal from Hamdi Salihi.  Fire goalkeeper Jay Nolly managed to get a hand on the shot from outside the box but couldn't keep it out of the net.

Fire Line Up

GK Nolly

D Gargan (Walls 82')

D Anibaba

D Berry (Watson-Siriboe 61')

D Segares (Jumper 75')

M Pause

M Pardo

M Robayo (Bone 75')

M Paladini (Videira 82')

F Nyarko (Puppo 32')

F Oduro (Dube 75')

Notes: Austin Berry left the match late with an apparent foot injury.  Sebastian Grazzini was held out due to illness and Cory Gibbs did not play due to a hamstring issue.

Filed under: 2012 Pre Season

Tags: Chicago Fire

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  • All the Fire need is a quality defender and a quality striker.
    Perhaps a different result if Pappa, Orr and Grazzini were available,
    or at least let's hope so.

  • Paladini looked decent, Rabayo can hustle, Nyarko most dangerous player out there until the sub. Still missing a sniper. Oduro had his chances couldn't convert. I'm not saying go out a spend money on a DP but someone with a proven goal scoring record wouldn't hurt.

  • Seemed like a tale of two halves. There's little reason to miss that PK unless Pardo just telegraphed it, but the Fire were pretty unfortunate with Oduro's shot off the crossbar. From what I saw, looked like it was in, but it's hard getting that goal called in the regular season, let alone in a preseason game. The chances were there, though, definitely.

  • Three Consecutive losses !!! Two missed PK'S!!!
    Chances to Score!!! No Ball in Back of Net on those Chances.
    How many more Losses will it take before Klopas realizes he
    DOES NOT HAVE A CONSISTANT PROVEN GOAL SCORER???
    Roster Cuts not a difficult decision!!! Release Puppo, Roboyo,
    Dube, Mkosana all have had chances and proven "THEY CANT
    SCORE" on a consistent basis!!!!!

  • I watched a good portion of the game and am starting to agree with Juergen. Oduro's skill is his speed, not his finishing. He never thinks of passing and that is probably because he doesn't have the skill to see anything but the net. Yesterday, he had numerous opportunities to pull it back and pass to open men in the box but instead chose to shoot often from impossible angles. I like that he pulls the trigger, but he has to put the team first sometimes and pass the ball. If he finished more often, I suppose we would all cheer, but he clanks a ton of shots or skies them over the net too often.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    Oduro, if he could finish, wouldn't be playing in MLS. His pace is fantastic and he puts himself in good positions to score, but he's just not a very technically gifted player. That said, if he produces like last year, I have no problem with him and can live with his misses.

    Juergen is right...to an extent (releasing puppo, robayo, dube and mkosana?). We need forward depth, and Puppo will probably be good at that...like Chaves last year. That's pretty much my expectation level for Puppo.

    We still need a high end striker to pair with Oduro, until we land one, we will have a big hole in the roster. It's looking like the Fire will wait til mid season to address any starter quality needs...which bums me out. I'm sick of the team not going "all in" from the beginning of the year. Get someone now (or ideally in January) and they'd still have room to upgrade in mid season if needed. This team just doesn't represent the fact that they are playing in a major market. I think Hauptman was burned by Castillo and Llungberg and now is too tentative to pull the trigger on a DP. What's LA doing? Signing name DP's, winning trophies, building a brand, selling tickets and going on int'l tours as people want to see them play. That's what owning a team in a major market should look like.

  • In reply to Drew:

    Spot on Drew! Fire management/ownership needs to come to grips with and understand why their previous ambitious ventures into the DP market failed. It was NOT becuase that's not a good plan. Being gun-shy to try again just exposes the weak management. They don't even have the confidence to believe in themselves and try.

    If they aren't up to it, then they need to step aside and let soeone else have a go.

  • In reply to Drew:

    Signing DP's to win championships isn't quite the answer. Since the DP rule was instituted in 2007, other than the Galaxy, teams like Real Salt Lake, Columbus, Houston and Colorado won championships without a DP. When there is a LA Galaxy, there is a Toronto FC. They have 3 DP's and still mediocre. If you build a team with an identity and add couple of pieces with DP or no DP, that is how you have a successful team. The current lineup with Pardo, Grazzini, Pappa, Nyarko, Oduro, Gibbs, Segares, Anibaba, Gargan and Johnson solidifies a good team that can compete and to add a homer run hitter at the striker position and another defender will put this team over the top. The key player is Oduro, if he picked up where he left off, this team will be dangerous. If not, this team will have trouble scoring goals.

  • In reply to longoria3:

    I'm well aware of the small sample size that everyone points to regarding DP's (especially in the beginning when teams were only allowed 1...aka 9% of the starting rotation).

    But who won last year? A team with 3. Of course any team needs to be deep and well thought-out and put together, and the Fire, to their credit, have created a nice team across most positions that's pretty deep. But what you are saying, is what I am saying...that they still need a DP-level forward opposite Oduro. I don't care if that player is actually a DP, but he needs to produce like a DP. And if I'm a betting man, I'd bet a DP has a better chance of producing like one than one that's not a DP.

    Finally, it's great to have a team win with a bunch of no names, but I, for one, would much rather have a winning team like LA with name players. It just adds intrigue and excitement to the team, where people in Chicago might actually pay an inkling of attention to the team rather than what the Fire have produced lately in terms of brand awareness in the area. Winning comes first, no doubt. But winning with players that the city can get psyched about, add attention and build the fan base even more, that's something to really get psyched about. And I don't think it's too much to expect as the 3rd largest market with an enormous international population.

  • I was really looking forward to seeing Grazzini on the field. IMO he and Pardo radically changed our squad last year. While Oduro had his chances, and I agree that he should finish more, Grazzini's distribution multiplies the threats generated on offense. It's unfortunate that he and Pappa tend to crowd each other.

    But I have to disagree about Oduro shooting. He's a striker, and his job is to shoot the ball, even if it's a low percentage shot. This was the complaint about Nyarko for a long time - he gets in good positions and then passes the ball, often out of danger, when he could have pulled the trigger. Now we have Oduro in position and he gets criticized for shooting too much. If he is not shooting, then he should go into track and field.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    I like strikers to have a little selfish streak....I didn't see a problem with any of Oduro's shot attempts yesterday.

  • If Grazzini stays healthy, I think some of these concerns become moot. That said, the Fire do need someone who can finish and take the burden off Oduro. Give him some help, then he won't feel like he needs to carry the team on his back, ala Pappa post-Blanco.

  • Everyone is missing my point about Oduro. I want him to shoot as much as the next person. My only issue is that when the shot is NOT there, I want him to pass. I believe that if he does pass every now and then, it actually makes defenses think twice about closing down faster than normal if they think that he never passes. This will give him a little more space, possibly, which opens shooting lanes for the times when he should shoot. Passing keeps defenses honest and gives him better opportunities. My issue is that he won't do this and thus his ability to keep defenses honest is not there. I think in the long run this will not be enough. From my point of view, I don't want a striker who shoots 100% of the time with no thought involved. He should have some sense that others are making runs to join him in the attack. They are not doing that simply to draw defenders, and they won't draw any defenders if the defense knows he never passes. That's my point. I am talking about shooting 90% and passing 10%, not 100% shots.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    I agree with Guillermo - I had no problem with Oduro's shots. There were no sitters in the bunch - put the ball on frame to test the keeper from an acute angle and you might get a bobble or a deflection that someone can clean up into the back of the net.

    That said, I also don't think that Oduro was shooting 100% of the time. You're not going to see Oduro open up from outside the 18 very often if he's not on a breakaway. He's generally taking shots inside the 18, and if defenders DON'T expect that from a double-digit goal scorer, then they have rocks for brains.

    What I DO have a problem with was Chicago's inability to break down several teams at the end of last season because they played a deep defensive line. We had no solution for that after they had figured out how to solve the Oduro - Nyarko puzzle. The problem then was that Oduro was NOT getting shots, and no one picked up the slack, as Jeff Krause said.

    Juergen, I'm not saying that we shouldn't have another goal scorer. But I might be more optimistic than you about our current batch. Barouch is close - how many posts and crossbars did he hit last season? Can players grow and progress, especially when they're only 20 years old?

    And what have we seen of Puppo? Nothing. A few preseason games don't mean anything when the guy's come in from South America. We have NO IDEA how this guy is adjusting to life in Chicago, to preseason training, to the food, etc. How many "proven goal scorers" have switched leagues or teams only to find that they can't adjust? (Torres and Tevez leap to mind here, but the list is as long as you'd like to make it). I'm not saying that they wouldn't succeed, I'm just saying we don't know. NO ONE thought that Oduro would open up and become a double-digit goal scorer last year. NO ONE. Just like few people thought that Chicharito would like up the Premier League when he went there.

    Doesn't mean I'm giving Klopas a pass, but it's still preseason. MLS is a parity-driven league. I'm not panicking if we don't win all our preseason games, especially if we're missing key players for international duty, etc.

  • I am in full agreement with Krasov on Orduro.
    Frank Klopas and Orduro need to be made aware of these points!!!
    Now add an accomplished proven Goal Scorer on top with Orduro
    who need to pass to each other then instead of loosing three games in a row we could have had maybe three wins instead.
    "If we don't get that proven accomplished Goal Scorer Now instead of
    Later these Pre Season Loses will transfer over to the regular season."
    We have Forwards on this current squad that can not be relied upon
    to be consistent Goal Scorers. Better to have "ONE SOLID GOAL
    SCORER" than four below Average as we have now.

  • per Steve Goff, the Fire may be interested in this guy.......

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arne_Friedrich

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    "He became famous for being the German international playing 'most games in a row without scoring': 76 matches."

    Should fit right in, although the following is a little disconcerting:

    "On 19 September 2011 he was released from his contract at Wolfsburg due to long term injury"

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    When will you post up your MLS predictions based on who will be in the playoffs, MVP and etc?

  • In reply to longoria3:

    I'll have those up next week before First Kick.

  • Any updates on the Fire pursuing on that young Ecuadorian striker/midfielder?

  • In reply to longoria3:

    I believe they placed a discovery claim on him but that doesn't necessarily mean a signing is imminent.

  • DC United has signed former Fire keeper Andrew Dykstra.

  • Fire don't need another Defender like (German) Arne Friedrich who is now
    way past his prime. Fire do need an Established Goal Scorer the likes of
    (German) Thomas Mueller, Mario Gomez, Miroslav Klose, Andre Schuerle.
    "We Need a Proven Goal Scorer who buries most of his chances into
    the back of the net."

  • I don't see the non-scoring streak as a big deal. He's a defender, he's not *supposed* to score. Similarly, Logan Pause has played how many games with the Fire, and scored twice, as a midfielder.

    It's about the other qualities they bring to the pitch. That said, a "long-term injury", released 6 months ago, isn't a good sign. However I'm sure if the Fire are looking at him, that's part of their consideration.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    Relax, Jeff. My tounge was firmly in my cheek on the scoring drought

  • In reply to DDT5583:

    Haha, my bad. I don't have a good reason for missing that, don't make me come up with a bad one. :)

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    The perils of a text-based dialogue, I suppose. Think nothing of it, and keep up the good work.

  • Patrick Nyarko has been called up by Ghana for their match tomorrow against Chile at PPL Park.

  • Will Grazzini play tomorrow? Does Oduro and Nyarko's call ups mean that they won't be playing either? If so, this will make tomorrow's game a little less interesting.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    I'm assuming Grazzini is set to go tomorrow and yes.....Oduro and Nyarko are not available. Nor are Sean Johnson, Orr Barouch, and Marco Pappa.

  • Projected MLS best XI at mlssoccer.com......

    http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2012/02/28/countdown-first-kick-11-next-best-xi

    Segares is the left back and I'm assuming that's Sebastian Grazzini as the alternate at attacking mid.

  • Fire will debut the blue Quaker kits today.

    Cory Gibbs, Sebastian Grazzini, and Austin Berry will be game time decisions.....

    http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2012/02/fire-take-rivals-columbus-challenge-cup-game-two-wednesday

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