Fire 1 Union 0 - Recap and Ratings

The Fire rode a dominant first half effort, another fine performance in goal by Paolo Tornaghi, and yet another goal by Dominic Oduro to a 1-0 victory against the Philadelphia Union to start the home portion of the 2012 season on the right foot.  Chicago had the better of the opportunities throughout the match although the second half was a bit sluggish at times.

This should serve as a confidence boost for a team looking to establish a home field advantage that hasn't been evident for several seasons.  Capturing all three points sent 18,095 home happy and although the season is still young, this was a good first step.

Player Ratings

GK Paolo Tornaghi (7) - Another big time performance for the Italian keeper.  Wasn't really challenged in the first half but came up large in the second half.  Stopped a free kick in the 82nd and came up with a huge save on Gomez' free kick in the in the 84th to preserve the victory.  Distribution was also better.

D Dan Gargan (6) - Solid two way game for Gargan.  Helped in the attack while the Fire were at their best in the first half and blocked a good look by Pajoy to start the second half.

D Jalil Anibaba (6) - No lapses in this match helped keep a clean sheet.  Stepped up nicely when he had to all night and stayed back when required.  Solid night in the middle for both center backs.

D Cory Gibbs (7) - Came up big all night and especially in the last ten minutes as Philadelphia pushed for a tie.  Whistled for a bit of a phantom yellow in the 81st but was the man on the spot time and again as the clock ticked away.

D Gonzalo Segares (6) - Fair night for Segares although his passing seemed to be slightly off of his usual standard.

M Pavel Pardo (6) - Fairly good service on corner kicks in the first half.  The Fire won the midfield battle for the majority of the first half although the Union were playing with five men in midfield.  Subbed out in the 70th minute as Klopas opted to defend more.

M Sebastian Grazzini (6) - Found much more room to operate this week while the team was clicking on all cylinders in the first half.  The second half was so-so as the pace slowed and the Fire seemed to lose some steam in the middle.

M Marco Pappa (6) - A very good first half after a downer in Montreal.  Fought off two defenders nicely to deliver a pin point cross to Oduro for the game winner in the 28th minute.  The offense flowed in the first 45 when Pappa maintained his spot outside but became a bit stagnant in the last 45 as Pappa tended to float towards the middle of the field more.

M Logan Pause (6) - Pause fits in nicely when Pappa is playing well and the forwards are threatening back lines with quick counter attacks.  Played a dangerous ball into Grazzini in the 13th and cleared a counter as the last man back in the 61st.

F Patrick Nyarko (6) - Dangerous as usual in combination with Oduro.  Set up chances in the 40th, 64th, and 89th minutes.

F Dominic Oduro (7) - Scored yet again...and this time with his head and not his feet.  Could have scored another two goals but for a clearance by Albright in the 40th and a big save by MacMath in the 89th.  He's showing no signs of slowing down from where he left off in 2011.

M Daniel Paladini (5) - Came on in the 70th for Pardo.  Whistled for a hand ball just outside of the box in the 83rd minute which set up Gomez' free kick attempt.

M Rafael Robayo (5) - Subbed in for Grazzini in the 85th pushing Pappa into the center mid spot.

M Federico Puppo (5) - Entered for Pappa in the 89th and nearly got to an open net chance created by Oduro.

C Frank Klopas (6) - Three big points at home were a must and the Fire came out looking prepared for the Union's questionable three man back line tactic.  The team was a bit sluggish in the second half but the home team was the better side tonight.



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  • Good overall game against a struggling Union side. The real test is if they can perform like this against some of the top teams in the West.

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    I would hate to be Frank when Sean Johnson comes back. Does he stay with the red-hot Tornaghi or does he put Johnson back in goal? Either way, the Fire currently have 2 star goalkeepers on our roster. As a Fire supporter, these are problems I like to see.

  • In reply to Freddy Coba:

    It's a good problem to have.....nothing wrong with having two good keepers.

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    In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Your right, nothing wrong with that at all... IF - Tornaghi moves from very good prospect to sure thing, I think GK is a position we can afford to trade from. I can see a GK play most games barring injury, while we can probably constantly churn through midfielders and defenders if we get more involved with fixtures. Thats all I'm thinking (for the team), not singling out Sean.

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    Tornaghi is not red hot. He just is cool and knows what the heck he is doing, very unlike Sean who can get lost a lot in the penalty area. Honest, Sean is still learning, while Tornaghi looks like he's got it down, just needs more experience.

    Sooo.... I say, trade Sean while he's big for a striker to back Oduro.

  • In reply to waam:

    still want to see more of tornaghi to be sure, but if he continues his good play i think he should be the starter. tornaghi may be a top 5 MLS keeper, and i personally rate SJ in the next 5

  • I echo the sentiment about what to do when Sean comes back. Based on the result v. Canada, that may be for a longer time than we thought.

    Separate question. I notice that Nyarko was the furthest back player during corner kicks. It doesn't seem that one of the forwards should be in the center circle on corners. Can someone explain that to me?

  • In reply to Doug:

    he's not a header threat, but he is fast and defensively savvy enough where if the opposing team got on teh break he could slow it down until some defenders get back

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    Right....Gibbs and Anibaba are usually crashing the net on corners so Nyarko and Pause drop back to cover.

  • Here's episode 2 of the Fire Confidential podcast.....

    Pardon the technical glitches at the 20th and 23rd minutes....slight problem with layers and software but the sound quality should be better.

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    Soon to be Arne and Gibbs. Thats going to be a good set piece tandem. I'm very glad Gibbs dropped down to us in the supp draft. Wonder why as I look around the league. Centerback is not a position of abundant quality in this league.

  • In reply to waam:

    Probably because of his injury issues in the past.

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    In reply to Jeff Krause:

    Minor issues aside, he did well last year. Glad to have him aboard and representing Chicago at many prematch outings. Especially when ManU came into town, and we actually gave them a game.

  • Sounds like there still are still some sound quality issues while downloading the podcast. If there are any recommendations on a good podcasting software I'd like to hear them.

  • I'll be at the reserve match today against RSL.....hoping to get a look at Arne Friedrich in action.

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    In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Sweet! Details :)

  • Sean Johnson gave up the tying goal (3-3 final) that knocked the US U-23 team out of the olympics qualifying

    i didnt see the match but it sounds like the shot came off his hands and into the net.

    that being said - Hamid gave up 2 goals earlier in the match & was replaced by SJ in the 1st half

  • I watched it. It was awful. The game was basically over. It the shot came from well outside the 18. Sean had to go down to his right. It deflected off both his hands and dribbled into the net. I could not believe it. Hamid was awful. He gave up two goals in less than 2 minutes. Both should have been stopped. I felt really bad for Sean because he played really well except for the last mistake. The most brutal part was that the US would have won the group if they won the game meaning they would not have had to play Mexico in the knock-out stage. Its really too bad because the US played a really good second half to come back from a 2-1 deficit. Freddy Adu set up both goals. He was really great.

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    In reply to Krasov:

    That was an ability save, and Sean had the ability to save it. But he muffed. Ugh! Oh well, atleast he muffed for Team USA and not the Fire. I root for Fire anyday over my own Country lol. How sad is that? Lets say, Hamid won't be playing for Team USA anytime soon. We're a mess back there with the kids. Should have flown in one of the two big guys in England.

  • Chicago to face Aston Villa on July 21st.

  • Follow up: Aston Villa story was also linked to CSN through the HTIOT twitter account, but now article and tweets are gone.

  • And again. Fire pushed back announcement, reason for disappearing links. Here's the official Fire press release. Tickets on sale today at 1pm.

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