It wasn't pretty but when all is said and done, three points on the road is still an excellent result. Even if it was against the worst team in the league. As expected the Fire were able to find space in midfield against Toronto's 3-4-3 formation but they conversely allowed Toronto attackers too much room to operate on the other end of the field. Much credit can be heaped on an excellent effort from Reggie Lambe but the Fire must tighten up defensively against better competition. The Seattle Sounders come into Toyota Park next weekend and the same type of defensive effort won't suffice in that match.
GK Sean Johnson (5) - There wasn't much he could do to prevent the two shots that produced the Toronto goals but he's got to have more control of the box on air balls and crosses. Punched out several chances that looked like they could have been handled. Some of the uncertainty may come from working with a new centerback tandem which is understandable but this should be an area that gets plenty of work in training.
D Dan Gargan (5) - Most of the damage was done on the opposite side of the pitch where Lambe was causing havoc. Got involved in the attack with a few forays into the box. Worked hard defensively despite the Toronto advantage in attacking late in the second half.
D Arne Friedrich (4) - Still needs to work on meshing with teammates, which again is expected since he's only had a few weeks of training to get fully comfortable. He and Johnson almost flubbed a free kick in the 12th after running into each other and was caught up higher than necessary in no man's land on more than one occasion. There were some flashes but it will take a few more weeks before we see Friedrich at full strength. It will come.
D Jalil Anibaba (5) - Had some issues with Lambe but came up big in the second half while Toronto was surging to tie the match in the second half. A clean slide tackle on Plata late in the first half halted a chance. Was the team's best defender in the second half.
D Gonzalo Segares (5) - A fantastic touch on Grazzini's free kick service in the 41st minute was beautifully taken. Not so pretty was Lambe's ability to get up and down the left side consistently in the first half.
M Marco Pappa (5) - Very good effort and work from Pappa in the first half although he did not figure into scoring plays. Came back to help defensively with nice stops in the 12th and 49th. Came out in the 64th minute when Klopas began juggling in order to increase defensive pressure on Toronto.
M Pavel Pardo (5) - Decent job in minimizing Plata's touches but the Fire midfield should have been better than it was in containing TFC possession and time on the ball.
M Logan Pause (5) - Created an offensive opportunity after dispossessing Cann in the 10th and started the attack that led to the winning goal. Failed to close on Lambe after Johnson punched out a corner kick leading to the 36th minute golazo.
M Sebastian Grazzini (6) - Looked more like the Grazzini of last season with some room to attack in the middle of the pitch. A dangerous shot attempt in the 6th, another shot in the 14th, a pass to spring Oduro in the 34th, a shot off the crossbar in the 60th, and a marvelous free kick from long distance leading to Segares' score in the 41st are all things you need from an attacking midfielder who you expect to run your offense. Would like to see a better defensive effort though.
F Patrick Nyarko (7) - Man of the match for me. His pressure on Frings knocking the ball to Oduro allowed the Fire to take the lead after 25 seconds. More pressure resulted in another chance for Oduro in the 11th. A nifty overhead/half bicycle in the 33rd was impressive although it wasn't struck that well. Scored the winner in the 58th when he beat the Toronto defense and worked around Kocic. Another shot/cross could have ended up in the back of the net in the 53rd before Kocic tipped it out. Played very well defensively when moved back into midfield after the Fire took the lead. These are the very reasons Nyarko needs to be on the pitch as much as possible when Rolfe is in the line-up. More on that in the coming weeks.....
F Dominic Oduro (6) - Scored the fastest goal in Fire history but easily could have netted another in the 11th. Set up Oduro's goal with a pass that sprung him into the defense. Dangerous again in the 34th before earning a corner kick. Speed kills. Particularly against a shaky three man back line.
F/M Federico Puppo (5) - Came on for Pappa in the 64th and didn't figure into much but he did put in a good effort. Moved into a forward spot with Nyarko shifting to left back once he entered the match but was moved back into more of a midfield role when Barouch entered late.
F Orr Barouch (5) - Came on for Grazzini in the 78th minute but the Fire were in a defensive posture at that point and Barouch didn't have many chances as a lone forward.
M Daniel Paladini (5) - Entered in the 84th for Grazzini and managed one shot at net which Kocic handled easily.
C Frank Klopas (6) - Certainly won the coaching match up against Winter as the Fire did what needed to be done offensively against a questionable decision to stick with a three man back line but the team did not play well defensively. Attempted to increase the defensive effort with substitutions in the second half but Toronto was in desperation mode which led to some near misses. A win on the road in MLS is hard to come by in any circumstance.