Fire 2 Sporting Kansas City 1 - Recap and Ratings

The Fire continued their dominance against Sporting Kansas City with a victory over the Eastern Conference leaders that draws them to within reach of the team that started the campaign 7-0.  The win places them six points behind the first place club with one game in hand and could be the impetus needed to start the team on a roll with winnable games against three struggling teams upcoming.  The victory may have been aided by an opposing team that imploded with two key mistakes but good teams must capitalize on those errors.  Something the Fire haven't been able to do consistently.

"It is still a long season.  We have to see where we are in the end.  Obviously, it is a very good feeling that we beat a team like this.  They’re first place in the Eastern Conference.  It gives a lot of confidence to the players, knowing that the work that you put in during the training and the effort that you put in during games gives results.  You get confidence from it, but in the end, you have to stay at an even keel.  We have to enjoy this moment, but regroup and get ready for the next match in Portland", said Frank Klopas after the match.

The play hasn't always been pretty but consider this.  After nine games, the Fire are tied with San Jose and Seattle for the least amount of losses (2) in the league.

You can watch the entire Klopas post game press conference here.

Player Ratings

GK Sean Johnson (6) - Registered three saves and looked a little more sure on balls in the air than he has in previous matches.  His best moment came on a highlight save in the 43rd minute when he got a hand on Espinoza's volley deflecting the ball of the crossbar and out for a corner kick.

D Jalil Anibaba (6) - Started at right back and moved into the middle again when Friedrich went off with an injury.  Other than a team breakdown which resulted in SKC's only goal, Anibaba had a good night.

D Arne Friedrich (6) - Sporting had nothing going in the first half either until after Friedrich left the match in the 27th minute with a right hamstring injury.  The injury did not seem to concern him too much after the match as he was moving around fairly well in the locker room.  The Fire will have an MRI test completed before determining the extent of the injury.

D Austin Berry (6) - Shows veteran poise and continues to impress with solid all-around play.  "I probably should have stepped and stayed tighter instead of checking forward and they kind of got around us," said Berry of what he called a mis-read on the Sporting goal.  The play started with Roger Espinoza getting free down the right side before finding Bobby Convey in the middle.  It seemed more a result of the team getting caught in a broken play after a substitution than anything else.

D Gonzalo Segares (6) - The Fire backline played pretty well with the exception of the break down leading to the goal.  Difficult to pin the error on any one player.  Segares kept Kamara at bay for most of the match.  His pass to Oduro led to the penalty kick award.

M Pavel Pardo (5) - Zusi was a non-factor for most of the match.  Didn't have much to do getting forward but both teams started pretty cautiously.

M Logan Pause (5) - Placing him in a dual holding role next to Pardo suits him much better than playing out wide in a diamond formation.  Sporting did not have much going on up the middle but they don't really have a creator that can coordinate an attack from midfield.

M Marco Pappa (5) - Tried to unleash several forced long distance bombs but in this case the attempts came out of simply trying to get something going on net rather than just blindly firing away.  Switched sides with Nyarko at around the 36th minute.

M Patrick Nyarko (6) - Always contributes with high work rate on both ends of the field.  Pressuring Kamara as he lazily juggled Gargan's cross resulted in Oduro's goal.  Managed to find Oduro in the box in the 70th minute for a header attempt that was sent wide.

M Sebastian Grazzini (6) - The Fire were "a disaster" offensively in the first half according to Grazzini but things turned around dramatically after the Oduro was taken down in the box.  Grazzini converted the penalty kick to tie it and drew a red card from Espinoza that changed the match completely.

F Dominic Oduro (6) - Drew the penalty call on Collin (the replay shows that the KC defender got plenty of ball though) and scored the game winner after Nyarko stripped Kamara.  The score wasn't pretty but he was in the right place when he had to be.

D Dan Gargan (6) - His cross attempt led to the Fire's first score.  Sapong and Convey weren't much of a threat for large portions of the match.

M Rafael Robayo (6) - Entered in the 71st minute for Pause and made a difference in midfield while KC was playing a man down.  Did well finding the open man and several passes almost led to a third score.  Robayo is looking more and more comfortable with each game.  Will Klopas have a decision to make in the first eleven soon?

F Federico Puppo (6) - Came on in the 80th minute for Grazzini and was able to take advantage of gaps in the Sporting defense that could have easily resulted in another score.  His 84th minute shot was saved by Nielsen but he may have converted it if he had chosen the far post rather than the near side.  Probably his best overall game so far.

C Frank Klopas (6) - Sporting may have helped the game along by basically imploding but the Fire did what they needed to do and exposed their defense badly when they went down a man.  The home team applied the pressure at the right time and got a result that may ignite a decent run.  Substitutions contributed to the win as well although I would have liked to have seen Robayo earlier.



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  • I'd give Nyarko MOTM and a higher rating. He looked very dangerous with the ball at his feet and gave some great feeds. It is very frustrating to watch Oduro fumble with the ball when he is in prime positions.
    Thrilled with the result. Beginning to exorcise last year's demons. This would never have been a win last year.

  • In reply to Doug:

    If I had to pick a MOTM it would probably be Nyarko as well.

  • Good Recap and Rating Guillermo.
    "This Win was worth getting getting a
    free shower for at Toyota Park last night."
    Your right I would like to see Robayo get a
    start instead of Pause for a least a game.
    He looked good in the little time he has
    gotten so far and one would think he would
    have more of a positive impact if he got
    the opportunity to start a game.

  • A direct replacement of Robayo for Pause to start a game isn't wise... I'd give Pause at least a 6 for his performance last night...he broke up everything in midfield and had actually a few great tackles to stop Sporting from spring quick counter attacks.

    Robayo and Pause aren't the same player... With the shape we've been playing the last few games, I don't think Robayo would fit in from the start where Pause has been playing (would have to go back to the diamond midfield).

    Easy to look good when you're up a man. I'm still not totally convinced but I don't take Pause out of the starting XI just yet...

  • In reply to seaside:

    The current formation works better for both Pause and Robayo than playing out wide in a diamond does. I thought Pause was necessary in the diamond because they needed help for Pardo in covering ground and keeping some order but his more natural spot is in the holding role.

    Robayo is most comfortable as an 8 where he played at Millonarios. He can play that game here from the position next to Pardo as well. They're not the same player but Robayo adds another element going forward that Pause does not.

    A good option to have depending on the opposition and how you plan to tactically attack/defend in each game.

  • Agree that it was worth getting soaked. Let's give this ref his due as he called a very even game as well. I could not see what the red card was for, but honestly I thought before I saw the red card that he was going to book Grazzini for diving. I get a little frustrated with his softness at times. I do wish the league would have better refs. Maybe they can bring some FA refs over for the summer?
    I though Robayo played well too. But I also agree that Logan Pause and Pavel Pardo as holding mids in the back are an excellent combination. Pause made many more offensive oriented passes yesterday and his decision making was much faster. He played very well in my opinion. I think that the SKC goal was just a complete cluster %&*&^ from a shape standpoint. Once Segares was beaten, there was a jail break toward goal in numbers which took advantage of. Everyone was late in reacting on that play. I think the Fire had momentum even before the red card. It felt good to leave with a victory.

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    In reply to Krasov:

    I watch EPL religiously. They are almost no better.

  • What is the result of the reserve game today?

  • Fire lost 3-1. Barouch scored the only goal.

  • Press release on the reserve game loss to SKC this morning......

    CHICAGO, Ill. (May 13, 2012) – The Chicago Fire fell 3-1 to Sporting Kansas City in MLS Reserve League Action Sunday morning at the Toyota Park practice field. Teal Bunbury’s first half brace and Korede Aiyegbusi’s goal lead Sporting to victory.

    A chippy match from the start, Fire midfielder Michael Videira’s third minute yellow card set the tone in a match that would eventually see nine yellow cards and two ejections.

    Korede Aiyegbusi opened scoring for the visitors in the 26th minute. Luke Sassano squared the ball across the face of the Fire goal to Aiyegbusi, who slammed his volley into the back of the net at the far post.

    Sporting Kansas City added to their lead in the 39th minute on a great individual effort by Bunbury. The U.S. international received the ball and dribbled into the box, unleashing a curling shot just over the outstretched arms of Chicago Fire goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi to give Sporting a 2-0 lead.

    Minutes later Bunbury would complete his brace as he ran onto a ball played over the top of the Fire defense by Konrad Warzycha and slotted the ball home to give Sporting a 3-0 advantage on 42 minutes.

    The Men in Red went down a man when Daniel Paladini was shown a second yellow card in the 61st minute for unsporting behavior. Minutes later the sides would even out when Sporting Kansas City’s Paulo Nagamura was also shown a second yellow in the 66th minute for unsporting behavior.

    The Fire pulled one back in the 79th minute when Videira played a measured ball through to Barouch who was able to round Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jon Kempin and tally from close range.

    Chicago Fire 1 – 3 Sporting Kansas City

    Chicago Fire: Paolo Tornaghi; Tony Walls, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Stefan Antonijevic* (Brendan King 64*’), Hunter Jumper; Corben Bone, Michael Videira, Daniel Paladini; Rafael Robayo (Kellen Gulley 57’); Kheli Dube (Victor Pineda 52’), Orr Barouch

    Substitutes not used: Jay Nolly


    Sporting Kansas City: Jon Kempin; Kevin Ellis, Konrad Warzycha, Lawrence Olum, Seth Sinovic; Peterson Joseph, Paulo Nagamura, Luke Sassano (Michael Thomas 70’); Soony Saad, Teal Bunbury (Dom Dwyer) 52’, Korede Aiyegbusi

    Substitutes not used: Steve Spangler, Cyprian Hedrick, Shawn Singh

    Scoring Summary
    SKC – Koredi Aiyegbusi (Luke Sassano) 26’
    SKC – Teal Bunbury (unassisted) 39’
    SKC – Teal Bunbury (Konrad Warzycha) 42’
    CHI – Orr Barouch (Michael Videira) 79’

    Misconduct Summary
    CHI – Michael Videira (caution) 3’
    CHI – Orr Barouch (caution) 36’
    CHI – Daniel Paladini (caution) 53’
    CHI – Daniel Paladini (caution; ejection) 61’
    SKC – Paulo Nagamura (caution) 64’
    SKC – Paulo Nagamura (caution; ejection) 66’
    CHI – Kwame Watson-Siriboe (caution) 70’
    SKC – Dom Dwyer (caution) 79’
    SKC – Soony Saad (caution) 87’

    Referee: Margaret Domka
    Assistants: Khalaf Al-Lafayfeh, Nikola Aleksic
    Fourth Official: Ethan Buege

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    A "chippy match"??? Two ejections and an abundance of cautions. That game was more like the Hatfields and McCoys at a picnic.

  • In reply to FrontRow:

    The Sporting Reserves are trying to develop a huge rivalry with the Fire Reserves since the main rivalry isn't working out so well. ;)

  • How's Armed doing?

  • How's Arne doing?

  • In reply to penapirata:

    He had an MRI scheduled for today, but he was walking around the locker room last night post-game without a limp or any labored walking. I think he'll probably be ok.

    Klopas is giving the team Monday and Tuesday off, which will give everyone some time to rest before getting ready for Portland. Should be a good break for Friedrich, Gargan, and Rolfe.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    I didn't think Rolfe had the green light last week to participate in regular training. Did he practice with the team on Friday?

  • In reply to Modibo:

    He did not train with the team on Friday but he did jog all week. Hopefully he'll get clearance for training this week.

  • espinoza has to get a mulitple game suspension for his violent foul, eh?

    puppo had his runs well timed this weekend. nice to see some good team cohesion in the passes thru the middle to him

    refs did a pretty good job overall, except maybe the foul-up with the puppo substitution - not sure what or how that happened or whose fault it was. seems the refs are finally noticing that teams plan on roughing up grazzini. seen him actually get some calls the last few matches

    the 2 d-mid formation seems to do all right possession-wise, but its killing them in finding anything consistent in the attacking 3rd. hoping rolfe or robayo into the starting lineup improves that aspect

  • In reply to CountChocula: still shows Espinosa just suspended for the Colorado game next Saturday. Don't know if they are looking at it further.

    Think I recall Peter Vermes indicating they would appeal the red card. Don't know if that was just post-match bluster or serious and I don't know whether an appeal could lead to consideration for more, as well as, less suspension. I expect they'll let that lie, after they think about it. It was certainly bad enough to justify the red card and probably not as bad as it looked either.

  • In reply to Arklow:

    Vermes did say they were going to look at the possibility of an appeal but that was before seeing the replay. I think getting a good look at it will end any thought of an appeal.

    The Disciplinary Committee usually doles out additional penalties on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    I like the dual holding mid formation but it limits Oduro because a lone striker formation doesn't really suit him. It's good to know that they can play in different alignments with different personnel but they need a more well rounded striker if the 4-5-1 is going to operate at it's best. That's not a knock against Oduro because he's done extremely well in making the system work to fit his talents but opposing team's have figured it out.
    Rolfe will certainly add another wrinkle.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    didn't CDLC use the 4-5-1 formation? and didn't that also have problems in the attacking third?

  • In reply to penapirata:

    I thought he was more about the 3-5-2.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    The 3-5-2 only lasted about one and a half games before he mercifully ditched it.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    He did, but he also did not have Pardo and Grazzini available to him to make anything in the midfield work. They arrived after he was let go.

  • Per the Sun-Times' Seth Gruen, Friedrich has been diagnosed with a grade 2 hamstring strain. The Fire will evaluate him again on Wednesday.

  • fb_avatar

    Chicago getting some respect in the media. ESPN power poll has us ranked #5 this week. Thats way too high, I don't think they watch these games. Goal has us at a respectable #9. In other news, Conde has been arrested for domestic battery?

  • In reply to waam:

    Somewhere between 5 and 9 is about right but I think they're better than Vancouver, DC, and Houston.

    Conde was arrested for allegedly pushing a police officer not for domestic battery.

  • In reply to waam:

    SBI and have the Fire at 8 and 9, respectively, which is about right in my opinion. I'm not convinced that we'll hold that general position if we don't get Rolfe and Friedrich on the field soon, though.

  • USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinslmann was interviewed yesterday with the Big Dog on WDAE Tampa discussed several topics such as youth academies, soccer in America, USMNT games and etc.

  • In reply to longoria3:

    Funny that Tampa has a sports radio host that talks about soccer and they don't even have a first division team.

    We have radio hosts here who are fairly knowledgeable but they seem to be forbidden from talking about anything for more than 30 seconds.

  • US Open Cup play begins.....

    Chicago Fire PDL defeat Croatian Eagles 1-0 at the Toyota Park practice field.

    They will next host USLPro's Dayton Dutch Lions next Tuesday.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    For the sake of conversation... If the PDL wins the US Open Cup, does that make our club tally 5? Or does it make it, 4 and 1?

  • I'm sure the mid-week report is already being written in your head, just wanted to see if you knew about a "home call" or "home broadcast" for Sunday's game. Not for nothing, but Galavision's announce team really grinds my gears. If I want to know the full name of every player, including surnames and mother's maiden names I can wiki it. Give me context, God-bless it! (steps off soapbox)

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    There won't be a Fire home call and the game isn't listed on Portland's TV schedule so you may be stuck with hearing that Logan Pause's middle name is Allen twenty times. MLS Live won't carry it either.

  • Arne Friedrich is listed as OUT on the Tuesday injury report.

    Chris Rolfe is Questionable.

  • Robayo: "MLS is not what I expected."

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    That is the shame and he is starting to get better every week. He was used to starting in Millionaros and was a fan favorite (ie Logan Pause with the Fire).

  • In this article Rafael Robayo says "MLS is not what he was expecting," he's "bored" without playing time, and that he'd like to look at other options in the transfer window..........

  • I am extremely annoyed by this. Saying these things publicly is a slap in the face to the team that plays him. I understand that these things happe and will continue to happen while the league grows. But Im sure you can find plenty of skill players around the world that would love to play here and buy into "Tradition, Honor, and Passion".

    Send him on his way and any other player that is bored with this team.

  • In reply to KChance:

    I don't have much of a problem with players saying they aspire to play in Europe, because after all they should want to play in the top leagues for top dollar. In this case I think he was surprised at how difficult it would be for him to break into the line-up.

    My guess is he didn't know much about the league and thought he could just walk right in here, start right away, dominate, impress Euro scouts, and move overseas. He's had some trouble adjusting to the level and style of play here so he might be a bit frustrated.

    I still think he can contribute to this club while he's here. If he can play his way into more time on the pitch he'll be able to help the club and make a showing for himself when his deal is up. He signed a one year deal with options and he's always made it clear he wanted to explore a Euro option so I'm not real surprised by any of what he said although he should have phrased it differently.

  • I just think that it is disrespectful. He signed a 1 year deal, so to me that 1 year you play your ass off and do whatever your team needs. Sit down at the end of the year and reflect on what you want to do going forward. And then make comments like this after you move on.

    Im sure most players understand that it is busniess, but I find it hard for people like Pause, who plays his heart out for the badge, to be ok with Robayos comments.

    But this seems like it will be an issue untill the league/team becomes top tier.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to KChance:

    Until salaries rise across all levels here in MLS, only the big name vets who come from overseas will see the relative big paydays here. 2.5-2.7m is about the average a good player makes in EPL. That is the supposed cap for the entire team here. MLS just doesn't generate enough money. Like anybody who wants to make a living, money talks when you just don't have the prestige and tradition.

    However, now MLS is also up against EPL and Champs League. Been looking at some ratings and stuff, and top EPL games and Champs League are starting to hit 1-2m or more viewers now. MLS Cup still can't get 1m viewers. It's going to be tough.

  • Nice comments on Austin Berry on

  • I'm not sure how the "Fire continued their dominance against Sporting Kansas City" given that the previous 5 meetings between the squads had the Fire's record at 1 win, 3 draws, 1 loss.

    KC has a +1 goal diferential

    The teams have been pretty evenly matched over the past couple of years.

  • In reply to Roti2000:

    I would say 22-10-9 (16-2-3 at home) in the all time series record is pretty one sided.

  • Forgive my inability to post this as a reply from my whacked employer's computer...

    I believe Roti2000 has a valid point. Domination does not appear to have been continuous if there was a recent stretch of 5 games over which the 2 sides held even records against one another. Over a period of 5 games neither side was dominant. Therefore the dominance was not continuous. It would be more correct to speculate that perhaps the Fire is resuming their dominance. I hope!

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