Revolution 2 Fire 0 - Recap and Ratings

This one will sting for a while and the Fire will have two weeks to stew in the aftermath.  After coming out to start the second half with full control of the first fifteen minutes of play the Fire's defense completely collapsed allowing New England attackers to run free into the penalty area for two goals in a span of four minutes.   The breakdown sealed a second consecutive loss against an Eastern Conference rival trailing them in the table.  Columbus is now tied with Chicago on 18 points and New England is just 2 points behind.

The international break will provide an opportunity for the club to recover from a crowded stretch of eight matches since the beginning of May while giving the coaching staff a chance to fully incorporate Arne Friedrich, Chris Rolfe, and Marco Pappa into the side.  Pappa, currently in a good run of form was away on international duty for this match and his scoring threat was missed tonight.  Rolfe will provide another option and a more creative look up top but he shouldn't be considered the complete answer to the club's offensive woes.

It should also be noted that there are only two matches remaining until the transfer window opens on June 27.  The Fire will continue to struggle on occasion and will remain in the middle of the pack battling to win the 4th or 5th playoff spot in the East unless another legitimate scoring option is added in July.  They should get better defensively when all the pieces are in place but there will be more nights like this without a reinforcement or two.

Player Ratings

GK Sean Johnson (6) - Made two fantastic saves that kept the Fire within reach after the defense inexplicably stopped playing fifteen minutes into the second half.  Stopped Kelyn Rowe on a 1v1 break away in the 65th and made a diving outstretches save to deny McCarthy in the 75th.

D Gonzalo Segares (4) - Decent work in the first half was ruined by a disastrous second.  Beaten by Rowe for the first New England goal after a throw in.  The second Revolution goal was a result of a total break down on the left side of the field in the 73rd minute when Feilhaber found himself alone in completely vacated space.  His header in the 17th minute beat Reis but clanged off the post.

D Austin Berry (5) - Decent outing particularly on air balls in the first half but seemed to tire in the second half along with the rest of the back line.

D Jalil Anibaba (5) - Did well to clear a chance in the 26th but blue shirts were running free all over the place from the 60th minute on.

D Dan Gargan (5) - Decent work on Nguyen and attackers up the right flank in the first half but a lazy clearance in the 75th almost resulted in a 3 goal deficit.

M Pavel Pardo (5) - A free kick in the 17th found Segares for his header attempt and another pass in the 48th resulted in Oduro's header attempt that found the post yet again.

M Logan Pause (5) - Decent "Pause-like" game breaking up passes in midfield during the first half but every defender seemed to be in a fog after minute 60.  Subbed out in the 74th.

M Patrick Nyarko (5) - His passing was not as sharp as usual.  A well struck attempt in the 59th was stopped by Reis.

M Sebastian Grazzini (5) - Produced two shots on goal and a great ball in the 40th that Nyarko botched.  The Fire need another legitimate scoring threat to really maximize Grazzini's talents as a playmaker.

F Orr Barouch (4) - Provided a different look with decent hold up play but his passing was atrocious killing several counter attack opportunities.  Worked a header in the 48th that Oduro also headed off the post.

F Dominic Oduro (5) - A good attempt on the run in the 29th went wide of goal and his header in the 48th came inches away from giving the Fire a lead.

F Chris Rolfe (5) - Came in for Oduro in the 69th but didn't get many touches until a long distance shot in the 89th sailed just wide of goal.

M Rafael Robayo (5) - Nice tackle on Nguyen near the end line in the 82nd and worked into the box for a shot that was blocked in the 86th after coming in for Pause in the 74th.

F Frederico Puppo (5) - Entered the match in the 77th minute for Barouch but Fire forwards didn't see much of the ball late in the game.

C Frank Klopas (4) - The club has trailed at some point in the match 11 times in 13 outings this season.  Losing to New England is never fun and now Klopas has two weeks to work Pappa, Rolfe, and Friedrich back into the side.  The team is better than they showed today and those players will make a difference but the results need to start coming especially against weaker sides.

Comments

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  • Transfer window, come quickly.

  • Looked like a clumsy high school team at times. Too many passes to no one or so far behind the player it killed any positive play. Note to mids, opposition has figured out send a Ghanaian....There are bright spots, it is the other 85 minutes a gam I worry about.

  • Hey G,
    I think your conclusion is correct: the Fire will remain a mid-table team with its current line up. They are not a deep team and there starters lack that dynamic player that can score consistently.

  • Very bad display of soccer. Come on guys. I didn't see any passion or pride, except for the Section 8 contingent, I wish they could transmit some of their energy down to the players. Maybe they should inquire as to what
    energy drink is the beverage of choice for Section 8.

  • I realize that the defense let in the two goals but I also noticed a big, fat zero on our side of the sheet. I understand that Rolfe will be a big asset, however----what happened to the two fantastic signings from South America, Robayo and Puppo??? I'm a big fan of adding a Latin flavor to the team but it appears that our batting average "sucks" ! Either our scouts or Frank need a brush-up in talent evaluation. I don't know what they're making but if it's commensurate with the original hype, we are blowing a big chunk of money. GR -- what's the deal?????

  • In reply to shortpasses:

    There's no doubt in my mind they need to add a big time striker. They've looked to fill spots up top with players who are fairly inexpensive in hopes of landing someone who could develop into that player but it just hasn't worked. Teams like RSL and Seattle have had success with players
    Iike Saborio, Montero, Rosales, etc. The Fire have had some success to a lesser extent with Grazzini...all of these players came here cheaply but have had options picked up for DP style money. Grazzini's option in July is considerably more than the $50k that he's listed for now.
    It's probably time to step above that caliber of player and land a big time striker because I still believe the rest of the squad is not bad and could seriously challenge with an impact player at forward. Klopas, Jeffries, and Leon do the bulk of the first team scouting and theyve had their share of misses along with the good ones....it's time to swing for the fences instead of looking for doubles that could be stretched into triples if the ball happens to take a good bounce off the wall. I believe they're looking for and trying to sign "that guy" now.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    so what soccer background does leon have?

  • In reply to penapirata:

    He was CEO at Chivas USA before joining the Fire.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    so does that make him a good judge of talent?

  • In reply to penapirata:

    Not sure if it does or doesn't. Klopas has the last call on first team talent decisions. I don't think this team is devoid of talent. There are some good players on this squad, but there have been some misses on some South American players.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    I know I expressed this ad nauseum during the offseason, but I don't like the idea of Klopas being the coach and having player acquisition responsibilities. I just believe in division of labor, especially at this level (can't they afford a technical director?) and that Klopas should be 98-99% focused on the games, his current players, strategies, player development and scouting/understanding the opponents. I think mgmt should be coming to him with players that are intriguing, giving him the scouting reports and discussing the fit. I sincerely hope he isn't spending his time during the season seeking out and scouting mid-season signings. Maybe he's not and this paragraph is moot (even so I believe we should hire a TD).

    Anyway, the team absolutely needs another proven dangerous striker for sure...like we've all said for months/years now. We also need some health, losing our two best center backs certainly hasn't helped. I hate to say it, but I'm having a tough time really getting excited about this team and think that more often than not it's a pretty boring squad to watch. Too many bungled passes, horribly taken scoring chances - like someone said up top, it can be like watching a high school squad play. Maybe they need to wear more "flair" to work... ;)

    But hey, on the flip side...how bout them white sox? :)

  • In reply to Drew:

    Klopas isn't "scouting" per se during the season. New personnel decisions are more of a team effort between the technical staff. They have also added Guillermo Petrei to complete some of Klopas' vacated technical director duties.

    What is this White Sox you speak of?

  • Silly rumor time.....

    According to this article, the Fire are interested in Red Star Belgrade captain Nikola Mikic.

    http://sportskacentrala.com/?s=read&cat=1&id=111353

    He's a right back and captain of the squad. He's currently under contract until summer 2013 but Red Star has given him permission to seek a deal elsewhere. The asking price is believed to be $1 millions euros but they might accept slightly lower according to the article.

    Let me see.....a DP right back with a huge transfer fee. Um, ok.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    haha...that's great! yes, let's pay loads of money for a right back! exactly what we need! that said, i'm really looking forward to our first DP in a while. it's kinda too bad that nery and freddie spoiled the DP spot for us and we have to deal with the likes of the puppos and robayos of the world now instead of true impact players.

  • fb_avatar

    Well judging from the town hall meeting last month, I doubt a big time striker is on the way. I think getting our current squad healthy and fit as possible along with hoping this Alex kid turns out to be something special is the best shot we have of making the playoffs.

    For what it's worth and even if we end up missing the playoffs, I believe that Frank Klopas is the right man for the job.

    I think this starting XI fully fit would be pretty dangerous:

    ------Oduro------------------Rolfe--------

    ------Pappa-----------------Nyarko-------

    -----------Pardo--------Pause-------------

    Sega----Berry------Friedrich-----Gargan

    ----------------Johnson--------------

  • In reply to Freddy Coba:

    If the Fire can't make the playoffs with the current squad then Klopas shouldn't remain a coach, though I agree (at least on paper) that your starting XI squad is probably the strongest lineup available. Hopefully Alex may turn out to be an excellent selection,
    however the Fire is loaded with numerous project players with promise who have yet to bloom.

  • I think Grazzini has to be in there to make things work offensively.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    absolutely grazzini needs to be in this line-up. pause can have a seat. don't get me wrong, i like pause for his solid contributions, but he doesn't elevate the team, he's more of an anchor....solid and grounding. but we need a player(s) who can elevate the team offensively. pause would be a great 2nd half sub for defensive purposes.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    GR, what's Grazzini's contract status? Doesn't it run out at the end of June? Is he going to be here in July? I am surprised that the Fire would negotiate a deal whose termination doesn't coincide with the end of the season.

    MLS contracts usually have options built in, so I wonder whether this exists for Grazzini. He seems to have been a soccer nomad in his career, so his departure wouldn't shock me. Is Alex here as cover in case Grazzini bolts in mid season?

  • In reply to StaryByk3:

    Stary,
    The Fire do indeed have the option to renew Grazzini's contract at the end of June. I believe he wants to be here but the option lies with the club. The option will also likely increase his salary significantly from the $50k reported in the MLSPU listing.

  • The Fire may need more than a quality striker based upon the past several games. I'd say that the midfield play is abysmal except
    it hasn't been that good. Grazzini hasn't been that effective this season with many missed passes. The midfield is making too many unforced errors and losing possession too easily. Barouch had a poor game but he wasn't getting much help from the midfield.
    I would have expected a better game after the Michigan cluster f--k, but no. Thought there was too much ball watching at times and seemingly there were several times players didn't run out plays and stopped too early instead of chasing down balls.
    Seemingly the team puts a better effort against stronger teams then lets down against mediocre and weaker ones.
    The defense has been caught flat footed too many times.
    If the above errors and lack of effort only occurred several times, there isn't much of an issue, however when this keeps happening then it's a pattern. At this point, seeing the Fire as a mid level team may be a bit generous.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    At this point you have to look at the teams that are below them in the Eastern Conference table. All of them have big issues. Houston can be dangerous but the remainder of those clubs (Columbus, New England, Philadelphia, Montreal, Toronto) aren't better than the Fire. Losses to the Crew and Revs in the last week are huge letdowns but remember those were road games with travel circumstances playing a part in the result. It's important not to overeact to losses and not celebrate wins too loudly.

    It's nothing to be proud of and certainly not an endorsement of how well they've played in the first 13 games of the season but the numbers speak for themselves...they're in the middle of the pack. They're not terrible and they're not great.

    The goal must be finishing much better than that. Your point regarding doing well against the lower teams is well taken.....they can't continue to drop points to them particularly at home.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    I generally agree with you but believe the disappointment stems from the fact this team was looking (and appearing) to be better than this just a couple weeks back. This, after a long dry spell for the Fire faithful, was a joy to which we all were clinging with great joy. Also, you will recall, we were being regalled with talk of the improved depth. Then we lost just a second starter, admittedly a second center defender, and it now seems like we're watching a team not much different than we were watching at this time last year. Yes, the record is better, but over the last couple weeks, it's been about the same. That's a tough fall emotionally.

    At this point, it does feel like we need to add more than just the much longed for proven striker. Despite the claims of depth, our inexperience at center defender, is costing dearly. I can see why the front office might be looking at a defender. And recently our midfield has appeared to resume an all-too-familiar foundering.

    I do still have hope, but it is dependent on getting Friedrich healthy and back in the starter's role and KEEPING him there. Also need to keep the rest of the team healthy. I believe, if the backline is stabilized, it's reasonable to expect better play than we've seen over this recent stretch.

    Bottom line, with the expectation of Friedrich's successful return, I still think the biggest need is for a proven striker. I think with improved play in the back and front, the midfield will settle down and play at least well enough.

  • In reply to Arklow:

    Well said. Dealing with the ups and downs is all part of being a supporter of the club. The fact that there are passionate people posting either positively or negatively shows that people care and the Fire organization should be grateful for fans such as yourself who want to see the team succeed.

    It's a long season, there will be more ups and more downs to come.

  • fb_avatar

    Heck yeah we care. Thanks for supporting even the negative ones like me right now. There are good signs, but dang it, mediocrity is NOT something I will settle for. Not after being served 1 MLS Cup, 4 US Open Cups, and 10 playoffs in a row... Now we don't even know who we are.

  • In reply to waam:

    it is tough. i expected a big set back after a couple of seasons ago, but it sure is painful to go through. especially when one can question what the club has done to improve. they've done the small things, brought in decent depth and some good young players through the draft, but they haven't pulled off the big moves to take us from mediocrity to a top of the table club. it can happen, esp in MLS soccer as we've all witnessed, but it's generally rare when teams without stars can compete for titles.

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