Fire 0 Dynamo 0 - Recap and Ratings

With only a few days rest for both clubs and high temperatures at game time nobody thought this match would be pretty but the first half was surprisingly well played considering the circumstances.  The second half however wasn't exactly a sight to behold.  That being said the resolve that has been displayed by this club over the last four matches has been impressive.  A result on the road in this instance is a completely acceptable outcome.

Yes, the passing was sloppy and the club took a defensive posture for the most part but all that really matters is that good teams manage to gain results under difficult circumstances.  It's not a perfect side by any stretch of the imagination.  With all due respect to Dominic Oduro, who has exceeded expectations since coming to Chicago and has played remarkably well in stretches the club is still in need of a high quality striker to provide the elements that Oduro doesn't quite have in his repertoire.  One also has to question where adequate service will come from without Sebastian Grazzini since the Argentine playmaker seems to be on his way out.  Chris Rolfe can adequately fill the central playmaker role effectively in spurts but he's not quite the fit for the position that Grazzini is/was.  Alex has shown some flair in two substitute appearances but it hasn't been much more than just that.

There are questions to be answered but an 8-5-4 record at the half way point of the MLS regular season should be evidence enough that Frank Klopas has managed to deliver a competitive side capable of challenging for playoff position.  How the rest of the pieces are put into place before the transfer window closes on July 27 will determine just how capable.

Player Ratings

GK Sean Johnson (6) - Registered his second consecutive clean sheet but wasn't required to save the day this time.  Houston rarely challenged or managed to get much on frame but Johnson appears to be playing with much more confidence than he was earlier in the season.

D Dan Gargan (6) - Houston decided to move Brad Davis into a more central playmaking role which made Gargan's task on the right side easier.  He was seldom matched up 1v1 against Davis and Corey Ashe frequently botched attacks from the flank.

D Jalil Anibaba (6) - Stopped a dangerous 1v1 chance against Bruin in the 12th and did well in tandem with Berry to clear just about every chance in the air out of danger.

D Austin Berry (6) - Houston served 34 open play crosses in comparison to the Fire's 7.  Berry cleared a good portion of them.

D Gonzalo Segares (6) - The Fire's outside backs weren't as involved in the attack as they usually are.  Despite the amount of crosses there just wasn't much given up by the back line.

M Logan Pause (6) - How often were Boniek-Garcia, Camargo, and Davis allowed space to create dangerous chances?  Not often.  Garcia disappeared in the second half.  Did very well to break up numerous forward forays by Houston.

M Pavel Pardo (6) - Dual holding tandem has worked well in this stretch of good form but he hasn't been as involved offensively as you would expect.

M Patrick Nyarko (6) - Just missed hitting Oduro with a cross in the 17th and found Oduro again in the 20th but the forward failed to get a shot off.

M Marco Pappa (6) - Probably had the Fire's best chance to score in the 12th minute with an attempt that was blasted right at Hall and handled easily.  Without Grazzini he's been entrusted with corner kick duties from the right side but his service is not particularly good from corners.

M Chris Rolfe (6) - His best chance came when a loose ball found it's way to him in the penalty area in the 56th but his shot was struck wide of the goal.  Did well to track back and aid defensively.

F Dominic Oduro (5) - Failed to get a shot off in the 20th when Nyarko set him up with a good look and should have done better with a chance in the 32nd although he was incorrectly called offside.

M Alex (5) - Came in for Oduro in the 54th and played the ball into Pappa that resulted in Rolfe's shot in the 56th.  Two long shot attempts were blocked.

F Orr Barouch (5) - Entered the match for Pappa in the 72nd.  Managed to draw a foul in the 83rd but that was about it.

M Hunter Jumper (5) - Subbed into the game in the 86th minute for Nyarko as the Fire looked for a point on the road.

C Frank Klopas (6) - It wasn't pretty but the Fire came in with a game plan and executed it.  Under the circumstances a draw in a very difficult place to play has to be considered a good thing.  He'll have some issues to deal with in the final third during the final 17 games of the season if the lead forward issue is not addressed with a quality player.

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  • Kwame Watson-Siriboe got the start for Real Salt Lake next to Nat Borchers in a 0-0 draw against Seattle last night.

  • Seems that Sherjill MacDonald should be officially part of the club very soon. His twitter account (@mackie84) says he is happy to be joining Chicago.

    Now an international spot needs to be cleared to add him.

  • According to MacDonald via twitter.....he is waiting for his visa to arrive and expects to be in Chicago next week.

    Reports out of Argentina surfaced a few days ago that San Lorenzo is interested in a transfer for Grazzini.

  • Sherjill MacDonald?!?! Seriously. Why not just bring Collins John back?

    MacDonald was 25th in scoring in the Belgian First Division last year--not sure if this inspires fear in opposing defenses.

  • In reply to Roti2000:

    Collins John? Why not go with the cheaper option of cloning Puppo? Plus Andy loves the cheaper option anyway. This is sad and disappointing that this management can not bring in that top class striker we so desperately need.

  • Can't bring in, or won't?

    I opt for won't.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    Okay, I was wrong should've used won't.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    I opt for can't.

  • In reply to iron81:

    In fairness, you might be right Don. Like was said in the previous discussion, when big money is being thrown down in other leagues, it becomes difficult to land the big dogs here.

    I'm really trying to be optimistic and level-headed about this whole thing. In light of the Grazzini debacle, Puppo signing, and continued failure (of their own doing or not) by the club to make a big move, I'm finding optimism hard to come by.

  • :) Semantics, of course, as either way it doesn't result in a name striker coming to Chicago. Wonder if he and Puppo will be roommates?

  • Losing Grazzini without a top flight addition is insane.
    The front office needs new management, ones that can inspire
    creditability and competence. The way the Grazzini fiasco was handled isn't exactly an incentive in recruiting top flight players.
    Maybe they need someone like McBride or someone of his stature
    to step in and become the operating executive of the club instead of the current clowns we have.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    I don't guys, it just seems to me that the Grazzini issue is on him and not mgmt. Seems like he doesn't want to play here anymore. I agree that they certainly could have handled the whole situation better though.

  • In reply to Drew:

    I could agree with you that it might be a Grazzini issue in the end, but why did it happen and why was the situation handled so badly . Most separations of players from clubs are handled in an appropriate and professional fashion, wishing them goodbye and good luck.
    If Grazzini had doubts, why didn't the club react to this and search for additional talent at jump street, instead of drawing out this mess. This isn't the first screwup by these smucks and unfortunately it probably isn't the last.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    It strikes me that Grazinni's unhappiness is being renewed at his cut rate salary. If players have very good seasons, it is not unusual that their contracts are extended and their old deal thrown out. Perhaps Grazinni had some expectations, with or without cause, to believe this would be the case. Rather than spend money on busts, fill in the appropriate name, the Fire should re-up Grazinni at a fair rate which reflects his play. There is much about the Fire FO which seems subpar, even their website is amateur compared to other teams.

  • In reply to Celt:

    The FO said that Grazzini is "not among our lowest paid players". That's the closest we're ever going to get to news that the $50k he's listed at is way too low.

  • In reply to Celt:

    There's some blame that can be spread to both sides for this mess but you might be on to something with that theory.

  • Response to LC's front office comments...

    They've got to do something to end the appearance of incometence. I would almost be willing to try the "college of clowns" approach, a la P. K. Wrigley. Probably wouldn't do any worse. And who knows? We might even get lucky!

  • I would love to keep Grazzini, but at this point it seems clear that he wants to move on. Him and Robayo can just move on, last thing we need are people on the team that dont want to be here.

  • Regarding Grazzini, if the Fire knew he was thinking his contract would be re-worked, then they should have known that he would be totally PO'd if they exercised the option. They had to have known or the FO is dumber than everyone reading this thinks they are. That is why the whole situation was handled poorly. It sounds like these think that because a player is under contract that he will give his all to the team. They don't realize that professional athletes can go on personal strikes. Look at Matt Forte. He has the franchise tag on him, but he won't play until he has a longer term deal. The Fire FO thinks that because they exercised the opion that Grazzini will play out the deal. He won't if he made it clear that he was not happy financially. If he made that known (and you know he had to because all players make it known they wantt more money), the Fire FO are so dumb the way they played the game. They should have been leakimg stories about Grazzini wanting more money and that they were trying to work something out, and if they couldn't they would look at options of moving him aloimg for a transfer fee. Why not spill this stratgey to the press and let the pressure from fans etc. work in their favor? I'll tell you why, because they don't get it. They had a short put to get Grazzini looking like the sour apple and themselves like reasonable business guys and they dropped the ball. They are so dumb it scares me.

  • I strongly agree that the Fire front office are a bunch of clowns
    who need to be replaced starting with Leon and Posada!!!
    Chicago has one of the largest Soccer Fan bases in the US.
    Much larger than Seattle and Portland combined.
    It has been said on this site so many times that in order to sell the
    Fire and increase attendance you have to field a winning team
    that plays entertaining attractive attacking soccer.
    So they bring in Puppo who plays like his name sounds so far and
    a striker who probably is not even as good as Orr Barouch.
    O how we need Peter Wilt to be in charge of this team before
    Posada and Leon and company totally destroy it and the fan base
    by their continuous stupidity.

  • Is it just me or is Orr Barouch becoming like the 2nd string qb (pre-cutler)...everyone wants to see him play more, though there is probably good reason he isn't. He seems decent, but I'm not convinced at all that he should be playing any more than he is.

  • This is all very unfortunate, with Grazzini and Pappa probably out - especially with the time that is required to develop chemistry etc and both are great.

    However, let's not reserve judgement until we see Alex play a couple of more games and see what MacDonald can do. Maybe they are both on the verge of breakout seasons or whatever. However, if they are Puppo-like busts management must be held to account. I am very nervous as a fan.

  • I think that Alex has many great qualities that the current line-up lacks. First, Alex has shown his ability and foot skills with the ball. He can do things that Oduro can't even dream about. (OK, maybe that's a little strong.) Second, he has size and strength that our current mids don't have. Third, he has pretty decent speed. I think the Fire have a really good player in Alex. I don't think the Fire can say they are a better team with Alex versus Grazzini. However, they are not dead in the water without Grazzini. They have shown that they are capable of getting the ball in good scoring positions without him. I just think that the team should ave paid Grazzini real money to stay. It would have been worth it. Why can the Galaxy offer huge dollars for Frank Lampard and we don't even breathe interest in anyone. MLS needs to force this ownership out and get a new management group in place before these jokers destroy what's left. I say this because I really want this team to be great and I don't think this ownership group knows what they are doing.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    They don't offer the money like LA does because Andrew is cheap. He'll tell the media that he'll spend the money but I think that is just to look good. He doesn't care about the success or traditions of this club. To him this club is a hobby and nothing more. I'll remind you that he said he thought it would be cool to own a soccer team after he went and saw Chelsea play in London.

  • Fire caught a break, Beckdumb is out an extra game for his behavior.
    Surprised that MLS is tiring of his act, apparently someone has balls somewhere in the league office. Really won't miss Beckdumb's absence from the field, I'm going out to cheer the Fire to victory and see another solid game.
    Any news or indications that Grazzini will start the L.A. game?
    Is he still in Chicago? Has he played his last game?
    There is so much speculation regarding him and so much silence
    coming from the F.O. Does the F.O. even know or care?

  • Saw a report today that a Chilean club is in the lead for Cavenaghi's signature. I'm assuming they haven't seen Sherjill MacDonald play.

  • Diego Forlan has signed with Internacional in Brazil. Yet another team has missed out on Sherjill MacDonald.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    I know Frank Klopas "Used To Be a Striker" for the Sting, Fire and
    USNM team. We are told he has the final say on players.
    That having been said, we should be bringing in one of the
    best strikers available and "Sherjill MacDonald is NOT that GUY."
    So I don't understand why we got Puppo and letting Papa and
    Grazzini get away. Has Frank's judgement of Soccer talent
    deteriorated that much these past few months???

  • In reply to Juergen:

    Pappa's been offered a good deal to stay but he's looking to give Europe a shot. You really can't blame him or the club for that. The Grazzini nonsense was mishandled above Klopas.

    In all fairness we should probably give MacDonald a chance to show what he can do, although I fear most know the answer to that.

  • Guillermo, has Seba trained with the team at all since they returned from Houston?

  • In reply to dustbin:

    Sun-Times' Seth Gruen says Grazzini is in attendance but on the sidelines in street clothes.

  • In reply to dustbin:

    They were off yesterday after training in Houston on Wednesday. I won't be able to hit practice today so I can't say for sure.

  • Seems the official line now is that Grazzini is returning to Argentina indefinitely to deal with family issues.

  • How can things be going so good on the field but so bad off. Team performance is trending upwards, but I cant help but think these things are dragging them down.

    Like I said to you on twitter, I would think the Fire could just loan him to the team that wants him in ARG, if they dont offer a transfer fee for him. But if its the case of him not wanting to be here then he must go.

    Robayo wants out ASAP, accept any trasnfer fee the Millos offers for him, or Loan him there untill they can pay a transfer for him.

    Now this one stings, but we are going to lose Pappa after the season no matter what. He put his time in here and has a right to seek Euro soccer. If someone is offering a decent fee now, I would take it but only on the guarantee that they spend the money to replace the talent that is leaving. If they wont, then keep him for rest of the year. Offer him a contract, so that if he ever comes back to the MLS we still own his rights.

    just my 2 cents

  • Pappa says its likely he will be with the team for the rest of the season but there's also a chance he could be gone next week.

  • Now Grazzini says he is departing to attend to personal issues but has no issue with the club......

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/breaking/chi-fires-grazzini-leaving-team-to-address-personal-problems-20120706,0,1167136.story

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Ah, scripted lines from the club FTW.

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