Mid season ratings - Galaxy preview

You'd have to consider the first half of the 2012 season a success given the Fire's 8-5-4 record and solid standing in the Eastern Conference only 5 points behind the leader.  At this point last season the club was mired in a soon to be record breaking run of draws and struggling along with a 2-4-11 record before the July additions of Sebastian Grazzini and Pavel Pardo helped turn things around.  This season's club is currently enjoying their best stretch with a 3-0-1 run in their last four matches.   Frank Klopas has done well to keep the team focused and improving despite a recent series of soap opera-worthy events including the bizarre "family issues" Grazzini saga, Rafael Robayo's wishes for more playing time and a possible return to Colombia, the impending departure of Marco Pappa (be it now or January), the snafu that made Federico Puppo a designated player, and a continuing search for another striker.

The second half of the season is shaping up to be a very interesting one.  The loss of Grazzini could derail the offense if Chris Rolfe and Alex can't adequately fill his shoes in the playmaking role and there is still a need for another striker to compliment either Rolfe or Dominic Oduro up top.  Looking back at the first half of the season, I've taken the average "player rating" score for each player over those 17 contests to calculate individual mid-season ratings.

There aren't many surprises.  Paolo Tornaghi enjoyed a good run as the starting goalkeeper in the first three games of the year before Sean Johnson re-joined the squad and he remains the highest rated player overall.  That's not to say Tornaghi was the best player on the team in 2012 but rather the number is a reflection of his performance in a smaller sampling.  Over the course of the entire first half the club's best/most consistent players have been Austin Berry, Marco Pappa, Patrick Nyarko, and Sebastian Grazzini according to the numbers.  Sean Johnson and Dan Gargan aren't far behind either.

You can find a complete game by game breakdown by clicking on the "Fire Schedule and Results" tab which now includes a link to each match recap.  The overall individual player average ratings are as follows:

Player                               Average

Paolo Tornaghi               6.33

Chris Rolfe                        6.00

Austin Berry                    5.82

Marco Pappa                   5.75

Patrick Nyarko               5.71

Cory Gibbs                       5.67

Sebastian Grazzini        5.64

Sean Johnson                 5.57

Dan Gargan                     5.56

Arne Friedrich              5.50

Pavel Pardo                    5.47

Gonzalo Segares           5.44

Jalil Anibaba                 5.44

Dominic Oduro             5.41

Hunter Jumper            5.25

Rafael Robayo              5.23

Logan Pause                  5.18

Federico Puppo          5.09

Alex                                 5.00

Corben Bone                5.00

Orr Barouch                 4.86

Daniel Paladini            4.67

Who's been the MVP of the first half?  It's a difficult call but I maintain that Patrick Nyarko is the most important cog in what the team does offensively.  A case can also be made for Marco Pappa, who hasn't been as consistent but has certainly provided some spectacular moments.

Fire v Galaxy

For the fourth consecutive season David Beckham will miss the Galaxy's trip to Chicago.  He has not appeared at Toyota Park since 2008 for a variety of reasons and this time his petulance at the conclusion of a match against San Jose last weekend has earned him a slap on the wrist from MLS.  Without Beckham the Galaxy is still a dangerous team but they have been in a funk for essentially the entire 2012 season.  Many attributed their struggles to the loss of Omar Gonzalez due to injury but the big defender made his return to the line up on Wednesday night in a 2-1 loss to the Union at the Home Depot Center.  This may be the right time to catch LA before they begin to hit all cylinders.

LA is 2-5-1 on the road.  The Fire may finally be using Toyota Park to their advantage with an impressive 5-1-2 at home.

Prediction: Fire 2 Galaxy 1


Jair Marrufo

Injury Report

CHICAGO FIRE -- OUT: DF Cory Gibbs (R knee meniscus repair); MF Steven Kinney (R Achilles tendinitis)

LA GALAXY -- OUT: DF Andrew Boyens (L sports hernia surgery); FW Edson Buddle (R knee surgery); MF Dan Keat (R knee surgery); DF Leonardo (R knee inflammation); QUESTIONABLE: DF Omar Gonzalez (L knee surgery); MF Kyle Nakazawa (back spasms); FW Pat Noonan (R quad strain)

Filed under: 2012 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • So many of you are broken records. Your message is: AH, go out and spend Keane money to buy us a World Class Forward. But let's look at the LA Galaxy for a moment. The Galaxy have Donovan, Keane, and Beckham, who collectively might make as much as our whole team (if that's hyperbole, so be it, you get my point). Keane is one of these supposed world-class strikers, unless you guys are only interested in the Henry, Messi, and Ronaldos of the world. Donovan and Keane collectively have 10 goals, which is the same as Pappa and Oduro. The Galaxy have five more goals than the Fire, and eight fewer points, despite playing one more game than the Fire. Look, I know we want better than what we have--Forlan, Raul, Drogba, someone like that would be nice to have, but it has to be someone who (1) wants to play in MLS; (2) is reasonably affordable (which throws out Messi and Ronaldo even if they fit within (1)); (3) will be with the team for more than a year; (4) isn't a canker in the locker room. Given how MLS is perceived around the world, (1) is a pretty tough obstacle, which makes (2) more difficult because if MLS were a pipeline to top 20 teams in Europe, players would be willing to take less money to come here. But it's not. It's a tough league where a lot of top players complain about being hacked (I bet they all complain about it, but the media focuses on the top players). Players like Robayo, who were studs where they came from, suddenly become invisible and don't produce like they used to. That really cuts the incentive to come here. So I know we're frustrated, but let's not assume that a mega-bucks forward is the silver bullet we need.

    Grazzini's departure is frustrating and puzzling and we don't have the whole story. But it's worth noting he has never been anywhere very long. The most appearances he made for any team was 45 (2007-08). He has played 25 games for the Fire, which is his third most appearances with any of the ten teams he has played for. Yep, there might be culpability on the side of the Fire, but this isn't a guy known for his long stays. It's a pity that something has gone wrong, because I think Grazzini needs the Fire if he ever wants to be a franchise player and have some stability and the Fire needs Grazzini.

    The Fire certainly seem to have some difficulty when it comes to capitalizing on the players who have come up with us, but it is a hazy picture and not just bleak. Soumare was the highest transfer fee of any defender when he left the team for France. We got nothing at first for Rolfe, but that also means that we got dibs when he came back. It's not all bad!

    But whoever started the chant about getting more rotation among the players, I wholeheartedly agree. I'd like to see more Barouch, Bone, Pineda, Robayo, etc. It's a long season and these people need first team experience so that if a starter goes down we don't miss a beat.

    Which reminds me. Robayo said in an interview recently that Frank has consistently played him out of position. He described himself as a "volante mixto." Translation?

  • In reply to Fuegofan:

    The translation is that Robayo is a box-to-box midfielder. He would be most suited in Pardo's role as a field general, but Frank has mostly used him in Grazzini's spot.

  • In reply to Fuegofan:


  • Sorry, somehow it lost the first few lines. Guillermo, I think you are doing a great job and giving a fair view of the team we all love. The rant is in response to many people who post comments, not to what you have been writing.

  • In reply to Fuegofan:

    Thanks Fuego. Both sides are always welcome to post either pro or con to any topic. My goal is to present everything in a fair light whether it puts the club in a negative or positive position. I hope I've been able to convey that.

    I think it's a good sign for the club that there are supporters passionate enough to blast the club/ownership/front office in this space because it shows how much all of you really care about the team.

    Most people would probably be happy with that MLS Cup trophy the Galaxy hoisted last year though. ;)

  • This article claims Millonarios is close to a deal with the Fire to bring Robayo back to Colombia.....


  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    While I liked Robayo's play more than I like Puppo's, his heart was never here, and it's laughable that he thought he would come in as a starter right away because of his career in Colombia. Good riddance if he goes, team will look no different without him.

  • Do you believe the Chicago Fire would consider signing Adolfo Bautista to replace Grazzini? Also, do you have any updates on Tony Walls I have seen him during practice a few times and he seems like a solid player.

  • In reply to Javi87:

    I think El Bofo's best days are well past and wouldn't be a viable consideration. I like Tony Walls as well although he was a midfielder in college and he's still learning the right back position a bit. He serves a nice ball and played pretty well in pre-season. He's gotten some playing time in the reserve league but he's behind Gargan, Anibaba, and Pause as far as first team options at right back.

  • I'm with you, Guillermo, on your MVP pick. I'm still shocked at the incompetence reflected in the all-star ballotting not even listing the teams best player! Perhaps our "unprofessional" Fire front office has been influenced by the poor performance of the league offices.

    I'm not sure why Patrick doesn't get more respect, even locally. I've felt he's really firmed up the consistency of his game this year and has been integral in many of the Fire's successful scoring opportunities. He's also very good at getting back and contributing to the defense. I was immediately shocked and outraged upon seeing the list of Fire players whose names were included in the ballotting for MVP, without Patrick Nyarko. No offense to ANY of those included, but the ommission was a GROSS oversight!

    On the otherhand, I'm glad he's not getting the international exposure. I'm not so insulted that I'm willing to give up my selfish interests in keeping Patrick with the Fire! Bad enough we'll probably be losing Pappa.

  • In reply to Arklow:

    I agree with you 100% on Nyarko. The media who actually voted for the all-star selections should have their votes removed in future balloting.

  • With this being the 4th straight year of Beckham failing to appear at the Galaxy's Chicago match against the FIre, isn't it time to start the speculation that perhaps he has a deep-seated subconscious fear of playing the Fire in Chicago that drives him to always create some diversion by which to escape his fear?

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    In reply to Arklow:

    Now if only we can get Landon to stop playing us. He always kills us.

    Anyway, congrats to Patrick this year. He's been consistent, and thats what we need. But if he's our MVP, we have a pretty unspectacular team.

  • In reply to waam:

    Maybe not very spectacular, although there have been moments, but I think the two biggest positives this year are (1)that there's solid talent at most positions and (2) these guys have bought into Frank's emphasis on playing together as a team.

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