DC United 4 Fire 2 - recap and ratings

A chance to create some space and push DC United further into fifth place went by the boards after the Fire's worst defensive performance of the season resulted in deserved 4-2 loss.  DC pressured the Fire midfield and gave them little room to operate, effectively disabling the attack that has looked impressive over the last three matches.  The Fire were not able to pressure United's patch work back line for much of the first half until a late goal leveled the score at 1-1.  DC took advantage of careless marking throughout the match and found the go ahead goal almost immediately after the Fire tied it just before half time.

The defensive effort in the second half was just as bad as it was in the first 45 minutes although the Fire made it closer than it should have been when Gonzalo Segares' took advantage of some lax marking by the home side in the 75th minute to close the gap to 3-2.

Overall, this should be looked at as just one ugly loss on the road despite losing out on the opportunity to take a step up in class and create some distance in the Eastern Conference.  One loss shouldn't negate what the team has accomplished over the last month and a half but the lack of concentration in this match will surely need to be addressed.  They're still a legitimate playoff club, although a loss to Houston at home on September 2 may bring about some real concern.  DC United is currently in fifth place but Columbus' win tonight and the appearance that Federico Higuain is a true impact player will make this one interesting finish.

Player Ratings

GK Sean Johnson (5) - Hesitated and was caught in-between on Pontius' mishit strike which resulted in the first DC goal.  Made a handful of big saves in the second half which kept the Fire within striking distance but the defense allowed way too many uncontested looks.  Kicked a pass directly out of bounds for no apparent reason in the 27th.

D Jalil Anibaba (3) - In an awful collective team defensive effort, Anibaba may have had the worst night of the bunch.  Sloppy marking late in the first half resulted in Pajoy's go ahead goal and a muffed clearance resulted in the first score.  Passing was also sub-par offensively.

D Arne Friedrich (5) - Probably the best of the Fire defenders on the night, which isn't saying much.

D Austin Berry (4) - Seemed a step behind all night.  A late reaction to Pontius' mishit in the 19th allowed DeRosario to get in behind the defense for an easy score.  DeRosario got by him again the 89th to set up the final score of the game.

D Gonzalo Segares (5) - Scored a goal on an excellent finish in the 75th minute which takes this grade up to a 5.  Andy Najar owned the right flank from the fullback position for the entire match.

M Pavel Pardo (5) - Set up Segares' goal with a well taken free kick, broke up an attack with an excellent tackle on Pajoy in the 23rd, lost the ball easily near the top of the box in the 43rd.  Mixed bag for Pardo as DC completely controlled midfield for most of the match.

M Daniel Paladini (5) - The Fire's best sequence of the night came in the 45th minute when Paladini started an attack and finished it with a beautiful run to a scoring position and briefly tying the game at 1.  The rest of the night was full of chasing and weakly taken shots.

M Marco Pappa (5) - Assisted on Paladini's goal but was relatively absent for the rest of the night as DC pressured Fire attackers into giving up the ball before they were able to push into the final third.  A blast from long distance hit the post in the 54th.  Came out in the 74th minute.

M Patrick Nyarko (5) - Lost a handful of 1v1 battles to Najar on both ends.  Continues to take a beating and was never able to get the ball in truly dangerous positions.  A credit to DC's game plan.

F Chris Rolfe (4) - United managed to take him out of the game by crowding his space and forcing him up higher to receive the ball, which seldom got to him in the first half.  Lost his mark on McDonald in the 51st which resulted in an uncontested header and DC's third goal of the night.  Best moment came in the 85th forcing Hamid into a save with a well struck shot on the run.

F Sherjill MacDonald (5) - Played decent hold up game when given the opportunity and helped set up Paladini's score.  Well scouted by DC as he didn't have much going other than that.

M Alvaro Fernandez (5) - Came in for Anibaba in the 63rd but didn't have much of an impact.

F Dominic Oduro (5) - Entered the match for Pappa in the 75th.  Drew the foul that led to Pardo's free kick in a dangerous area that eventually led to Segares' goal.  Probably should have been in the match 10 minutes earlier.

M Alex (5) - Subbed in for Paladini in the 85th, which was again about 1o minutes too late.  Earned a corner kick with a cross in the 86th.

C Frank Klopas (4) - Can be second guessed for not starting Fernandez and waiting too long on substitutions.  Defending and passing were shockingly bad for most of the match but some of that credit should be handed to DC and Ben Olsen for changing up some of the things that they do in order to combat what the Fire have been successful at over the last few games.  This loss may not be a big deal in the large scheme of things but the fashion in which the defeat was dealt is something that needs to be addressed over the next 10 days.  Replacing Anibaba with Dan Gargan at right back should also be considered.  Gargan has been dealing with a fracture in his left foot for most of the season but it's something he's been able to play through.  He probably deserves another shot to regain his starting spot.  "I think that we have to regroup now.  We have a little break of ten days, which will let us get some of our players healthy and allow us to get ready for some big, exciting games coming up," said Klopas after the match.

Filed under: 2012 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • Modibo - 2 ; should have done a much better job in the 25th, 33rd, 57th and 73rd minute cheering. ;)

    Full disclosure, I've recently moved, lost my MLS Dish pass, yada yada yada and didn't see the game. But from the highlights, I'm pretty shocked Sean J got a 5. First and last goals seemed to be mostly on him, which directly translates to the loss. A 3 seems more appropriate based on the lowlights. That last goal reminded me of the olympic qualifying disaster....

  • In reply to Drew:

    I wish that Johnson had reacted better to the mis-hit diagonal ball that resulted in the first goal. But I think that the real culprit was Segares (and to a lesser extent, Berry), who did not track DeRosario as he ran to the back post. It wasn't cleatr whether Segares was handing him off to Berry, or simply lost his mark. DeRosario came from behind on Berry, who may not have had enough time to react.

    I give Johnson a lot of the blame for McDonald's floating header on the third goal. Poor positioning.

    I agree that a 5 is a bit generous.

  • In reply to StaryByk3:

    I went with a 5 because there were at least two saves that kept it from being worse than 4-2. You might have a point on the McDonalf goal though.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    GR, you are right, Johnson made a couple of very difficult saves. However, he has to make the plays he's supposed to make. I tell every GK whom I have ever coached the same thing: You have to reach at least 95% of the save-able balls and then pull a rabbit out of your hat every once in a while.

    On the McDonald goal, Johnson's positioning is poor. He absolutely cannot let a ball get over his head in that situation. If he's 2-3 steps further back, he has enough time to backpedal and get a hand to that ball.

    Of course, the atrocious marking that allows a soft header like that in the first place is not Johnson's fault.

  • In reply to Drew:

    Yeah, I really blew it. Actually we were behind Sean's goal in the 1st half, just over his right shoulder. That 2nd goal by DC was really deflating.

    That 1st goal was very tricky for him as a keeper. I'm not sure if Pontius was really trying to shoot it - it rolled so perfectly to DeRo, could've been an instep pass.

  • I wasnt able to watch the game but I just finished the highlights and I want to puke. How awful was the marking and defending tonight? Just in the highlights I can tell that the effort wasn't there. Why all the hesitation? On all four goals at least one person hesitated. Something that never happend on our win streak.

    Gross game, hope they show up against houston

  • DC played the way that other teams that beat the Fire easily this season. thats high pressure on the Fire's defense and midfield. i honestly think that Klopas has no answer to teams that play that way. also what is it with all of these short goal kicks? this game and last weekends game there were a ton of them. when they used them against DC it just seemed that arne or berry got the ball were pressured which resulted in a long ball which was lost in the midfield. yeah i understand you have to change it up but trying to use it all the time does not make sense.

  • I really think it's just a confidence problem. They don't think they can beat DC and their play looked like a team struggling to figure out how to overcome an indescipherable opponent. So we saw them hesitating all night. Too much thinking, not enough instinctive play. Just what you would expect from a team that knows they can't beat their opponent but is trying to figure a way.

    I can't recall exactly how many times they played DC in preseason (it was at least twice) but I remember the Fire looked bad against them every time.

    The Fire is a better team than they believe they are at this point. Until they believe, they won't beat certain teams like DC and Seattle because they don't think they can.

  • It would be nice to see them continue to progress and finish the regular season with a BIG win over DC October 27th at Toyota Park.

  • I felt that a loss was coming when I saw that Paladini and Anababa
    were starting. Although Paladini scored a goal, I still feel he is somewhat a liability on the field, although he didn't look any worse than anybody else on the field last night.
    Would have preferred that Gargan and Fernandez started the game.
    This at least might have been a more dynamic offensive threat.
    Gargan deserves a start.
    Seemingly the team looked ill prepared for last night's game,
    always being a step behind and slow to react.
    At least the team will have a long layoff before the next game against Houston, which seems now to a must win in order to finish high up in the standings, although the team will probably make the playoffs anyway, barring a late season collapse.
    Hopefully, this is just on of those off nights that all teams go through at times and nothing more serious. In the next nine games, it looks like they'll have at least four sure wins, enough to make the playoffs.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to lonecoyote:

    I felt it too. When Chicago gets on a roll, its teams that a reeling for some odd reason that use us to regroup. We just can't hit teams where it hurts when we have the momentum.

    Oh well. I'm not worried. If the point is to get into the playoffs, we're ok. If its to win MLS Cup, then we don't have the squad for that, but who knows right?

  • The Fire cannot seem to play against a compact, high pressure defenses. I still cannot figure out why they didn't play out on the wings when DC kept packing in the central D. Then again, we couldn't string two passes together. That's always been my biggest complaint about the Fire. They cannot play a fast passing, up tempo game constantly. Last night when they had the ball, they would stop, and look up to see where anyone was for a pass rather than already know where they are going to go with it. The open players are too blame too for not creating better and shorter passing lanes. DC did a good job though shutting this down. It will be interesting to see how they come back from this and if they can shut down another attack powerhouse such as Houston. Another flop like last night and this team could be in trouble quick.

    I will say Najar looked good for DC and made the majority of the left side of the Fire look silly. And be aware of Columbus. Higuaín and Arrieta are gelling quick and the Crew are picking up points to make a late run.

  • In reply to pezkoreaddict:

    Columbus could very well make a late push with those two on board but they can't afford any slip ups. Higuain appears to be legit. I don't know much about him but I was told by people that scouted him in Argentina that he could be an impact guy in MLS. He's off to a very good start for the Crew in drawing comparisons to Schelotto.

  • Looking at the schedule, Columbus has the easier schedule, possibly with 7 sure wins while the Fire have 4.
    The three big home must win games are Houston, Columbus and D.C., a win against Columbus would be huge.
    We don't have to win all three, but need two wins to assure a playoff spot.
    Originally I thought 51 points would assure a playoff spot, but now at least in the east it may take 54. The east has 6 about even quality teams. Despite, last nights loss, the Fire still have enough
    talent to make the playoffs. 5 wins in the next 9 games should do it.
    It will be interesting to see who is going to be the odd man out.
    A losing streak by any of the top east teams would be fatal.
    Seemingly the power of the league has turned to the east, rather than with the west as it has been for the past few years.
    This will be perhaps the most balanced and competitive playoff in years, with no clear favorite nor any sure losers.
    Even the Fire could make it into the final.

  • Former FC Dallas midfielder Juan Toja is back in MLS and will go thought the allocation process. New England, TFC, and Chivas have first dibs.

    No word on whether he still has a mullet.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Who do you think will legitimately take him? NER is chalk-full of midfielders. Maybe TFC or Chivas?

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    You're right about New England but it sounds like the Revs are going to take him.

  • This guy would be absolutely huge in MLS. Humberto Suazo says he's leaving Monterrey when his current. Interact expires in June 2013.


  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    You think he would be interested in Chicago? Why would he leave a club like Monterrey which competes quite regularly in CONCACAF?

  • I agree with waam. I'm not sure why he would want to come to MLS. He is making $2.5 million now. He's 31, so he has probably peaked.

    He's been trying to get an extension with Monterrey for about a year and even sat out training last winter

    I would think he could move to another Mexican side, the United Arab Emirates, Brazil, or even go back to Colo Colo.

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