Fire 2 Revolution 1 - recap and ratings

Twelve victories and 41 points pushes the Fire into a tie for second place in the Eastern Conference table.  The team continues to push the game from an offensive standpoint and is creating ample opportunities to score.  Chris Rolfe, Patrick Nyarko, Marco Pappa, Alvaro Fernandez, and Sherjill MacDonald have combined to provide a look at a core of attackers that are capable of playing some of the most (dare I say) attractive, attacking soccer in the league at the moment.  Things could have gone better and this score easily could have been 3 or 4-1 but it seems like the club is finding it's stride at just the right time.

With the Sean Johnson and the defense also playing well things appear to be looking very good in terms of securing a post season spot.  New York and Houston both play on Sunday so the trip up to second place could be a short one but this team can play with either of those two sides.  This is a playoff bound Fire team.

Book it.

Player Ratings

GK Sean Johnson (6) - Didn't have a whole lot to do as the defense is playing pretty well in front of him and limited New England to only 7 shots.  Johnson registered two saves including a diving stop on Soares' long distance attempt late in stoppage time.  The Revs' only score came on an unfortunate bad touch in front of goal.  It was a bit of a garbage goal.

D Jalil Anibaba (6) - The second year forward is getting a shot at right back partly due to Klopas' desire to get more active in the penalty area on corners and set pieces.  Anibaba was able to get his head on two corner kick services in the 43rd and 45th minutes that sailed just off the mark.  Played a decent match on both ends.

D Arne Friedrich (6) - Owned just about everything in the air and cleared away numerous crosses.  The Fire are 7-1-2 with Friedrich and Berry in the starting line-up.  Dangerous on set pieces as well.

D Austin Berry (5) - His touch was the unfortunate one that led to New England's only score.  A loose ball in front of the net ended up at his feet but the angle of the bounce to his foot played the ball toward Fernando Cardenas who scored while lying on the ground.  Did manage to get a shot on goal on one of the Fire's 11 corner kick attempts.  Another good night from Friedrich with the exception of the NE goal.

D Gonzalo Segares (6) - Had a few nice combinations with Nyarko to push the attack forward and had a good night defensively.  The only issue came in the 17th when Guy beat him to the endline and got off a cross that Friedrich cleared.

M Pavel Pardo (6) - Good service on corner kicks all night although the Fire failed to score directly from a set piece opportunity.  Missed on a good look at goal in the 80th minute when his blast sailed just over the crossbar.  New England had a brief spell of good ball movement in the first half but other than that stretch the Fire midfield controlled the game.

M Daniel Paladini (5) - A decent effort from Paladini in place of Logan Pause although it should be obvious to most that the Fire is much better at the "destroyer" position with Pause in the line-up.  Set up Oduro with a chance late.

M Alvaro Fernandez (6) - His best chance to score came in the 54th when his well struck volley was knocked away by Reis.  An apparent cross also glanced off the crossbar in the 40th.  Decent match but passing could have been slightly better from the right side.

M Patrick Nyarko (7) - Left the game in the 75th minute after taking a hard knock.  Nyarko says he's dealing with back and hamstring issues but he still caused New England fits and burned a pretty good defender in Kevin Alston several times.  His influence in a playmaking role from the wing will be crucial over the last ten games and the playoffs so I suspect Klopas will do what he can to rest him occasionally.  Involved in both of the scoring sequences for the Fire.  His pass led to the penalty foul on Rolfe in the 4th, assisted on the second goal, provided numerous dangerous crosses, dazzled with his footwork, earned corner kicks, and nearly scored himself on more than one occasion.  One of the most dangerous players in MLS with the ball at his feet.

F Chris Rolfe (7) - Bossed the middle of the pitch from the withdrawn forward spot for much of the first half.  New England had no answers for him through the first 45.  Earned a penalty kick after drawing contact from Soares which set the tone for match.  Put away the spot kick to give the Fire an early lead and continues to combine very well with MacDonald up top.  Quieter in the second half but still had an outstanding night.

F Sherjill MacDonald (6) - Slipped in between two New England defenders to head home the game winner but MacDonald still thinks he can do better.  "When you get a lot of chances you're going to score," said MacDonald after the match.  "Today I didn't have the best game.  I'm happy to score the goal but I'm not satisfied with my game today.  I'm happy the team won but I have to get better.  I feel like I get too many chances.  Around 65 I'm very tired so I have to improve a lot."

F Dominic Oduro (6) - Came into the match for MacDonald in the 71st and created some havoc of his own nearly missing the far post in the 86th minute after a nice move to create a shot in a 1v3 situation and another shot in the 93rd minute led to a corner kick.  Hitting defenses with Oduro late in the game after MacDonald wears them down could be a good substitution pattern for Klopas.

M Marco Pappa (5) - Entered in the 75th minute for Nyarko and provided a good chance right away with a beautiful 40 yard switch of field pass to Fernandez to start an attack.

M Mike Videira (6) - Subbed into the match in the 79th in place of Fernandez.  Forced Reis into a big save with a shot in the 80th minute and set up Pardo for a chance seconds later.

C Frank Klopas (6) - Frank Yallop will get all the attention for coach of the year honors but a few more victories should get Klopas into the conversation.  The new additions have meshed almost seamlessly and he's managed to keep everyone focused and together during the Grazzini fiasco.  The Fire did what they had to do in this match.  They defeated a bad team at home.  There were some good moments but Klopas wasn't resting on any accomplishments just yet.  “When you win, the result is the most important thing in the end. But we always talk about playing good soccer and the result being disciplined. At the end of the night, I didn’t think that we were particularly good with the ball. We had a lot of turnovers and were sloppy with our passing. On the other hand, we created a lot of chances. Even though we were ahead in the stats in possession, we were not sharp. We need to finish our chances. It’s great that we’re creating, but we need to focus in the final third and put teams away. The longer you keep it tight like that...New England has a lot of quality players. It was a great win but we need to keep working. We found a way. The guys were committed until the end. A very important three points.”


Next Up: At DC United on Wednesday night



Filed under: 2012 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • fb_avatar

    I think Pause could use a vice captain while he's out.

    Chris Rolfe

  • Watch out, Guillermo - you're heading into dangerous territory around here when you suggest Frank for coach of the year! He's part of the FO, after all. Seriously, I don't think he'll get much consideration at all, though I see your point. The fact that the Fire stuck together during and after Grazzini's departure is important.

    And I do like some of the options we now have, and the way our offense is working together. Throwing Oduro at NE after they battled MacD was great. Very hard to adjust. And Nyarko was causing them fits before that - too bad he still can't score.

    One thing that I think lonecoyote brought up in the gameday thread was the dangerous fouling by Paladini. An occasional shirt tug, ok, but not all over the field, all the time. I'm not a huge fan of Pause for his lack of offensive ideas, but he is much cleaner on D than Paladini and many D other mids in the league for that matter. But Pardo played with class to make up for his foibles.

    I don't think Segares had his best game, and the scuffle that resulted in a goal lays on our centerbacks. But it is a thing of beauty to watch Berry and Friedrich in particular clean up. And true to his promise of about a month ago, Arne's getting into the attack more. The chemistry between those two is probably my favorite development this year.

    And Johnson comes up big on the one shot where he was tested. Ho hum - not again. Really, though - after 80+ minutes where his shot-stopping capabilities were not tested, it shows he was still focused. That can be a problem for young 'keepers.

    Excited to be going to see the game in DC on Wednesday!

  • In reply to Modibo:

    Next week I will nominate Hauptman for owner of the year just to see the comments section explode. ;)

    Yallop is the clear front runner so far but if the Fire win 15 plus games I think Klopas should get some consideration.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    We dare you.

  • Great Recap of the Game Guillermo. Wow! posted at 1:51 AM
    just shows your dedicated commitment to the Fire and Us Fans.
    MackDonald showed his skill and will get even better had a number
    of good chances to score even more goals which is a good sign.
    I would try Alex or Pinada instead of Paldini in place of Pause.
    Some of Paldini's defensive moves could have easily caused
    two yellow cards and his ejection from the game.

  • I'm not a Paladini fan although he does play hard and puts everything into the game. The thing I'm most concerned about is that playing against a mediocre, he did a lot of shirt pulling, what's going to happen when we play more talented teams with more skilled players with some acting ability. Against a top team he could easily recieved another yellow card.
    Was very impressed though with Videira, played much better than I thought he would and could be a short term replacement for Pause.
    Don't think Alex is quite strong enough as a Pause replacement.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    I agree with you in Alex in that spot, he's just a different type of player. Pineda however has come up through the academy playing a holding role so he's familiar wih it. It will be tough to get him in there for any big minutes right now though since Paladini and Videira are veterans.

  • Videira's shot. Oh my. I didn't expect that blast from him, let alone on frame(ish).

    While I know there's a fine line between hassling the other team and playing dirty because of being out-skilled, I actually kinda like the shirt pulls and general havoc Paladini wreaks on the opposition. Definitely could've gotten carded for persistent infringement, but Danny's the kind of player that will do that while he can get away with it, then pull back accordingly if he does get carded. Personally, I'll opt for a player like that over a "hands off" player any day, so long as it doesn't result in free kicks in dangerous positions. Enduring that kind of abuse wears a guy down after while.

  • Aside from the win, I think the best part of what happened yesterday is that everyone is still hungry. Everyone agrees that we didn't play a great game, and that our best is still ahead. That's great. This team needs to stay hungry. I hope that we don't peak too soon, i.e. before the playoffs, but with the team's understanding that there is a long way to go, hopefully there isn't too much worry of that.

    Reis had some great saves, and Feilhaber had a great block, to keep the game close. We opened the door a bit too much at the end, but Johnson kept us in it. This team definitely looks like it's on the right track.

  • fb_avatar

    I don't know what the announcer saw on the first PEN but there definitely was "stupid" contact on that play. Rolfe had a great first touch, thats all a Ref ever needs to see, or should see. The challenge whether there was ball or not was already after Rolfe's first touch. So as far as I'm concern, Rolfe should be totally off limits after he touches that ball. That PEN was the right call. Maybe I am biased, but if we are always punished for plays like that, we should also benefit from the same thing on the flipside.

  • Paladini and Vidiera did a fine job (nothing spectacular) taking Logan Pause's place. Even though Pause's is not known for his offensive abilties but the team is better offensively during his absence. When Pause's starts, the Fire avg 1.13 goals per game while they average 2 goals per game without him.

  • DC will be without Dudar and Boskovic on Weds due to red card tonight against Phi. Not to mention that there was a pushing match between DC players at the end of the game.

    Not a good time to be playing Chicago when we're on the upswing, I think.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Modibo:

    Usually in the past these kinds of teams are our streak killing teams. Never expect anything in MLS.

  • i would actually give arne a 5 instead of a 6. because i would have to put most of the blame on arne for new england's goal. if you watch the replay he had a moment of indecision and decided to stay inside the box instead of going out wide to close the attacker down. jalil had pushed up and arne needed to go cover for him but for some odd reason decided to stay inside. i think that most defenders while growing up are taught that if an outside back pushes up and the ball goes into his area of defense, that the CB pushes to the outside while the outside back covers the center. just what i saw. other than that i actually may be wrong about the macdonald pick up. so far he has shown that he has the abilities that oduro does not. i agree that oduro is a great 2nd half sub. i'm really liking the fernandez pick up, he brings something t this team that has been missing for a while now.

  • also if you are not following ray hudson on twitter you are missing out. yesterday's gem after the david villa goal went a little something like david villa is more dangerous than a sun lamp to an albino.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    Always follow Barca,will be loaded this year with defensive additions of Song and Alba. Villa is on his dreams team, Messi,
    (beside having 70+ goals last year, had 38 assists), Xavi,
    Iniesta, and Fabregas feeding him. By MLS standards is still a fairly young team.
    The problem with watching Barca so much is that when watching MLS you kind of say to yourself WTF.
    The Dutch revolutionized Barca football awhile back, hopefully
    MacDonald can bring some of that Dutch touch to the Fire

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to lonecoyote:

    Barca is amazing, but they are diminished more year by year because of an unbalanced domestic campaign. Don't mean to turn this into LaLiga bashing, but as a "has been" devout follower of Sevilla, I have to say, LaLiga is the worst run league in the world and will run European football into administration. Unfair television distribution is just the tip of the iceberg, and they need to get this fixed asap. Barca and Real could do a lot to help their self preservation here, but there is too much greed here. Just my thoughts.

  • I agree with you in part that La Liga is a very unbalanced league
    with the two top teams and several others generally Sevilla and
    Valencia trailing them. Ironically, it's the second tier teams that Barca usually struggles against.
    I'd hate to see the MLS turn out the same way, with say N.Y. and L.A. always fighting for the top. That would ruin the leagues as the soccer fan base is smaller given the competition of other big league sports available in the U.S.
    I'd pay good money to see Messi or Ronaldo play, but not necessarily for Donovan or Beckham, trying to compare diamonds to dung.
    The reason I'm S.T.H. is that I love soccer and the Fire are the local team, but I probably wouldn't be if the Fire were not competitive to
    some degree. My two favorite cities in Spain are Barca and Sevilla,
    completely different cities, but Sevilla is a real gem and should be on everybody's list when visiting Spain.

  • Yes you guys are right the logs should be more balanced like the Premiership or Bundesliga :p
    That system doesn't wouldnt work here because Americans only care about winners. Whose going to be on the Wheaties box the Gold medal winner or the guy who tries his Hardee's and overachieved but didn't medal. If you don't win people will stop paying attention the only exception in US sports is the Cubs. That is also why Americans are slow to support soccer because Americans in general only like sports we are the best in.

  • granada!

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