Fire 3 Dynamo 1 - recap and ratings

The Fire moved into sole possession of third place in the Eastern Conference table with another big win against an Eastern foe at Toyota Park.  Chicago improved to 7-0-1 in matches played at home against the East this season and didn't take long to make a statement in this match.  Patrick Nyarko scored the fourth fastest goal in Fire history 51 seconds into the game and Houston played catch up from there on out.

The Fire seem to control their playoff destiny with home games remaining against Montreal, Columbus, Philadelphia, and DC United.  It should also be noted that the club has already surpassed last season's point total of 43 with eight matches remaining in the season.  The last two months will be hotly contested but there should be little doubt that Chicago is indeed one of the top five teams in the Eastern Conference.  The Fire trail Kansas City for the top spot in the East by only six points and they currently hold a game in hand against both Sporting and New York.  The locker room seemed confident after the match but there's still business to take care of.  If the home form continues throughout the remainder of the season the Fire's two year playoff drought will be over.

Player Ratings

GK Sean Johnson (6) - The Fire caught a bit of a break in the 13th minute when Andre Hainault's cross bounced away from Johnson and struck Mac Kandji in the arm to find it's way into the net.  The goal was rightly disallowed but Johnson probably should have done better to corral the ball initially.  Despite that play he responded in fine fashion again with a big time save in the 90th minute temporarily keeping Houston off the board.  Johnson will join the USMNT for World Cup Qualifying in Jamaica this week but will be back with the Fire in time for the next regular season match.

D Jalil Anibaba (6) - Showed some good moves to work his way into the penalty area in the 68th and could have drawn a penalty on the play.  Houston had a ton of possession but Brad Davis wasn't a huge factor until late.  Set the ball over the top that led to Alex's goal.

D Arne Friedrich (6) - The Dynamo are extremely dangerous at set pieces and the Fire defended them well for the entire night.  Even the lone score wasn't badly marked.  Friedrich was all over Ching but he got just enough space to head it into the net.  The rest of the night was pretty good given the possession disparity.

D Austin Berry (6) - Along with Friedrich, the size and mobility of both central defenders make the Fire difficult to contend with aerially.  Not a spectacular night but he continues to build a case for rookie of the year votes.

D Gonzalo Segares (6) - All over Watson for most of the night breaking up attacks and preventing shots.  Boniek Garcia was also not a factor on the right side of Houston's attack.  Not involved much offensively but he didn't need to be.

M Pavel Pardo (6) - Houston held the possession edge (67-33) but the Fire played their 4-3-3 perfectly, counterattacking when necessary and not allowing Davis too much space to get into the middle or serve balls comfortably.  Nearly sprung Nyarko in the 39th and led a counter in the 70th that resulted in a corner kick chance.

M Daniel Paladini (7) - Probably his best game in a Fire uniform.  Not only scored from a well taken shot after an excellent run into the box but also played a big part defensively in disrupting Houston before any truly dangerous chances.  The Fire could have done better in possession and limiting Houston's time with the ball but Paladini was a big factor in this match.  "Whether it's coming off the bench, whether it's playing when guys are called upon you have to be ready," said Paladini after the match.  "It's playoff time."  (watch Paladini talk about the game and his role on the team at the Fire Confidential Facebook page)

M Patrick Nyarko (7) - Set the tone with the early goal and continued to play well on both sides of the pitch before being subbed out in the 77th.  Nyarko also combined with Paladini to set up Fernandez in the 25th for what should have been a 3 goal lead.  He's been one of the most consistently dangerous attackers in MLS for the last few years and if he can find a scoring touch he's a nightmare for defenders.  "After the last performance we were kicking ourselves because we knew we were better than that.  We didn't bring our game against DC," said Nyarko.  (you can also see his post game reaction at the Fire Confidential FB page)

M Alvaro Fernandez (5) - Two misses will stand out in a less than stellar outing but Fernandez did have a few good moments.  His steal led to Paladini's goal and he set up Nyarko with an excellent ball in the 62nd....but those two misses, particularly the first with the entire goal in front of him will be what people remember in this match.

F Chris Rolfe (5) - Managed a shot on goal in the 33rd but had an otherwise quiet night as Houston maintained possession.  Moved to right mid when Alex entered the match.  Subbed out in the 85th.

F Sherjill MacDonald (5) - Quiet in the same manner that Rolfe was but he did provide the assist on Paladini's goal.  Subbed out for Alex in the 55th as the Fire looked to pressure Houston a bit more going forward on the ground.

F Alex (6) - Fairly uneventful night after entering the match for MacDonald in the 55th until an absolute blast in the 93rd minute of play sealed the win for the Fire.  Seems to still be adjusting to the Fire/MLS but hopefully the goal will get him going.

F Dominic Oduro (6) - Entered the game in the 77th for Nyarko and made his mark off the bench again beating Houston defenders to the ball and setting up the play for Alex's goal.  Also drew a yellow card foul just outside of the box in the 79th minute which led to a free kick chance for Pardo and sent in an excellent pass to set up Fernandez's second scoring chance. A very good night in short minutes for Oduro.

M Logan Pause (6) - It's a bit risky to get out him out this early after suffering cracked ribs and a collapsed lung but Pause showed why he wears the "C" on his sleeve.  "After 10 days I got an x-ray and it confirmed that the collapsed lung had healed," he said after the match.  The medical staff cleared him to return and he felt he could deal with pain enough to return.  Davis ran at him immediately and he responded.  Watch Logan Pause talk about his injury recovery at the Fire Confidential FB page.

C Frank Klopas (6) - The Fire continue to win at home, finally establishing Toyota Park as a legitimate home field advantage.  Houston may have experienced some tired legs due to a Thursday night CCL match but Klopas won the strategic battle against one of the top coaches in the league in Dominic Kinnear.  The only complaint I had was that Oduro should have gone into the match earlier than he did.



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  • As long as they keep working i agree they are top 5 in the east.

  • I am overjoyed at Chicago's home record. Unfortunately, I relocated midway through the 2009 season when the Fire was fairly dismal at home. Those of you who can go to TP for matches - enjoy it!

    I didn't manage to see the whole match, but I have read some complaints from Dynamo fans that the Fire ceded possession and struck on the counter. I am not sure what they expect when their team gave away two goals in the first 20 minutes, or how they expected Chicago to play at that point. Full credit to Frank for pulling out a win with those two goals in hand before the halfway point in the first half.

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    I don't see any problems with that, but Houston did look somewhat dangerous in set pieces. Just work on that, and we should be ok. With a little luck, we might do well in the playoffs.

  • In reply to waam:

    Lots of Houston talk about the Fire bunkering after Paladini's goal, but Kinnear would do the same thing if roles were reversed. In addition, it was a tactically superior move since Houston's mistakes forced them to press forward more, leaving the backline open to the counter attack. The Fire exploited them all night on the counter, almost at-will. It seemed overall this was the best the team has looked in 2012. Just like last year, they're hopefully hitting a stride at the right time.

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    In reply to Jeff Krause:

    Yeah, I would be happy with 4 more wins in the last 7. A tie or two to go with it. I know its a little optimistic, but it can be done.

  • In reply to waam:

    I think 4 wins in the last 7 is a realistic expectation.

  • Any word on a roster addition ? I have a feeling it was just a money grab for the Fire. Better to get something for Pappa now than get nothing later.

  • In reply to MikeRUZE:

    They're trying to get something done trade-wise within MLS but it takes two to get it done. The Pappa deal was a result of Heerenveen increasing their offer but I wouldn't call it a straight money grab. As a result of the move they have allocation money and cash that will allow them to add to the team either this season or next.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Although losing Pappa may hurt, the team would be better off waiting to next year, if there isn't anyone decent who is available.
    If they cannot at this late date find someone who will make a significant improvement to the team then wait. They have a solid nucleus for next year and obtaining a top flight striker and an attacking midfielder would make them fully competitive next year.
    Hopefully they won't make a trade or a deal just for the sake of making a deal to please fans.

  • Carlos De Los Cobos has resigned as the head coach of Queretaro after an 0-6-1 start to the season.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Wow. What kind of one-dimensional ownership team expects the coach to abandon his artistic principles in search of something so base and linear as a victory?!?

  • In reply to Modibo:

    That was the soccer.....

  • So are there any rumblings on the possibility of a trade on the horizon before the 9/15 roster freeze? Can out of contract international players be added before then? And lastly, would a Drogba pipe-dream-turned-reality be scarf-eating-worthy?

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    Yes...they are trying to make a move before the 9/15 trade deadline. That being said, they're not in a big hurry to trade away any starters so it may come down to waiting teams out unfortunately.

    Out of contract international players can be added as long as they were not under contract when the MLS international window least that's my understanding of the possible free agent market.

    And yes....the Drogba thing is a pipe dream of scarf eating proportions.

  • Thank you Revs

  • In reply to Doug:

    Very happy about this for two reasons:
    1) Columbus loses points against a team that's out of the playoff picture in the East.
    2) Columbus shows that their hot streak may be limited to home matches.

    Next up for the Crew: NY away, Chivas at home, Chicago away. I see them taking the full three from Chivas, but wins against us and the Red Bulls would be very tough for them at this point. But they still make me mighty nervous.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    That was a good result for the Fire last night.

    I think Chicago, New York, Sporting, and Houston are all looking like good bets to make it. I think DC United is the team in danger of being surpassed by Columbus when all is said and done.

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    In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    I would rather see Columbus in the playoffs as well.

  • Saw him in training yesterday. While he didn't stand out, he seemed to fair well. From someone I spoke with from Orlando today, he's a solid, developing striker by MLS standards. Decent strike rate, albeit by USL standards. Also was told that he might fit well as a 65th minute super sub. If that's what the Fire are looking for (which may or may not be the case, given Oduro's recent cold streak), he may be a replacement for Oduro in the gameday 18 if they see that much potential in him.

    A one week trial seems to indicate, more than anything (at least to me) that they're looking 2013, not necessarily a roster deadline move.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    Thanks Jeff.

  • Chin isn't what the team really needs, except for a sub.
    If they find what they need isn't available, wait til 2013,
    where there are open slots and money under the salary cap
    to pick up a true attacking mid and a top flight strker.

  • The Orlando manager seemed to be open to Chin playing on loan for the duration of this MLS season, for what it's worth. Doesn't mean that's what the Fire's looking at of course.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    I don't know much about Chin but it's important to remember that MLS clubs (Fire included) bring in trial players all the time during the season. MacDonald was even here for a week before they finally signed him. I believe the first preference for this season would be a trade for a current MLS player but I don't think they're going to force it just for the sake of making a trade.

    I would consider Chin a filler piece for depth if they can't swing a deal for someone else. The roster is currently at 26 so they can bring in two players if they feel it's necessary.

  • Perhaps they trade for a midfielder in-league, and bring Chin on a loan from OC through the end of the season? Just a thought.

  • Have we really resorted to getting excited about USL players?
    If it turns out it that letting Papa go was just a money grab and we are just content making the playoffs then I would just as well see Pineda play and not resort to signing bench filler.Some say there are no players available....but somehow the Galaxies of the world find them.

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    In reply to MikeRUZE:

    I think this is our team. Lets see what they can do. We don't need another signing unless its a major impact player immediately. Seeing as the transfer windows have closed around the world, I think this is what we have to work with.

  • Former Timbers and Union striker Jorge Perlaza is joining Robayo at Millonarios.

  • Apologies for the lack of posts this past's been a hectic non soccer week for me but we'll resume the regular schedule of coverage shortly.

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