Galaxy 4 Fire 0 - recap and ratings

There will be some gnashing of teeth and sounding of the panic alarm after a 4-0 drubbing to start this season but it's important to remember that one loss on the road against the defending champions doesn't signify the end of the season after one match. There was certainly nothing pretty or rarely even hopeful about anything that transpired on the field this Sunday afternoon. After playing a fair first half which found them trailing 1-0 at the break, the team fell apart in the second allowing Mike Magee and Robbie Keane to thoroughly demolish the club's defense. But it's just one game.

“We’ve always played well here. I don’t think that was the case here. The first half, we had those two chances and maybe that changes," said Frank Klopas after the match. "I think as the game went on – I just thought the team looked fatigued and made a lot of mistakes. I think that comes when you are fatigued. I don’t know if that’s because we’ve been on the road too long. I know this is not an easy place to play, they are a good team, but I just thought our legs weren’t there. A lot of mental errors and mistakes. It’s one game and it’s behind us. We have to go home and regroup. It will be good for the guys to be back home, sleep in their own beds and we have to get ready for a big game on Saturday," he continued.

Constant breakdowns and sloppy defending was the norm for most of the second half but the Fire should be a better side than they showed today. With three new starters in midfield and without Arne Friedrich to settle a young backline things got out of control quickly. It may take a few weeks before the Fire are playing cohesively as a unit but New England at home next Saturday is a team they should beat regardless of the circumstance and the debacle in Los Angeles today.

Player Ratings 

GK Sean Johnson (6) - The Fire defense allowed four goals but Johnson actually kept it from being even worse than it was. He registered 6 saves and several were of the spectacular variety. An early stop in the 11th denied Keane, a diving stop of Juninho's free kick in the 34th, and a save on Magee in the 55th kept the score line from being thoroughly embarrassing.

D Jalil Anibaba (5) - Probably the best of the defenders but that's not saying much. Denied Clark from behind in the 53rd to prevent a dangerous chance.

D Austin Berry (4) - Perhaps it's asking too much for a second year defender to replace what Friedrich provides in terms of organization in back but you expect better than what was displayed in this game. Berry wasn't a factor as Keane and Magee had their way with the middle of the Fire defense in the second half.

D Steven Kinney (4) - His recovery from injury is a great story but he struggled for most of this match. With Anibaba starting on the right Kinney was the first choice to fill in for the injured Friedrich. The drop off was substantial although he did have a good moment or two in the first half.

D Gonzalo Segares (4) - Had a very tough go of it after LA spent much of the first half trying to get Sean Franklin past him on the left. That seemed to take something out of him as it seemed he was trailing on almost everything in the second half.

M Dilly Duka (4) - A brief moment or two in the first half but really didn't show much in terms of helping the attack. Subbed out in the 57th for Alex. Passing was suspect and sloppy.

M Jeff Larentowicz (4) - Okay for the most part but beaten to the ball in the 80th minute as Keane scored the fourth goal. Los Angeles had way too much of the ball unchallenged for much of the match.

M Joel Lindpere (4) - A decent cross or two provided near chances such as the ball that found Santos for a header in the 23rd that could have given Chicago the lead. Absent in the second half and came out in the 71st.

M Patrick Nyarko (4) - Taken out of the match for the most part and failed to see much of the ball at any point in a dangerous area. Continues to be a target of physical play from the opposition.

F Chris Rolfe (4) - A match full of uncharacteristically heavy touches from the usually sure-footed forward. He was off from the first whistle and missed a golden opportunity to give the Fire the lead in the 32nd when his shot was sent wide after a terrible giveaway by Cudicini.

F Maicon Santos (4) - The move to start Santos over Sherjill MacDonald was a questionable one to begin with and he didn't show much to dispel the second guessing. Had a good free kick attempt in the second half saved by the LA 'keeper. Came out in the 67th.

M Alex (5) - Entered the match for Duka in the 57th and drew a foul in a dangerous area at the top of the box in the 60th. That was about it.

F Sherjill MacDonald (4) - Subbed in for Santos in the 67th and one minute later the flood gates opened. That may have been coincidence but he actually did less than Santos.

M Yazid Atouba (5) - The rookie's debut had a bright spot or two as he drew a foul in the 78th and provided a nice cross in the 85th.

Talking Points

  • Friedrich's hamstring injury wasn't considered serious but he wasn't expected to miss this match either. This bears watching. He is too important to miss for a long stretch.
  • Logan Pause missed the match with a quad injury but it appears Jalil Anibaba has won the right back spot.
  • Will Klopas stick with Santos or return to MacDonald at home against New England? Either way the Fire don't have anyone near the caliber of Robbie Keane who is capable of changing the way defenses are forced to play.
  • The Fire's preoccupation with Keane allowed Mike Magee to roam free and he took advantage of it. Ridiculous defending allowed Magee to look like Landon Donovan with more hair, less sadness, and actual consideration for his teammates.
  • There wasn't one particular player or even two who could bear the brunt of the blame for this stinker. It was a team loss and the club will need to regroup quickly with an opportunity to atone at home next weekend.



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  • "Ridiculous defending allowed Magee to look like Landon Donovan with more hair, less sadness, and actual consideration for his teammates."

    Brilliant. Thanks for finding some humor in this horrible opening game.

    I was going to show solidarity with the Free Beer Movement and invite some friends to watch the game with me over a beer, but I'm glad I didn't.

    Clearly we had no leadership in the back and it was exploited. Segares was the old man of the bunch but not positioned to organize the D, and Johnson clearly couldn't compensate either.

    Unfortunately my kids now know who Mike Magee is. They are not inclined to think highly of him based on my comments during the game.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    Glad to help ;)

  • In reply to Modibo:

    I love that line!

  • In reply to pistolpete:

    Inspired eloquence with nerve-touching insight! You maneuvering to leave us for a job in the Bigs G?

  • In reply to Arklow:

    Ha! I might pop up in a few places, but I'll still be here.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Are you planning on leaving us for the celebrity sights and sounds blog for Chicago Now ala Luis Arroyave? What was the last name everyone always gave him?

  • In reply to c0quito18:
    And that's Luis Gomez to you sir.

  • if they had tired legs in the first match of the season i hate to think where they will be in september

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    It does come off as a bit of an excuse but when you consider that they've travelled from stop to stop over the course of preseason and they stopped into Chicago for one day of training last week before jetting off to LA for the remainder of the week you can see where there might be some credence to that.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    I think it's an extremely weak excuse. Just accept that you got your a** handed to you without excuses. Have integrity around the fact that your team didn't show up to play. And if that's actually the case that the team was fatigued, then Klopas did a terrible job as a coach preparing his team. His credibility as a coach gets knocked down a peg regardless of whether it's a weak excuse (my guess) or the truth.

  • In reply to Drew:

    I don't really see it as an excuse, but rather sometimes when you're looking for reasons after a spanking like that it does come off as such. Most coaches won't come out and just throw the team under the bus by saying everybody just plain sucked....especially after the first game of the season.

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    Can we chalk it up to rustiness? I thought the same as you, Guillermo on Rolfe. He had a terrible touch out there, very unlike him.

  • In reply to manyou07:

    Combination of rust, new faces, new formation, injuries, travel, and just a flat out better game by Los Angeles. Rolfe was off the whole game for some reason.

    This is a good squad....they'll get better.

  • I'm not worried yet, despite the opening game. However, if they lose
    to New England on the 9th. I'll become extremely worried

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    That would be a reason for concern but I think it will take some time before we see this team at their best.

  • TV deal's been announced.

  • Local TV deal includes 23 games on My50 with Dan Kelly and Kevin Egan in the booth.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    What happen to Evan Whitfield?

  • In reply to longoria3:

    He has a full time gig as an attorney in real life.

  • They can't find anyone better than Dan Kelly? I'll be turning down the sound for the fourth year in a row.

  • In reply to Lewis26:

    100% agreed. He really doesn't have the right cadence for soccer. He needs to learn to speak in a natural way. The fake announcer voice used in other sports (primarily baseball) doesn't translate to soccer.

    About the game, I actually was there and can tell you, it was not just the defense or poor passes that crushed us. It was the fact that there was no movement off the ball. The Fire stood still. The Galaxy were making runs off the ball on every attack. This led to many players out wide being totally unmarked which led to the defensive collapse. It all started with runs by either mids or forwards that cause the Fire to cover and leave space open. The Fire never did this and thus were always covered in the final third. Rolfe and Santos/Mac need to make runs even if the ball doesn't come as this will leave more space or Segares coming forward or for Duka and Nyarko on the wings coming inside. The entire team simply expected to move the ball around and ding it forward without making any runs into space. If the Fire do not start moving without the ball, the season is going to be very, very long.

  • The charity lunch was a dud. Artie read a written script that made you wonder who he was talking about. Klopas talked about drive and passion but again one has to wonder what world he is in . Interesting talking to some of the players they all could not say enough about Grazzini.

  • In reply to brokerjohn:

    Who's Artie?

  • Grazzini made the fire more dangerous and way more fun to watch.they should have tried harder to keep him.bring back blanco!

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