Impact 2 Fire 0 - recap and ratings

A decent first half followed by a completely listless second led to the Fire's fifth loss of the season. The visitors were at least competitive in the initial 45 and it seemed like there was a chance to gain a result with Montreal having played a mid week non-league game. That wasn't the case as the Impact were the aggressor after the break and all hope was extinguished when Jeff Larentowicz was shown a straight red card for tripping Andrea Pisanu and denying him a goal scoring opportunity in the eyes of referee Fotis Bazakos. The red card was a weak call but it is debatable so it may not be overturned after review by the Disciplinary Committee. Fortunately, Bazakos reversed his initial incorrect decision to award a penalty kick after conferring with the assistant referees.

The red card was unfortunate and may overshadow the continuing problem with this squad in the offensive third. The Fire generated four shots on target in the first half and none in the second. Of those four attempts, two were registered by Gonzalo Segares, one by Larentowicz, and one by Daniel Paladini. The two former tries were hopeful long distances chances placing further emphasis on the flaccid play of the club's front runners. Sherjill MacDonald isn't the only culprit of lackluster performance this season but watching Marco Di Vaio operate for Montreal blatantly illustrates the difference in quality between each squad's DP forwards. It should be noted that there is also a roughly $1.5 million dollar per season gap between these particular players but the lack of a legitimately consistent threat won't make things any easier in the next few months.

There are other issues that need to be addressed such as the problem at right back, depth along the back line, and a true playmaker in the center of the pitch but until the difference in quality at the forward spot between the Fire and the best teams in MLS is rectified the club will need to play almost perfectly on the defensive end to have a chance. Every mistake and momentary lapse will be magnified ten fold since there is no room for even the slightest error at the moment.

The Fire's next match is May 11 at home against Philadelphia. It's going to be another long two weeks.

Player Ratings

GK Sean Johnson (5) - Should have done better with Di Vaio's deflected trickler in the 76th but came up with a big save against Paponi in the 83rd.

D Gonzalo Segares (5) - Managed to get a head on two crosses in the first half but there wasn't enough steam behind them to seriously challenge Perkins. Led the Fire in shot left back.

D Austin Berry (5) - Decent effort particularly in the first half. Had a nice stop on Di Vaio in the 53rd.

D Jalil Anibaba (5) - Probably the Fire's best overall performer on the day. Stood up Di Vaio in a 1v1 situation in the 49th and followed that up with a break up of a counter a few seconds later.

D Logan Pause (5) - Victimized at right back by Romero for the first Montreal goal but it wasn't terrible defending. Sometimes the other guys just make a play. That was the case in this one. Also slightly deflected Di Vaio's shot that rolled slowly past Johnson into the net.

M Jeff Larentowicz (5) - The red card issued by Bazakos was simply a blown call. The Fire are considering filing an appeal with the MLS Disciplinary Committee and they should. Registered one of the four shots on target for the visitors with a long distance attempt right at Perkins in the 17th.

M Daniel Paladini (5) - Delivered the only shot attempt that really tested the Montreal 'keeper with a knuckler from 35 yards that forced Perkins to dive to his left. Okay in the first half but passing and distribution was mediocre at best after an 8th minute cross into Nyarko.

M Patrick Nyarko (5) - A good run to get into position for a chance early. The Fire should have been able to do better against a bit of a patchwork Montreal back line but Nyarko has no help from the opposite side of the field and the center of the pitch when it comes to creating offensively.

M Joel Lindpere (4) - Providing very little offensively and close to nothing defensively. Caught standing around ball watching in the 29th as Brovsky was given all day to launch a volley at goal in the 29th. Completely disappeared in the second half. At some point soon he's going to have to come out of the first eleven.

F Chris Rolfe (4) - A few nice touches and few bad passes in the first half. The red card changed what the Fire could do offensively so the forwards were rendered useless from the 63rd minute on. The combination play that was so effective last year with MacDonald seems to be non-existent.

F Sherjill MacDonald (3) - After two decent games that made it seem that he was pulling out of whatever fog he's been in for most of the year, there was this. It's one thing to work and not deliver but it's entirely another to appear uninspired while shuffling through the sixty minutes or so that he's going to get every match. As the highest paid player on the squad (by a pretty fair margin) his performance this season has simply been unacceptable in all but a few instances.

F Maicon Santos (4) - Entered for MacDonald in the 66th but the red card preceded his appearance so there wasn't much from him in this match other than a badly taken free kick in the 75th.

M Alex (5) - Subbed in for Lindpere in the 77th. This move probably should have been made earlier along with the inclusion of Santos.

M Dilly Duka (5) - Came in for Nyarko in the 83rd. By then it much too late to make a difference.



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  • How about a rating for the coaches, scouts, and owners! I recommend a -1. For the past couple years the assembly of this team has been chaotic at best. Personally, I attribute that to the fact that no one in management seems to know what type of team they are trying to build. Instead they go out to purchase a player ("a creative midfielder" or "a consistent striker") with no idea of how that player would fit into their grand design -- of course not, because they have no grand design. Maybe someone in the Fire organization should have a long talk with Brendan Rodgers, now coach of Liverpool and formerly at Swansea City where he built a mini-Barca out of no-names, earned promotion and maintained a mid-table position before moving to Liverpool. I would like to hear the explanation of exactly what type of team Fire management have been attempting to build!!!!!

  • In reply to shortpasses:

    When Javier Leon & Frank talk to Rodgers see if they can persuade him to put Suarez on loan to us for a couple of months while he is on suspention in the EPL for cannibalism.

    That will cure our scoring ills, I bet!

  • In reply to shortpasses:

    It's a California owned & operated team designed to operate small market style in Broadview, Illinois, tagged "Chicago" Fire in hopes of separating a few midwestern rubes from their money. I can't imagine why it isn't working. :P

  • In reply to Arklow:

    Sorry. I meant Bridgeview, or some such unmemorable place.

  • In reply to Arklow:

    Team might draw better were it in Broadview. I can only imagine how much longer until Haumptman gets his wish and is able to sell this team. Word on the street is it's been on the market for the past three years which would explain A LOT!

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    I asked Hauptman that question point blank last year. He said the team is not and has not been for sale.

  • This could be a mixed blessing and could turn the MLS into La Liga
    with two big teams soaking up most of the talent and the rest are minnows for the taking. Don't see this necessarily as a positive development for U.S. soccer. I much rather see a league that is totally competitive than one that bends over and takes it just for the money.
    No doubt this new team will get the most talented players, mostly foreign, big names. There must be rigid caps on spending in order to keep the league competitive. On the other hand it in time it could raise the level of U.S. soccer if handled appropriately.
    Go solar power!

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    They'll still have to play within the rules of the budget structure but I'm sure there will be no hesitation to use up 2 or 3 DP spots on substantial talent. I would hope this increases the overall "budget" amount each team has to spend by a considerable amount...not just the 5% bump it currently gets every year.

    As long as the budget structure is in place as currently constituted it will be almost impossible to have just two teams with all the talent.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Will former Real Madrid and current Al Sadd striker Raul be worth scarf eating? :)

  • In reply to longoria3:

    Definitely not scarf worthy.

    Available in July but he'll be 36 by then.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    If its successful it could attract more owners that have enough money to bring the league to a higher level. Owners that will spend money to put the best 11 players on the field need enough money to not care about the immediate financial return and be concerned solely with results on the pitch. That also means they have to have a genuine love for the game that borders on obsession. I'm not sure if current owners have either of these characteristics. If some do, I assume there's not enough of them to be able to raise salary caps to make it somewhat equal around the league.

  • According to Grant Wahl, both Toronto FC and Seattle are interested in signing Herculez Gomez this July. His rights are currently held by Sporting KC and they would have to be compensated before any deal is done. Should the Fire pursue a deal for Gomez?

    I say no. Not because he's not a good player, because he certainly is but Gomez is 31 now and despite his success he wouldn't be the impact player or game changer that the Fire need. He'd essentially be another solid complimentary player. The Fire need a forward/target man on another level and Gomez isn't necessarily a true #9 either.

    He'd be great with media and fans but he's not what the club needs at the moment.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    What is the budget for a big name player? I mean can we REALLY afford a young impact player? Or should the realistic focus should be on a proven commodity on the sunset side of their career? Look at the scoring leaders in LigaMX this year and a majority of the top ten are north of 30.

    I'd love to have Cristian Benitez; but, hell, a two year deal with, say, 32 year old Chaco Giménez would do wonders for the Fire.

    By the way, your man Humberto Suazo will be 32 next week.

  • In reply to Roti2000:

    I have no issue with adding a player over 30 who would make an impact like Suazo would have. There's a difference in paying DP money for a player over 30 who would be a difference maker and one over 30 who would just be a complimentary piece.
    Suazo is reportedly pulling down $3 mill per in Mexico so the Fire had to be close to that in terms of their offer. I'm not sure what their budget or cap is for a big name player but you can find a pretty good one for that kind of money.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    so is $3 million considered #puppolikemoney, oh sorry I mean #keanelikemoney?

  • In reply to penapirata:

    Well, Keane makes slightly less than $3m, so yes.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Change the tactics and he's be a nice addition. 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 diamond.

  • In reply to ManOn TheFire:

    Nice addition...yes. A player that would cause you to rethink your formation and tactics while earning DP money....I say no.

  • "The red card was unfortunate and may overshadow the continuing problem with this squad in the offensive third."

    I totally agree. The red card was unfortunate and probably unfair, but the Fire can't really point to that as the reason or even a significant contributor to their loss. Lack of ideas in Montreal's end was a bigger problem, and it's not like they look to Big Reg to generate them. Sure, they should protest the red (well, depending if there is a cost that they would have to pay financially or in terms of seasonal limits on appeals, I don't know the rules). But the score is not something they can contest. You have to score goals to win, and obviously we're just not doing that.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Modibo:

    We're also not defending well enough, and have conceded most in MLS.

  • It would be great if it resulted in brining back the top U.S. players
    playing overseas to MLS.

  • Per Jeff Crandall, the Fire have filed an appeal on Jeff Larentowicz's red card.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    I'm surprised the league doesn't apologize for how awful that call was.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    It wasnt that awful. Every player tries to cut infront of the defender for that reason. His foot was clipped and he was the last man. I would be surprised if the Fire win the appeal. You cant give a yellow to the last man stopping a breadaway. Sure he might not have gotten to the ball but then again he might have. Thats a red.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    I don't think it was a red but I don't believe it will be rescinded either. Just the fact that its debatable will probably mean that the red card call is upheld. Worth a shot for a review though.

  • Just had a glance at the Castrol Index standings on Take this with a grain of salt, but our highest-ranked player is Patrick Nyarko at 66 with Sean John at 68 and Paladini at 78. Macdonald is 139 and Rolfe and Lindpere are 231 and 232 respectively.

    #1 this week? Jack McInerny, who we will be seeing plenty of over the coming few weeks.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    I've always thought the Castrol Index was nonsense.

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