Union 1 Fire 0 - recap and ratings

Looking at the final numbers after the match you'd be hard pressed to explain just how the Fire managed to drop yet another home game against an opponent that they should have been able to beat. Philadelphia came into this match missing two starters on the back line and one of the replacements hadn't played a regular season match since last August. Frank Klopas started Patrick Nyarko up top in a effort to take advantage of that match-up and the strategy worked with one big exception.

The Fire didn't finish their chances.

It sounds like a broken record at this point but the continued ineptitude in front of the net places pressure on the club to play flawlessly on the defensive end of the pitch. One small mistake or moment of weakness is magnified ten fold and that one second let down proved to be the killer in this match. Jack McInerney scored him seventh goal of the season (the Fire have tallied 6 as a team) when Sebastien LeToux took a quick restart following a seemingly harmless foul just across midfield. The Chicago defense didn't react quickly enough to mark the streaking McInerney and that was that.

The other 89 minutes and 50 seconds were essentially controlled by the Fire. Take these numbers into account:

Overall possession: 58-42 in favor of Chicago

Shots on target: 6-2 in favor of Chicago

Open play crosses: 30-10 in favor of Chicago

Total passes: 411-296 in favor of Chicago

Passing Accuracy: 81% to 73% in favor of Chicago

Unfortunately, until they can add a true number "9" or someone on the current roster magically becomes a lethal finisher overnight they're going to be trailing in the only number that matters.

This team is better than what they've shown so far but July seems like a long way off and it may be too late by then to salvage anything if things don't improve quickly.

Player Ratings

GK Sean Johnson (5) - Only faced two shots on target. The first was a save on Casey's header in the 50th minute. The second was McInerney's goal. That was it for Philadelphia throughout the entire match.

D Gonzalo Segares (6) - Fed a great cross into Paladini who found Nyarko in front of the net for a shot that glanced off the right post in the 48th minute. Philadelphia's wide players had absolutely nothing going on.

D Austin Berry (6) - Steady all day against McInerney and Casey. Defensively, the Fire played well enough to win this game.

D Jalil Anibaba (5) - Actually played a very solid game....except for falling asleep for a half second in the 76th minute allowing McInerney to get in behind the defense for a 1v1 on goal after a quick restart.

D Wells Thompson (6) - Another good effort from Thompson while playing out of position. Stopped a Union chance nicely in the 71st when he blocked Hoppenot's dangerous cross.

M Logan Pause (6) - The Fire midfield dominated possession for long stretches (66% in the second half) and denied any clear looks for the opposition.

M Daniel Paladini (5) - Should have put away a loose ball opportunity in the 33rd. With a clear look at goal his shot was directly at MacMath.

M Dilly Duka (5) - His best performance in a Fire shirt to date. Good footwork got him through the defense in the 58 for a good look at goal but again his low driven shot was right at MacMath.

M Joel Lindpere (5) - Better than past performances but still not what most were expecting when the Fire acquired him this winter. Forced MacMath into a little more difficult save in the 37th when the keeper dove to deny his low far post attempt.

F Chris Rolfe (5) - Managed to register 5 shot attempts but only one was on target, a 49th minute shot that was slightly mishit and right at MacMath. Played well in combination with Nyarko but work in the final third has to be better.

F Patrick Nyarko (6) - Easily the Fire's man of the match. Involved in almost every scoring chance created by Chicago. Started the play which led to Paladini's chance in the 33rd when he broke down the defense in the box. Started the attack which led to Lindpere's shot in the 37th. Hit the post with his own shot in the 48th. Probably should have shot before Lindpere's chance. You can see Nyarko talk about the match in post game comments at the Fire Confidential Facebook page.

M Alex (5) - Came into the match for Duka in the 63rd but never really figured into much. Played in the underneath spot when he entered moving Rolfe out wide right. Moved out right while Rolfe went to the left side when Santos entered.

F Maicon Santos (5) - Came in for Lindpere in the 73rd and led a counter chance in the 78th but his through ball for Nyarko was cut off by MacMath.

F Quincy Amarikwa (6) - Subbed in for Paladini in the 84th as the Fire attempted to push for a late desperation equalizer. An obvious dive attempt for a PK was rightfully ignored in the 87th but his well struck volley in the dying moments of stoppage time forced MacMath into his best save of the night.

Next Up

The Union again. This time in Philadelphia next Saturday. It will be interesting to see if Klopas stays with this line-up for that match based on the amount of chances created in this game. If MacDonald recovers from a bout with strep throat does he get back into the line up next weekend?

Stayed tuned for the next episode of the Fire Confidential Podcast where we'll discuss what happened with the Bakary Soumare trade and look at the Fire's apparent salary cap issue and lack of depth on the roster.

 

Comments

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  • I thought Amarikwa looked good. His strike was probably the most difficult and best taken of the day for the Fire (I know, given the competition it's not a huge compliment). I'd like to see him see the pitch more often to see if there's anything to it. He looked good to me.

    I'll go into a deep depression if Mac is starting next week. I hope he gets better and all, but I have zero confidence in the fella. I don't want to see Nyarko starting up top long term, but he created chance after chance, and clearly we need all the chances we can muster.

    Chris Rolfe. Man, I don't know. I guess you keep starting him, cuz what other options do we have? But his touch is just piss poor. I would consider sitting him to start the next match. Maybe not a long term thing, but to get his attention. The man needs to start meditating or something, because he's completely lost his focus.

  • In reply to Drew:

    Agree on Rolfe, thought Duka showed enough for another start.
    At least Amarikwa showed some spark and hustle.
    At this point Frank needs to shake things up a bit, though starting with the same lineup for the next game may be a good idea if they can keep Anibaba awake for a full game. They probably had the best ball movement for the season, overall. Maybe they'll be more fortunate
    next time out.

  • In reply to Drew:

    I agree that Amerikwa added a lot of needed energy. Not happy about the dive (generally I would bench a guy who comes in and starts doing that) but I'd be happy to see him get another chance. And why not a completely second-string midfield and forward starting lineup next game? Atouba, Amerikwa, etc. At least in terms of results we literally could not do much worse than we are with our first-stringers.

  • In reply to Drew:

    I also liked Amarikwa. Don't know if he gets those chances as a starter - he may have benefitted from some mental lapses on the part of Philly. But his energy was good, and I realized also that he's a pretty big boy. I would give MacD's spot on the roster to him. Let MacD nurse his strep throat for another few weeks.

    Rolfe's touch is not piss poor all over the pitch. Unfortunately it's near goal. I think he's still very clever maneuvering in the open field, though. But he's not putting away the chances like he did last season.

  • The only thing I don't understand at this point is why Atouba isn't given more of a go. Ever since preseason, he's lit up the pitch everytime he's stepped on and given minutes.

    Politics? I can't figure out another valid reason why he doesn't get more time.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    Start the same line up next week except having Atouba start instead of Rolfe, should be a quick and creative lineup,who knows maybe some goals.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    Agreed. Atouba is not a finished product, but our "finished products" at this point seem like they're just finished, period. I'd like to see Atouba have a chance to run at opposing defenses. Nyarko gave Philly fits on Saturday - why not see what happens with him up top and Atouba - a similar player - on the left? What do we have to lose, really?

  • Guys the member of the team that should be replaced is klopas. Think of it he has been a decision maker on some of the worst moves made in the league. From backing de Los cabos to all of the terrible moves that have been made klopas has been part of the decision making team. Time for Frankie to move on and look for probably the best American college coach available anyone notice how professional Portland is under a experienced college coach.

  • In reply to brokerjohn:

    The only problem there is that Javier Leon has, on at least two separate occasions, shouldered the blame for CDLC's hiring. Not saying FK didn't have involvement in the move as TD, but Leon has talked numerous times on the "mistake of hiring CDLC." Now, whether that's being said in specific or generally culpable terms is probably rightly up for debate.

  • I feel like a broken record, but is it time to panic *now*? How could any coach look at the results and not think something is horribly wrong with this team?

  • Do you really blame Klopas? What player has elevated his game? Where do you see intensity or skill from a Fire player that is at a higher level than much of the league? This team is about the worst I have seen in a long time. I know some of us had high hopes as the Fire won some games at end of last year, but that final game was the harbinger of 2013: lackluster play combined with apathy. Fire fans, don't waste your time and money on these jokers, it's not going to get any better. There is better soccer out there than the mediocrity that is on display at Toyota Park.

  • Check out the latest episode of the Fire Confidential Podcast here....

    http://firepodfc.com/

    or by clicking on the player on the right hand rail. We're discussing what happened to the potential Bakary Soumare trade, roster depth, and salary cap concerns.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Thanks for the in-depth but depressing discussion. I was thinking of road-tripping up to Philly from Baltimore for Saturday's game, but I don't think I need to put my family through the agony of a two-hour rant on the way home about the failings of the team. Nor do I want to fund, however indirectly, more mismanagement.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    My suggestion......make the trip anyway. You only have a few opportunities to see them live if you're in Baltimore. Plus the Union will be playing their third match in 7 days....maybe the Fire will pull one out.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    Check out this thread if you're going, there will be a Section 8 group you can hang out with.

    http://www.s8c.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/285/s8ot-518-phili-union#Item_73

    And since it's an away game, you'd be funding the Union's mismanagement. Win-win.

  • fb_avatar

    "Well if I were the coach" here's what I would do.

    ----Alex----------Nyarko--------Rolfe------

    ---------Lindpere--------Paladini-----------

    -------------------Pause------------------------

    Sega------Berry-------Anibaba-----El Diablo

    -----------------Johnson-----------------------

    Yeah I've probably been watching to many Barcelona games and considering the transfer window is still a little bit in the distance, we have to grind out some results with what we have for the time being. A system with one striker isn't working. A system with 2 strikers isn't working. Time to take some risks and go balls out with a straight up 4-3-3 and hope that 3 strikers might bring us at least 2 goals a game.

    Besides, it couldn't possibly get any worse, could it?

  • In reply to Freddy Coba:

    I"d put in Atouba and Duka in for Rolfe and Alex.
    Duka played at a higher level than Alex, when they put in Alex
    you could see the steam leaking away. Atouba should get
    a chance to start, it seems the Fire rookies who do well were the ones forced to start ( ie:Berry went Gibbs went out) than the ones they try to take baby steps with. A case in point, Bone. Don't know his level of talent, he's been around long enough to know the system, if he can't cut it, cut him or trade him to another team where he may have an opportunity. We just don't know how he talented he is. It's not his fault, it's the way the team nutures or non-nutures it's talent. Rolfe has been too inconsistent lately and should sit, maybe coming in as a sub until he gains back his old form.

  • fb_avatar

    Nyarko? Striker? As soon as he starts hitting the side of a barn from 5yds out first.

  • In reply to Kao Xiong:

    I agree in part and disagree in part.
    Everybody lately has been missing shots but most of his were pretty much on goal, Nyarko's main asset is not scoring goals but to open holes and create opportunities for others. I think your assessment of Nyarko is a bit harsh.
    Our only players of note this season have been by a clear margin Nyarko, Berry, and Johnson and even they have had their ups and downs

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    His assessment of Nyarko is spot on. If he could finish at a decent rate he would be overseas by now.

    Chicago Fire is where the worlds poor finishers go to ply their trade.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    I have to agree with lonecoyote. What I did NOT like in Nyarko v Philly was the shot he didn't take - his pass to Rolfe from about the 15 yd line after getting an opening. Granted the shot would have been on his left and he lined Rolfe up on his right, but I would have preferred Nyarko to strike it, potentially getting a rebound or a corner. OK, this is hindsight, and Nyarko plays as an assist man, but as has been said again and again, EVERYBODY knows that and defends him like that.

    The one clear shot I do remember went off the upright. Should've finished, true, but he hit the barn door frame at least.

  • With the US Open Cup competition on the horizon the Fire depth will be challenged. MLS clubs enter the competition on Tuesday, May 28.

    The Fire play a road game at Real Salt Lake on 5/25 and host DC United on 6/2. They'll need all the healthy bodies they've got since they can't afford another Michigan Bucks embarrassment this year.

  • For the sake of accuracy....the Fire have 26 players on the current roster not 25 as mentioned in the podcast although injuries have sidelined Friedrich, Pineda, and Kinney for all or most of the year.

    Defenders (8) - Anibaba, Berry, Segares, Thompson, Friedrich, Kinney, Videira, Jumper

    Midfielders (11) - Larentowicz, Pause, Duka, Lindpere, Nyarko, Atouba, Alex, Bone, Paladini, King, Pineda

    Forwards (4) - MacDonald, Rolfe, Santos, Amarikwa

    Keepers (3) - Johnson, Tornaghi, Kann

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    too much replication of skills in the midfield. i know getting creative type in MLS isn't easy, but that stands out. not too much difference in Jeff L, Pause, Linpere, & Paladini. Bone you could probably add to that list, King and Pineda seem too far down on the depth chart to matter much this year.

    lack of depth at d. especially since kinney is made of glass and friedrich has some injury history.

    forward list looks awful right now, though rolfe seems to be in a slump....and i'd say mac too. he was certainly not this bad last year. amarikwa showed some promise, we'll see though, he has to prove it consistently.

    soooo...i'll end w/the fact that i like our keepers! keeping it positive! ;)

  • am i the only one that thought duka had a mediocre game?

  • In reply to penapirata:

    i wouldn't call his game memorable by any means, but that's both good and bad.

  • http://espnfc.com/news/story/_/id/1447333/ronaldinho-kaka-not-confederations-cup-squad?cc=5901

    Let's get after him. It's not going to make the team better, it won't help score more goals, but I do recall one, Guillermo Rivera promising to eat a scarf if Kaka were to join the Men in Red. I will grill this scarf in the most Ron Swanson approved way! Let's do this!!!

    On a more serious note: I hear Drogba is starting to get upset in Turkey, what with the racism and what-not. There were rumors the Fire talked with him last season...just sayin'...

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    Two things....

    1. The Fire never spoke to Drogba. That's more internet nonsense.

    2. The scarf offer still stands if Kaka ends up playing for the Fire. ;)

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    All I heard was Guillermo's eating a scarf.

  • I think the only way to enjoy this season is by accepting that they suck and hoping for the worst. For any real change people need to get fired, many people probably. I watched the game on TV and the stadium looked empty. If numbers suffer and the team keeps its losing ways someone will have to be held responsible. Before we can bounce back we need to first hit the bottom and it seems like we are on way. I have decided to not have hope that this team will somehow pull it together or hope that a big signing happens because honestly I don't think any one player could fix this disaster, I am hoping that all problems are exposed and no more excuses are tolerated. After that I am hoping that the team is rebuilt and we can see a real positive change

  • Klopas can move all the pieces around as much as he wants, but the reality is that he has built a poor squad. His understanding of soccer hasn't budged since his own playing days. This midfield can't create, and these strikers can't finish. I'd trade virtually any MLS squad for this one—ownership and management included.

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