Fire 2 DC United 0 - recap and ratings

It wasn't exactly a work of art but the Fire have to be happy with a 2-0 win over DC United. Chicago lost the possession battle by a wide margin but kept DC from generating dangerous chances and limited the visitors to eight shot attempts, none of which were on frame. Dwayne De Rosario's 38th minute shot from about 25 yards out glanced off the crossbar and over the net but that was as close as DC would get.

Chicago took advantage of a club struggling through a more hapless start to the season than the one they've muddled through but it's a good sign that they were able to beat a team they should beat at home. That hasn't been the case so far this year. The addition of Magee and his ability to finish when presented with the opportunity changes the complexion of the attack even if it is just one match against a (let's face it) bad opponent.

The next game will be more of a test with a strong Portland side coming to Toyota Park next Saturday.

Player Ratings

GK Sean Johnson (5) - A clean sheet is a clean sheet but Johnson wasn't tested. DC United registered zero shots on target in eight attempts.

D Gonzalo Segares (6) - A few dangerous crosses helped and DC had nothing going from the flanks despite keeping possession for 63% of the match.

D Austin Berry (6) - Steadier with a veteran centerback next to him. The pairing with Anibaba in place of Friedrich wasn't bad but Berry has looked more like the Rookie of the Year version of himself recently.

D Bakary Soumare (6) - Ruiz and De Rosario had very little going. Soumare and Berry were successful in clearing most of the possible danger away.

D Jalil Anibaba (5) - A few instances of excellent 1v1 defending but passing and vision need to improve from the right back spot. Everything doesn't need to be a cross into the box.

M Jeff Larentowicz (6) - Helped create the DC own goal by getting into a scoring position. Touch on long passes was exceptional and played a strong game in the middle despite DC holding the big possession edge.

M Alex (5) - A few good combinations and passes into the offensive third but not quite enough to make a significant difference.

M Joel Lindpere (5) - Decent service in the first half. His free kick after earning a foul led directly to the Fire score/DC own goal.

M Patrick Nyarko (6) - Assisted on the Fire's second score and probably should have looked to shoot rather than pass on more than one occasion but his work rate particularly in defensive help was outstanding.

F Chris Rolfe (5) - A few more flashes of coming out of his slump in this game. Still can do much more.

F Mike Magee (6) - After a fairly quiet first half Magee was more involved in the second. After a set up from Rolfe in the 51st his shot was high of the mark and he had a big chance in the 83rd when Joe Willis denied a 1v1 opportunity. Took a feed from Nyarko to score the Fire's second tally and ice the game two minutes later. Check out Magee's post game comments at the Fire Confidential Facebook page.

F Maicon Santos (6) - Came into the match in the 67th for Rolfe and was very active. There were a few bad passes mixed in but he set up Magee for the chance in the 83rd and was credited with an assist on the second goal.

M Daniel Paladini (5) - Subbed in for Alex in the 74th as Klopas opted for a little more defensively to close the game.

M Dilly Duka (5) - Entered for Magee in the 87th and wasted no time in picking up a yellow card one minute later but he did have a good look in the 89th when his shot sailed just wide of goal.

Nowak in attendance

The fact that Peter Nowak was in attendance to watch his former club isn't so interesting in and of itself, but when you consider the company he watched the match with you have to believe something may be brewing. Nowak took in the game from the Second Star Club flanked by Fire owner Andrew Hauptman, President of Soccer Operations Javier Leon, Vice President of Soccer Operations Guillermo Petrei, and Rafael Carmona (whose official title is Academy Staff Coach).

Hauptman, who answered a few questions at half-time said that the former Philadelphia and DC coach was attending as a guest and the club was "picking his brain" but there was nothing any more significant than that. He also noted that Nowak still cares about the club, watches all the games, and the "guys upstairs and downstairs" value his opinion.

With the Fire off to a rough start and in need of a win the timing of Nowak's visit and company seems a bit peculiar.

Comments

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  • What was that about not firing Klopas unless you had a replacement already in line? Novak is a Fire legend and has more coaching experience than Klopas but wasn't there some crazy accusations of abuse from him in Philly? Wasn't he behind them trading away a lot of their talent? I know there are 2 sides to every story but I'd be a little worried regardless. Also any time the fire says they aren't talking to someone or aren't interested in signing someone it is almost always the opposite (except for Drogba)

  • MacDonald has to be done. Late sub the last two games and doesn't see the field on Sunday. Magee has done more in two matches than he has all season and makes a lot less.

    Can't say what it feels like to see Magee bearing in on goal... Yes he was robbed on the first attempt but I love that it took him just two minutes to find another one and he absolutely buried it. I think we have a real finisher on our team and the attention he draws is only going to help Rolfe get the space he needs to score as well. Its only two games but I love Magee so far.

    Nowak's presence seems odd but not as odd as the company he was keeping during the game. At one point he had to look around to the three stooges Leon, Petrei and Carmona and ask "How are any of you qualified to hold my jock?"

    Nowak won MLS Cup as a player and coach, won a Supporters Shield captained Poland, led the U.S. at the 2008 Olympics while Petrei has run a youth club, Javi ran Chivas USA and Carmona has some silly tie to Atletico Madrid.

    At the same time, I'm sort of surprised Hauptman would be associated with the guy given his legal trouble of late. Maybe this is Andrew showing he can have a connection to the past. If Frank is to go though, I don't think Nowak is the right choice and I can't see his personality fitting well with Andy's nature at all. Would have all the makings of an absolute cage match, IMO which could be sort of amazing to watch unfold.

    Probably a signal to Frank to continue to get shit in order.

  • I don't see Nowak being a match here either but stranger things have happened in sports. The split in Philadelphia was an ugly one with some odd allegations being made but here's an unbiased take on the potential lawsuit from an attorney that works with MLS players.

    http://shortcorners.wordpress.com/2012/07/24/nowak-v-union-lawsuit-two-important-points/

    And here's a breakdown of the issues involved in the lawsuit....

    http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/thegoalkeeper/Lawsuit-Peter-Nowak-may-have-improperly-profited-from-player-transactions-as-Philadelphia-Union-manager.html

  • The Nowak thing could be much ado about nothing, it would be equally odd if Nowak came to the game if he didn't sit with the higher ups. It seemed like things picked up for the Fire after Santos came in for Rolfe, the team seemed slightly out of sync before the substitution.
    I expected the team to show a bit more domination in the earlier stages of the game

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    The early stages were pretty sloppy. Santos definitely gave the offense a bump when he came in.

  • Would Nowak make a good Technical director? Or maybe coach the youth, seening how the system should provide few more homegrown players?

  • In reply to Adam25:

    The guy's won an MLS Cup as a coach and he's run the US U-23's so he's got a resume but the divorce in Philadelphia is a concern. Who knows, as lonecoyote noted above it could all mean nothing that he was in attendance and sitting with the owner and the decision makers on the technical staff for the entire match.

  • Joel Lindpere called up by Estonia. Will miss the Portland game.

  • From the Hauptmann interview, per Anthony Zilis on MLSsoccer.com:

    “I've been at least asking politely for more additions,” Hauptman said. “Hopefully with the July window, we'll see some of that. I see the list that's being evaluated literally every single day. There's some real quality, and hopefully we'll get something done.”

    How do we read this? Here's how I read the last lines: "I'm reading lots of scouting reports from second-tier leagues in second-tier countries, and it's like swimming in a barrel of feces" (haha, cribbed that last bit from Chelis!)

    But what about the first line? "...asking politely for more additions"?!? I appreciate what he says at the end of the story about not meddling too much in player selection (re: MacDone), but he's either putting the money on the table or not. Guillermo, what's up with this little bit of Hauptmann-speak? Or should I say "Hauptmann-sprache" given the events of the past weekend? Is there something we're missing here?

  • In reply to Modibo:

    Modibo,
    They're looking to make a move in July and have list of names that they're considering. Some are recognizable names with a resume that includes big clubs and some are lesser known players that most of us wouldn't necessarily recognize right away (soccer is global and it's hard to watch every league when you've got a full time job-although I try. My wife's not happy about it, but I digress).
    You shouldn't assume they're solely looking at second-tier leagues and second division players because they are legitimately looking for an impact player.
    As for the "asking politely" comment...I believe that was said tongue in cheek and probably shouldn't be misconstrued. He's said he will spend money on a big time addition, now they just have to follow through and find the right one. Questions will rightfully be asked until they do.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    "Questions will rightfully be asked until they do."

    The problem with asking questions that the people asking them generally don't believe the answers.

  • In reply to iron81:

    Which is why I no longer listen to, read about, or comment on Andy's statements. They're pure spin doctoring. Any truth is incidentally convenient to his PR objective.

    I agree that the acquisition of Soumare and Magee has made them more interesting. So far that's just hope spiced up with Andy's smoke and mirrors. But it remains to be seen whehter the owners will actually commit anything more than talk beyond what they've done already. It also remains to be seen how much difference Soumare & Magee are going to make. Don't forget that some other moves are predicted to provide sallary space. Until I see those and their consequences, I cannot really assess the net effect.

  • In reply to Arklow:

    Believing that Andrew has been dishonest with the fanbase is based on the unfounded cynicism of the listener. Andrew has been trustworthy and open in his communication with fans and should be commended for it.

  • In reply to iron81:

    Andy's optimism, in the pall of the last 3 or 4 years, has created my cynicism. He's generous with his words and tight with his money. I want to see his financial support. I've heard enough of his words to know they are just words.

  • In reply to iron81:

    Are you Andrew? I'm not saying the guy is the devil but you seem to be awfully defensive of the Ownership and FO.

  • In reply to iron81:

    I just hope we don't have to hear the "we almost signed someone really good or this famous guy listened to our offers before going back to Europe"

    I really hope the Fire don't get used by a player as to drive up his price even thou he had no real intention of coming.

    Don't want the Fire to get Labroned/DwayneWaded like the bulls did...or get Souza'ed again

  • In reply to MikeRUZE:

    Hey don't knock that strategy, we traded for rights of a guy that had no intention of signing with the Fire and we got Magee from it. In case it isn't obvious, I'm being sarcastic?

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Guillermo, I definitely appreciate the info on his tone with the "politely asking" statement. I grant you I am now completely cynical about the quality of player that we will find after MacDone and his crew managed to pull the wool over the FO's eyes and keep it there for months. Magee and Baky are clearly solid additions, but when you're facing a lower division side and the worst team in the league, you should be counting on taking a victory or points. Sterner tests follow from, oh, basically every other opponent (including DC if they get their act together later this season).

  • In reply to Modibo:

    True enough but you have to beat the team in front of you first. They haven't beaten teams they should be able to beat this year and the last three games appear to be a start toward turning things around. Next week is a big test.

  • Guys there is finally a reason to drive to Toyota park. I enjoy the way McGee plays. I do follow the union and nowak in his last year as coach lost his mind. I am an employer and the last person that I would want to hire is someone like old Peter. Good resume but extreme highs and lows.

  • Dan Woolard played centerback. John Thorrington came in during the second half, and the current back-up 'keeper is Andrew Dykstra. I was waiting to see Chad Barrett and Kai Kasiguran. I felt bad for the DC fans sitting in the section next to me. At one point one of them yelled, "will some one please just f*cking run?!" and "I just want one F***ING shot on goal! ONE!" At the end of the game they were chanting, "CHI-CA-GO FI-RE! (clap-clap,clap,clap-clap clap!)". They and Mike Magee made me feel a foot taller!

  • How many times over the last few years have you said to yourself, "geez, I wish someone had been running to the back post to get on the end of that cross" only to see the ball go harmlessly across goal to no one. MaGee is the player who will be on the end of those crosses. I am feeling very positive about this trade.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    Magee is excellent at right place, right time runs in similar fashion to Wondolowski.

  • Hey gang, I also like Mike Magee, but I think we need to work on his name.

    Remember:
    Mr. Ma-gee, just like Ma-goo,
    But with the "eeee" and not the "ewww."

  • I, too, like what I see in Magee. He reminds me a little of Raul--not the fastest, not the biggest, not the strongest, not even the cleverest, just a knack for knowing where to be and how to play to get the ball in the net.

    And I'm thrilled with the victory, but it was a painful match to watch. We have to improve our passing. What was it, 69% completion? Ouch. I think Germany completed more passes than the Fire and DC United combined.

    Seven losses is a big hole to dig out of. Playing a Portland squad that had a bye week and is playing some great soccer is nervous-making to our newfound confidence. Hopefully we can mimic the Red Stars victory, but at home (Red Stars lost both of their home matches to the Thorns, but went to Portland to win their first game of the season 2-0 at Jen-Weld on Saturday).

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    Thoughts after leaving Toyota Park last Sunday:

    1: Damn, this lot needs to get paved. :-)

    2. I can only imagine how good Magee will be once he's playing with an on form Rolfe and a creative midfielder (#10) that will serve up passes on a platter.

    3. I really hope Alex can develop into that creative midfielder (#10).

    3. To paraphrase Good Ol' JR: Joel Lindpere is about as effective as one-legged-man in an ass kicking contest. He should not be starting over Paladini or Duka.

    4. This Jalil at right back project needs to be aborted immediately. The only time he can serve up a decent cross is if he has 5 minutes to tee it up. He's a CB and a decent one at that, but not a RB by any stretch of the imagination. Let him fight for minutes with Baky and Berry.

    5. Berry owned Ruiz mentally and physically all night. I really thought that Ruiz's dirty behavior that he's known for would get the better of the young defender but Austin kept his composure like a true pro.

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    In reply to Freddy Coba:

    And at 11:30pm I apparently can't count. smh.

  • In reply to Freddy Coba:

    Anibaba's a natural centerback. At fullback he's just passable, which is much better than Wells Thompson so he has that going for him. Right back needs to be addressed but it may not be this season.

    Portland game should be a slobber knocker.

  • In reply to Freddy Coba:

    I agree on Lindpere and Berry, right now Paladini makes us much stronger offensively and even if Magee were to score a goal every game, how many clean sheets can we expect? We need to have the guys out there that give us the greatest chances at scoring and Paladini in place of Lindpere gives us that.

  • So are both Lindpere and Segares out for national team duty? Soccer America is reporting that Segares will be with Costa Rica, but that's the first I've heard about it. I know he turned down a call-up to be here for the US Open Cup. Soccer America also failed to list that we'd be losing Lindpere, so maybe they're just confused.

    Lindpere, imo, had a better game than most of his recent ones on Sunday, showing flashes of his old self. But I'm not sorry that he got called up so that we can see more of Duka.

    Soccer America also reported that Portland is losing four players for national team duty.

    Rodney Wallace (Costa Rica -- games June 7, 11 & 18)
    Futty Danso (Gambia -- games June 8 & 15)
    Ryan Johnson (Jamaica -- games June 4, 7 & 11)
    Donovan Ricketts (Jamaica -- games June 4, 7 & 11)

    That should help us a bit on Saturday. Danso is a centerback, where the Timbers are already thin. Johnson has been doing well at forward this year. Johnson and Wallace together equal the total goal output of the Fire this year.

  • In reply to Fuegofan:

    Lindpere is out for the Portland game. I believe Segares is staying with the club however.
    The Timbers' international losses will definitely help the Fire on Saturday.

  • (First time commenter, so play nice) While everyone is talking about the budding on-field chemistry between Magee and Rolfe, from where I was sitting on Sunday, I'm much more interested in seeing more of Santos on the field alongside Magee. Don't get me wrong, I definitely appreciate what Rolfe brings to the team, but (aside from a bit of clowning around) Santos seemed to provide a dominating presence up front, and I suspect he could play a great holding forward-ying to Magee's finisher-yang. Are Magee and Rolfe perhaps a bit too similar up front to really make things happen the same way (with the caveat that Rolfe seems to have misplaced his nose for the goal this season)?

  • In reply to colbyaw:

    Thanks for chiming in Colby. Santos definitely made an impact when he came in and changed the dynamic up front. I'd still like to see the Rolfe/Magee combo get more time together although your point about the two being similar is well taken. I like Santos as a second half sub if necessary for the all the reasons he showed on Sunday. He offers a different look.

    I still think Rolfe has too much quality to continue to struggle and the last 2 games have been much better with Magee on the field. If Santos is the first sub at forward that now leaves MacDonald scraping for minutes that aren't going to be there.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Do you think MacDonald gets (or perhaps the better question is, deserves) another 'one more chance to show something' with Magee on the field, or do you think its time to throw in the towel on him?

  • In reply to colbyaw:

    I think they're trying to move him.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    What about moving Rolfe to the wing opposite nyarko? Lindpere isn't the answer. I like Duka ok, but I still have a hard time pulling Rolfe out of the starting 11. Maybe I'm holding on to his past abilities too much...

    MacD should be behind both Santos and Amarikwa. I was disappointed to see Mac in the 18 over A.

  • In reply to Drew:

    I'd be ok with that.

  • In reply to Drew:

    I like that idea. Gets him out of traffic, gives him some open space to work with along the sidelines - I can see him cutting in underneath a streaking Magee to unleash that big foot of his...

  • In reply to colbyaw:

    Looks like De Nigris is on his way out at Monterrey but Cruz Azul and Leon FC are in hot pursuit.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    While a lot of attention has gone to Magee's two goals in two games, and rightfully so, I think that Rolfe's score against Carolina was just as important. While Magee got the assist, it was a goal made by Rolfe, and an emphatic one.

    I can see where Santos's presence on the field can bring a different look, but it doesn't bother me to see Rolfe and Magee on the field together. Besides Segares, we don't really have the players to push up on the wings and serve in big crosses that we'd like a big man to get on the end of. And we tried the target forward thing with both Santos and MacDone.

    I'm looking forward to seeing what the Rolfe-Magee pair can do against tougher MLS competition. Like Guillermo, I think Santos brings something great off the bench, but against DC had had both the motivation of playing against the club that let him go (didn't even trade him!) and a substitute's energy against a demoralized and exhausted opposition playing away from home.

  • (As a longtime podcast listener, i'm loving the fact that posting here lets me chat directly with you, Guillermo!)

    Off-topic question for you - as a longtime Rayados fan, the original thought of bringing Chupete Suazo aboard had me salivating. While that obviously didn't go through, I've heard rumors that Aldo De Nigris might be in play now... as with Chupete, the idea has me salivating on a personal level - BUT - given Magee's arrival, should another forward still our highest priority during the June window, or should we be thinking of a number 10, or ???

  • In reply to colbyaw:

    Thanks for listening to the podcast as well.

    Either a playmaker or a true #9 would be needs 1 and 1A for me. I'd still like to see an established striker if I had to pick one over the other though. Magee is a solid player who will finish his chances but he's never scored in double digits in his career. He's a huge improvement over MacDonald but I wouldn't expect him to continue on this pace. He can also play out wide and play underneath. Expecting him to be the target guy may not be realistic in the long run.

    True #10's as most people imagine them are hard to come by and they invariably end up playing as an underneath forward in most scenarios. They've got players who can fill that underneath role/playmaker spot like Nyarko, Rolfe, Magee, and Alex so I think they can win with those guys if a top flight striker was on board. Chupete would have been more like that than a true #9 as well.

    De Nigris would be more like a #9 but he's got a deal that runs through the end of the year. I'm not sure what it would take to get him but he'd be fantastic in MLS.

  • Nice PDL/academy update from Jeff Crandall.....

    http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2013/06/chicago-fire-pdl-sees-benefit-shift-developing-academy-alumni

    Identifies two potential home-grown players.

  • Reminder.....World Cup Qualifying in CONCACAF resumes tonight with Mexico at Jamaica.

    USA is in Jamaica for a match on Friday.

  • http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2013/06/04/american-exports-herculez-gomez-reportedly-signing-club-tijuana?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=News&utm_campaign=Unpaid

    The 4-letter network is reporting that Herc is going to Tijuana. Looks like Andrew's list of players needs to be refreshed...

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    I don't think Herc was on the list. They would have needed to trade for his rights with KC.

  • Matt Doyle at MLSsoccer.com has an excellent series on playmakers and #10's and why they're not central midfielders anymore.......

    http://www.mlssoccer.com/video/2013/05/21/between-lines-evolution-playmaker-part-1

  • So Matt Doyle's point is that because defenses figured out how to play defense in the center of the field, play makers have moved out wide. Seriously?

  • In reply to Krasov:

    I think he was trying to point out that some MLS teams have playmakers out wide. What he didn't really cover was playmakers who are acting as #10's from the underneath forward spot ie Ferreira, Higuain.

    I did like that he pointed out #10's aren't what they used to be anymore. The central attacker at the top of a diamond isn't very common these days.

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