Sporting KC 2 Fire 1 - recap and ratings

Not this time.

The Fire dug too big a hole against an opponent that was too good to blow a lead and the club's nine game unbeaten run in all competitions has come to an end. One loss to Sporting Kansas City shouldn't be overblown as a harbinger of doom that signals the undoing of every positive step taken over the last several weeks but there are warning signs that shouldn't be ignored.

The most glaring problem is the continued lack of discipline and inability to defend second balls on set pieces. Once again the Fire fell behind early because of that issue and in this instance they weren't able to recover. Benny Feilhaber found a seam near the top of the box after Kei Kamara was able to step in front of Bakary Soumare to deflect the ball in his direction. The shot was well taken but this type of occurrence has happened all too often this year to chalk it up as just a well placed attempt.

The second area of concern surrounds the level of play in the second half. The energy and effort of attackers to maintain pushing for an equalizer dropped dramatically when Chris Rolfe and Patrick Nyarko were subbed out for Sherjill MacDonald and Joel Lindpere. Forward Mike Magee, who was named to the MLS All-Star team earlier in the day addressed the lack of urgency with the some choice words during a post game interview. Sporting Kansas City slowed the pace of the game down to a crawl in the second half but the Fire seemed to play into their hands with the insertion of MacDonald and Lindpere. Perhaps Maicon Santos would have been a better choice to pair with Magee if a change needed to be made.

Either way, Sporting deserves credit for coming into Toyota Park and earning a victory by jumping out early. The Fire learned they still have work to do.

Player ratings

GK Paolo Tornaghi (5) - Caught a bit flat footed on Zusi's "cross" that ended up in the back of the net but otherwise he was okay although he didn't register one save. KC had 11 attempts and only two were on frame. They scored on both. Check out his post game comments here.

D Jalil Anibaba (5) - Gave up way too much time and cushion to Zusi on the left side of the penalty area enabling the most dangerous player on the opposition to float a mishit cross into the net past Tornaghi.

D Bakary Soumare (5) - The partnership in the middle is still a work in progress but some of the issues on set piece defending starts in the middle with opposition being able to get to way too many balls in the penalty area. Passing out of the back also needs to improve at some point.

D Austin Berry (5) - There were some good moments - like consecutive blocked shots in the 59th minute but there are still too many shaky moments as well. The back line still needs to tighten up. Catch his post game comments at the Fire Confidential Facebook page.

D Gonzalo Segares (6) - Picked up a yellow for a bit of a phantom foul and will miss the next match in Vancouver. Decent day against KC's dangerous outside attackers.

M Patrick Nyarko (5) - May have still been suffering from the tight hamstring a bit since he didn't appear as explosive as he usually is. Came out of the match in the 71st and that brought the attack to a screeching halt with little creativity on the pitch.

M Jeff Larentowicz (5) - The Fire's midfield was simply outplayed in the second half. Unable to maintain possession and provide much of a link going forward - this is more a reflection of a team effort than any individual lack of performance. The first half showed some bite, but the second was toothless. Headed the ball forward that led to Magee's goal.

M Alex (4) - Really provided little other than several turnovers during the first 45 minutes and was quickly shown the bench at the half.

M Dilly Duka (5) - Active during the first half but disappeared in the second as the Fire found it difficult to regain possession.

F Chris Rolfe (6) - I thought he played reasonably well in the first half which makes the move for MacDonald in the 61st even more perplexing. Almost scored in the 10th with a shot after a loose ball came to him from a corner but Nielsen came up big to deny him. Almost beat Nielsen again in the 18th when a pass from Duka sent him in 1v1 only to have the goalkeeper get a finger on the shot to deflect it wide for a corner kick.

F Mike Magee (6) - Scored his 5th goal for the Fire in league play tying him for the league lead with Marco Di Vaio. Visibly frustrated on the pitch during the second half and his post game comments didn't hide that. His calm finish to get the Fire back into the match displayed his class and distaste for losing showed why many think he should be wearing the arm band.

F Sherjill MacDonald (4) - Entered the match for Rolfe in the 61st and contributed 2 offsides calls and a pass to no one in the 67th.

M Joel Lindpere (4) - Subbed in for Nyarko in the 71st. Only real highlight was a pass to Duka in the 87th that set up a half chance. Made the Fire easy for KC to defend down the stretch with immobility.

M Daniel Paladini (4) - Bringing in Paladini for Alex to start the second half was the right move but the red card was well deserved. An unnecessary, ugly tackle from behind will take him out of the mix in Vancouver.

Fire Confidential Podcast

Catch the latest episode of the Fire Confidential Podcast right here or on the right rail. We're talking about this loss, the transfer window, and some guy named Forlan. Will the Fire make a significant move this July?

Reserves in action

The Fire Reserves are back on the Toyota Park practice field this Monday at 10am against the New York Red Bulls.

Next Up

A mid week friendly against Club America where we're likely to see more of those reserves.


Filed under: 2013 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • According to Dilly Duka's twitter, left back Shaun Francis is joining the Fire. Francis impressed during USOC play with the Charlotte Eagles and he has MLS experience with Columbus from 2010-2012.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Shaun Francis= Diego Forlan

  • In reply to MikeRUZE:

    At least we now have an idea what leagues they're scouting for that proven striker.

  • Reserve game this morning was postponed for a later date due to severe weather.

    Line up would have been:
    GK Kann
    D Videira, E. Vasquez, Y. Cuesta, Jumper
    M Bone, Paladini, Thompson, Lindpere
    F Amarikwa, Santos

    Bench: J. Myall, M. Pineda, C. Fernandez, V. Pineda, Atouba, King, MacDonald

  • How about giving Mackie his walking papers and getting Matt Eliason on loan from GE Capital?

  • In reply to Roti2000:

    I think someone did start an #EliasontoCF97 hashtag this Satuday.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    How about Eliason's teammate, Malouda? Probably asking for too much money, but he is unattached right now.

  • In reply to Roti2000:

    Interesting but may not be worth the dollars he's likely to ask for in MLS.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    On the topic of unattached, 33 year old, former Chelsea midfielders there is also Benayoun.

    Most of the talk has been West Brom for him, but I did see at least one mention that he was considering MLS.

    Also, Forlan denied the Toronto move today. (We'll see what happens tomorrow, though!)

  • In reply to Roti2000:

    I would be underwhelmed by Benayoun but then again at least it would show a willingness to shoot higher than the MacDonald's of the world.

    Seems Tim Leiweke told Grant Wahl that TFC is "looking hard at major DP" and talk to a half dozen others. I suspect the Forlan drama isn't over yet.

  • so is this going to be an underwhelming transfer window for #cf97? and besides looking at defense, are they actually looking attacking players or do they have to wait until the off season so "deep dish" macdonald, "hunchback" lindpere, and fernandez comes off the books?

  • In reply to penapirata:

    They're going to add an attacker it just probably won't be a big recognizable name. Fernandez is essentially off the books now.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    great, possibly another puppo 2.0?

  • GR, your rating for Tornaghi is way too high. His atrocious positioning on Zusi's goal is unacceptable for a professional goalkeeper. He is responsible for making sure those types of balls don't get behind him. His lame comments afterwards about needing to see the video before making an analysis are a farce. He knows he messed that one up and he ought to own up to it.

  • GR, what do you think the ramifications will be of Magee's comments about the team's lack of desire? He was quoted on and was pretty critical of the team's lack of hustle and its willingness to sit back and not attack. I agree with him 100% but wonder how this will be received by Frank and the team.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    They should listen to what he had to say. He was right.
    As far as negative ramifications in the locker room....I doubt a riff develops it that's what you're asking.

  • Malouda would be nice! There was talk about Drogba to MLS again and not to LA or Redbulls. My guess would be NYCFC, for the Fire to be in the hunt we would need new ownership first.

  • In reply to john:

    Drogba would cost mega bucks ($5 mill plus) so you can probably cross that one off the list.

  • if andrew won't pay keene like money, as it sounds he is uninterested in paying at this point, why did he say that? has he had a change of heart? was he lying? doesn't he realize it'd create a pr problem?

  • In reply to Drew:

    by the way, at this point i'd be looking for an attacking/creative mid rather than a striker (if i had to choose). i know it's probably harder to find, but all else being equal i think that's the biggest need right now.

  • Re: Sunday, a few observations/questions for the peanut gallery

    1- Rolfe 2013 missed one, and perhaps two, potential goals that Rolfe 2012 would have sunk... I certainly don't want to go negative on such a class act, and such a key figure in Fire-dom over the years, but... that hurt. On the upside, he showed great movement both on and off the ball (as evidenced by the dearth of any real movement after he was subbed out).
    2- What was MacD doing out there? Please tell me that Frank is hoping for a good showing to help him market the guy or something (although doing so in a key match like this is...)? How many times do we need to see him out there proving his game (such as it is...) doesn't translate to the MLS? Especially when we have a number of other very intriguing options (including some speedsters, which could have really helped in the heat on Sunday?)
    3- Did the ever-consistent Toledo red card our entire midfield at the start of the 2nd half, and I just missed it? Not sure we saw more than 2 passes strung together until the very end... absolutely NO movement through the middle third for most of the 2nd half. We're not going to get far outright conceding the midfield.
    4- Speaking of the end - I'm with Magee 100% - where was the sense of urgency? I understand it was hot (even in the shade, I was baking out there), and folks have been forced to play a brutal course of consecutive matches, but come on...
    5- Magee for armband, Magee for MVP, Magee for President.
    6- Set pieces, 2nd balls, yada yada yada... what is going on here? This one little improvement would dramatically alter the course of the season thus far.
    7- I seem to recall several instances of an empty back post on corners and other deep presses up front. I'm certainly no expert, but I do know that in at least two of those instances, having someone there would have given us great chances.
    8- Duka. Badass. 'Nuff said.
    9- Lindpere was the exact opposite of what we needed. The guy brings something to the game, no doubt (although DP worthy, perhaps not) - but not at all what we needed at that moment. Odd call by Frank that I am struggling to understand.

    The Big Question: Transfer window open, silly season begins... give us some rumors!!!

  • A few interesting takes on the Fire's standing in terms of a big market club with small market resources. In this Daily Herald article, Alexi Lalas says the Fire need "to go big" in the transfer market.....

    And in this Philly Soccer Page piece, the Fire are clumped in as a small market club.....

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