DC United 2 Fire 0 - USOC disappointment

In a bitterly disappointing result for supporters and the entire organization, the Fire failed to earn an opportunity to play for a fifth US Open Cup title. A 2-0 loss to a DC United side that had not won once on the road against MLS competition all season exposed some of the reasons why the Fire are where they are right now and left searching for answers.

Once Patrick Nyarko left the match in the 36th minute with what Frank Klopas called a "head injury" the Fire seemed to lose any of the spark that they had offensively. The loss of their main playmaker disrupted the dynamic and the flow of the attack and Joel Lindpere was not able to replace what Nyarko was providing up to that point. Nyarko's absence exposed and made abundantly clear that the club is still missing a facilitator in the middle of the pitch who is capable of coordinating an attack and providing service from anywhere other than the wings. Alex is serviceable in that role but nothing more.

The second, and probably most concerning issue brought to light again in this game is the team's propensity for digging themselves into a hole by virtue of consistently allowing "soft" goals. This time it was Sean Johnson who lost a battle with Luis Silva for a relatively harmless looking ball in the air. "He got in a position where he could challenge. I probably should have just punched through it. I thought I could collect it but I think he got a good jump and there was a little bit of contact, maybe him hitting me and the ball at the same time. Credit to him. I should have punched it away," said Johnson after match. Dwayne De Rosario collected the loose ball and rounded Johnson to give DC the lead just before the half.

The visitors came out as the aggressors to start the second half and a good individual effort from Nick DeLeon to beat several Fire defenders in the 48th minute sealed the deal on a deflected shot that got past Johnson. DC was able to tighten their defense from there and the Fire had no answer until a few close calls late almost made it interesting. Austin Berry had a shot cleared off the line and against the post in the 78th and Quincy Amarikwa found himself on the end of a Lindpere cross in the 84th that was also cleared from the line.

"It's frustrating. It was the same this past weekend and this one. Not just the first one but the second one was a deflection that goes right in near post," said Gonzalo Segares. "We have to lift our heads up and get ready for Saturday because that's another important game."

The Fire can focus now on the regular season and attempting to qualify for the playoffs. At this point, it's all they've got. And for that really, the Fire have no one to blame but themselves.

Notes

  • Check out Segares' comments at the Fire Confidential Facebook page
  • The Fire's next opponent, Montreal defeated San Jose 1-0 in CONCACAF Champion's League play tonight
  • Juan Luis Anangono made his debut playing 33 minutes
  • Real Salt Lake defeated Portland 2-1 to advance to the USOC final on October 1

Comments

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  • Hey G,
    While watching last night's game, I noticed a common problem among the Fire players. When the ball was passed, too many times I saw Fire players wait for the arrival of the ball or take one or two steps back to make trapping easier. This allowed DC to recover and slowed the Fire offensive attack. Fire players need to step into the pass and then trap. This fundamental flaw is one reason why the Fire had no quickness in their attack.

  • The cup was the only realistic chance the team had at a title this season. You can reasonably expect them to come out with a little more fire in the belly than they did. I have to take exception with Frank's statement on the amount of effort for the game. The self billed "Kings of the Cup" sure did not play like they wanted the title.

    I agree attacking mid is pretty much non existent. I can only hope that after watching this game, Hauptmann will wake up and smell the coffee.

  • In reply to DerSting:

    Attacking mids are usually non existent in a flat 4-4-2 that the Fire are playing with now. You cant have one guy be the only defensive minded midfielder or your team will get passed of the field. I have never liked the 4-4-2 formation because most teams play with 3 in the middle and when you have more people in the middle you have a better chance of controlling the match. 4-4-2 is basically screaming for a long ball game which is what we were doing yesterday. Playing long balls into Magee and Rolfe is not a very smart idea. DC made us look really bad yesterday. We underestimated them and they pounced on our mistakes. Klopas looked out matched tonight. Replacing Nyarko with the Estonian Blanco killed our team. I would have liked him to put in the DP and move Rolfe out wide. Duka is a real gem for this team. I wish we would have made a better showing last night. Its too bad we didn't.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    You're right...there aren't many of those prototypical #10's who play at the top of the diamond any more. They could use a two-way midfielder who can facilitate an attack if they're going to play in a flat 4-4-2.

    For all of Alex's on the ball skill, he is a horrific passer. Service and creativity is too often a black hole of non existence from the center of the pitch when the wings are shut down.

  • In reply to DerSting:

    If he hasn't smelled the coffee by now, I don't think he's got a nose.

  • In reply to DerSting:

    Andy only wakes up to practice the sales pitch and smell the money.

  • One can only hope that the club seemingly doubling down on young signings will pan out eventually. The current squad lacks the ability to be consistent enough to do damage in the playoffs, IF they squeak in again as they did last year.

    A run of possibly missing the playoffs for 3 of the last 4 years, and no trophies, certainly smacks as the opposite of "building the club from the ground up," when every trophy the club has hoisted in its history came before the current ownership was in place.

    The alternate reality that exists in how this team is assembled and run is wearing thin, as evidenced further by Tweed Thorton's DP piece on HTIOT this week. The club is treading dangerously close to Toronto FC territory, where they are going to begin losing long time fans because of poor FO decision making and turning a blind eye to reality.

    Results speak. Lack of results speaks louder.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    It's already there Jeff. The Fire have lost many long time fans already. I live with a few, and my friends were some. They stopped watching after 2011, thats two years ago. And that was after 2-3 years of senseless front office moves already. How many more years of this do we have to endure before there is nobody left. We're not dangerously close to TFC, we are just like them.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    "The club is treading dangerously close to Toronto FC territory..."

    I can see what you are saying. The mentality can lead to acceptance of mediocrity.

    New DP signing? "Meh. We'll see how that works out first."
    How's the team look this year? "We'll see."

    Danger, Will Robinson. Danger.

  • If I didn't have this circle of support on this site, I may have been gone a long time ago as well.

  • A team can't have winning seasons season after season without several blips. However there is a difference between a team that plays interesting and a degree of competitive soccer and one that continues to lose by consistently playing inferior soccer.
    Last night it looked like there were 11 guys on the field listening to i-pods, each one listening to a different tune.
    This was a team at the start of the season, before getting Magee and Sourmare, while not competitive with the top teams still looked
    like a playoff team. The talk back then was what the team could do
    to bring them to the top level, looked like one or two skilled players could do that.
    If someone told you that Magee and Soumare would be coming to the team, it would seem the Fire would have a lock on the playoffs.
    At this point, there is serious doubt about making the playoffs.
    It's a team that seemingly has more than several quality players but yet failed to meld into a cohesive unit, both on offense and defense.
    As yet the Fire hasn't played a quality game from beginning to end
    this season.
    The lack of competitive spirit and quality of play last night is alarming, if they can't get it up for the Cup game that has so much
    importance to the team legacy, then the season is pretty much of a loss. A team can have a bad game here and then, but occasionally one would expect to see a well played game. Having a team this badly confused and disorganized this late in the season reflects
    on both the players and coaching staff with major improvements
    needed in both areas

  • Guys klopas and Leon should have been history years ago. Can you imagine what the team would be like if they had porter as coach?the Mls is at a point where a guy like klopas that NEVER coached an outdoor game in his life should never be considered as head coach. Honestly klopas thought that the Big Mac had all the qualities to be a top line forward in the league. That in it self is reason enough to send him off to Greek town.

  • There is nothing young and up and coming on this team. Maybe Sean Johnson he may lack the soccer IQ to go to Europe so maybe a lifer. Austin Berry and Anibaba are serviceable but will never be MLS best 11. Duka maybe and Nyarko. There's a lot of bad contracts though. Pause, Lindpere, Soumadre,Thompson, Laurentowicz, and I'd hate to say it because I like the guy but Rolfe also. Also, Alex is not starter material for this league.At least so far this year. Where's all the prospects from the academy should have produced something by now. LA homegrown players get minutes ours just get hype. The only reason I keep my tickets are because thy are good seats and my family also has them. If they pull the plug so will I.

  • In reply to MikeRUZE:

    Where's all the prospects from the academy should have produced something by now. LA homegrown players get minutes ours just get hype.

    This right here is it, folks. It's sad that we've got what should be such a fertile territory for soccer talent, and we haven't given a single first-team minute to a home-grown player yet.

  • I took a half day vacation yesterday (I live in Peoria) so my family and I could have an outing and, hopefully, a Fire victory before one goes back to school and the other to start a new job. It appears I wasn't the only one on vacation.
    Great intensity to start, then not much later. The team didn't seem to have a plan for what to do in the second half. Lots of lost passes. Frustrating night.
    The Fire should remember if they promote Kings of the Cup, it is because they earned it, not because it was given to them.

  • Isn't today the end of the transfer window... I'm sure well be getting our Keane or Dempsey today. Surely Nazarit 2.0 isn't it

  • In reply to MikeRUZE:

    It is indeed the close of the transfer window.

    There is some scuttlebutt about the Arevalo Rios deal being back on but that would just be plain.....bizarre.

    Stay tuned.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Well recently the Fire do have a knack for taking on expensive players in positions they don't need or just overpaying for players who won't help in general

  • The lack of academy players and serviceable depth on the bench has been troublesome for years. Hell, look at the minutes all the first 11 have on the pitch. They are being run down to the ground. Every good team out there can rotate players in and out now and then and not lose a step. I think this also shows we have no plans for the future either. Expect more band-aid patch seasons to try and fix a sinking ship.

  • In reply to pezkoreaddict:

    It's the Sunderland guy who's running the Academy. They get their better players from other clubs, not develop them. But with so many clubs bought or added to the umbrella, we should be seeing more players come through and make it to the roster.

  • In reply to Bumsteer:

    Yeah, where they will keep the other signed academy players company on the bench when they won't see a sniff of playing time either.

  • So they DID sign Rios after all? I read that this happened, is this true?

  • In reply to john:

    Yes. Announcement should be made shortly.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Huh! I thought they threw in the towel with the Fire page headline about the White (flag?) Party.

  • fb_avatar

    No announcement yet, but he's in the building: http://bit.ly/14CdW96

  • A lot more on Rios coming up shortly......

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Hmm.

    It would be nice to have a d-mid who could make a forward pass, but I thought Laurentowicz was ok and an upgrade over Pause. Also at 31 might not be able to cover groind d-mids are supposed to. It's one of the positions besides winger that its hard to hide age at.
    Also with Pause, Laurentowicz , and Rios that's Waaaaaaaaaay to much salary to be tied up at a position you can get cheaply.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTyRBAqIx2A

    He looks like he's got very good vision of the field, and can pick out that pass.. but he also looks stocky and less pacy than most MLS attackers. We will have to see..

  • http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2013/08/after-long-negotiations-uruguayan-world-cup-veteran-arevalo-rios-excited-join-chicago-fire

    Now they have to clear a roster spot so he can play.

    How many international spots sit languishing on the bench?

    Nice using that spot for a depth position on a left back a few weeks ago.

    Gotta love foresight and a solid long term plan.

    Hope Rios works out, but wow. If there was an ESPY for most ineffective front office and coaching staff, the Fire would be in the running.

    I wonder if the performance it the cup changed a few minds up top.

  • In reply to DerSting:

    Doubt it.

    Why don't they just cut Francis or Alex and clear up a inlt spot immediately.

    Will Rios be available tomm since Nyarko is out with a "cuncussion". Must have been quite a knock he took. His Head got hit So hard it made his left left hurt cause from where I was sitting it look like he hobbled off nursing his left leg.....

  • In reply to MikeRUZE:

    Roster cut deadline for semi-guaranteed deals was July 1. They'd be on the hook and lose dollars and more importantly budget space if they cut either one. They'd gain nothing by cutting them and by rule they just can't simply dump them for the spot.

    Rios is not available tomorrow.

  • Not much to add than what everyone else has said, but wanted to voice my displeasure with this team.

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