Revolution 2 Fire 0 - recap and ratings

It may not be time to write off the Fire's playoff chances but this loss makes the task all the more difficult. With an opportunity to move further away from New England and creep closer to the fifth spot  in the East, the Fire delivered a dud that dampens much of the excitement generated by a 7-2-3 record in the 12 matches coming into this one. Frank Klopas incorporated both new Designated Players Juan Luis Anangono and Egidio Arevalo Rios into the line-up with Chris Rolfe and Patrick Nyarko missing but they created little more than a ripple of hope en route to a second loss this season to the Revolution.

The playoff race in the Eastern Conference is close enough to assume that it will come down to the wire and every mistake, goal, missed opportunity, and key play will be magnified with the margin of error being razor thin. The Fire once again broke down as a team at the most inopportune time with Juan Agudelo getting behind the defense after a throw in to give New England the lead. With only eleven games remaining there is no more room for error. Time is running out and the road doesn't get any easier with Sporting Kansas City, Houston, and a trip to Seattle coming up in that order.

The Fire have not only never beaten Seattle but they're now sporting an inexplicably bad record of 0-9-2 on turf in their last eleven games on the fake stuff.

Player ratings

GK Sean Johnson (6) - Credited with 6 saves on the night but the Revolution weren't exactly peppering the goal with great opportunities. Victimized by Agudelo's chip on the first goal and white flag defending on the second.

D Gonzalo Segares (5) - Segares picked up a yellow card for a foul on Agudelo in the 36th that set up a free kick opportunity in a dangerous area. Lost a battle to Fagundez in the 77th that resulted in a shot on goal.

D Bakary Soumare (5) - A strong first half marred by the events of the second half and the conclusion of the match. Started an attack which resulted in a Revolution throw-in deep in their own defensive end in the 53rd. Soumare was the only defender who raced back to get into position to defend but Agudelo's chip crossed the line before he could clear it. Was shown a red card at the conclusion of the match for a senseless altercation with the New England trainer. He will miss the Sporting KC match on Friday.

D Austin Berry (4) - Like Soumare, he had a strong first half which was negated by failing to get back into position to adequately defend Agudelo's eventual goal scoring play. Caught ball watching as the Fire pushed for the equalizer and New England put the game away with a second goal.

D Jalil Anibaba (4) - The entire back line can be taken to task for both New England scores.

M Jeff Larentowicz (5) - Decent defensive effort but the Fire have zero creativity or offensive push from the middle of the pitch. An overall passing accuracy of 71% is just too low, especially when the other side is completing 82% and holding the ball for most of the match.

M Egidio Arevalo Rios (5) - Most observers were looking for the box-to-box game that was billed coming into the match but he spent the majority of the match in front of the defenders as Larentowicz pushed up higher. Kept the ball moving when it was at his feet but he was largely invisible as the destroyer while New England won the lion's share of the possession.

M Dilly Duka (4) - Two nice sequences with Magee early led to chances but his second half produced a flurry of turnovers and his bad miss of a pass in the 53rd led directly to the throw-in resulting in Agudelo's goal. The Fire needed more from Duka with Nyarko out and they didn't get it.

M Joel Lindpere (4) - Ineffective and silent for most of the night. If he's not serving a cross into the box he's not doing much else.

F Mike Magee (5) - Hit the post in the 18th and forced Reis into a save in the 27th. Almost found Duka at the far post in the 70th. It may be unrealistic to expect Magee to find some magic in every match and playing with Anangono as the lead forward pulled him too far away from the goal where he is most effective.

F Juan Luis Anangono (5) - His deflected shot led to Magee's post clanger and he managed to hit the woodwork himself in the 41st. On a night when attacking DP's in MLS made huge impacts Anangono showed he's still got some work to do.

M Alex (5) - Subbed in for Lindpere in the 63rd but didn't get much going either.

F Quincy Amarikwa (5) - Came in for Anangono in the 63rd and started the sequence which led to the Fire's last good chance in the 70th minute. Actually it didn't even get to the point of being a chance as Magee's pass missed Duka at the far post.

M Daniel Paladini (5) - Subbed in for Duka in the 73rd but New England had the lead and shut down any chance of a game tying sequence.

Comments

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  • I was pretty angry about this game until I heard that Soumare had been red carded and will miss the next match, which actually made me happy.

  • I'm overall very tired of Baky... He so often seems out of position or lackadaisical in defense and really seems to lack concentration.

    This is a fifth place team at best that didn't truly fill its needs in the transfer window. I'm not sure what we should have expected.

  • In reply to seaside:

    +100

    Baky is just waay to inconsistent and its not like he is young. I wonder how many goals were his fault this year. Two yesterday. There a reason Philly didn't want him. We always get reeled in at the trade deadline. Hoping that the Fire signed a good young player for a change ....but knowing in the back of your head they didn't. And they didn't. Angono is quite the physical specimen and his runs are nice .....but he's just not a finisher

  • In reply to MikeRUZE:

    I meant signing deadline not trade deadline. 90 minutes on a beautiful Saturday ill never get back

  • I don't see how this team as it is right now makes the playoffs especially with all the difficult games we have left. We lost to Philly and New England both twice in one season. That doesn't make you feel confident about beating Houston, KC, and Seattle. Yeah there will be a few good moments, but our passing and offensive creativity have been shit, and we've given up the first goal in 18 of or matches alone this year. Terrible. Meanwhile, we have very little youth playing and getting ready for the future of this club.

  • In reply to pezkoreaddict:

    It's a decent team right now. They didn't go 7-3-3 in their last 13 by accident. The problem is they dug themselves such a hole to start the season that they can't afford any duds now. Don't get me wrong, decent doesn't mean Cup contender, it just doesn't mean they're awful. Conversely, they're just good enough to frustrate with inconsistency.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Having conveniently dug said hole let us pray they don't miss the opportunity for landfill disposal of some inconvenient owners & personnel.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    The problem, imo, is that it's been years like this. The FO chooses not to fully stack the roster at the offset of the season, for whatever reason. The team doesn't quite produce enough, so they are forced to try to find another player or two (and without exception, they need a striker at mid season). It takes time to integrate the new players, and the team struggles during this transition. Then the team misses the playoffs or squeaks in and isn't good enough to advance.

    Rinse, repeat. It's just tiring to watch the organization commit the same mistakes year after year. Even us peons in the blogosphere see it clearly and yet those that are paid make the same mistakes over and over.

  • In reply to Drew:

    Can't say I disagree with any of that.

  • In reply to Drew:

    Well said.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    I agree, I actually think Rios and Anangono can make the team better but they need some time to get used to playing with the team. Unfortunately for this season, time is something we don't have. Unless some teams ahead of us have some breakdowns I don't think we'll make the playoffs. We should strive to start the season with a high caliber team, this wait until the transfer window opens business is nonsense. The transfer window signings should be for depth, signing key players in the transfer window is more like signing for next year and I think Rios is only signed for this season so that's not even a wait til next year signing.

  • In reply to john:

    Don't they have an option on Rios for next year?

  • In reply to Modibo:

    They do indeed have an option to buy on Rios' loan.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    They had an option for Grazzini too, how'd that work out?

  • In reply to john:

    That's what I was thinking too. Things may look a little less wonderful now he's on the inside and past the PR rush.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    "Conversely, they're just good enough to frustrate with inconsistency."

    Unfortunately, yes.

    Why do I feel like the drama is going to stretch until the very end of the season?

  • How is it that a more talented team "on paper" can be pressured all night long and be completely out of position the entire game? I can tell you. I honestly feel that they did not have a solid game plan and were totally unprepared. They were basically outcoached. The Revs took it to the Fire who panicked on the turf. The Revs had all the space in the world because the Fire's game plan was to counter attack. You cannot do that on turf and expect to win. You have to force turnovers which the Revs did time and again. The Revs dominated the midfield because the pressured up front forcing difficult passes. It was embarrassing. I really like Frank. I feel bad that he has been stuck with players that he has had to fill in waiting for reinforcements, but honestly, his game plans leave a lot to be desired. The team is unprepared from a strategy point of view every week. They need a new staff top to bottom. Front office, middle office, and coaching staff and broadcast booth. The only thing that doesn't need to be replaced is the grounds crew. The parking staff also needs to go. Frankly (no pun intended), I am really losing patience. I really have to think twice about renewing my season tix next year. There is no sign of commitment. This owner is a numbskull who thinks he knows what he is doing. He took one of the most successful franchises in the league and watched it implode. He is a disaster. The prior ownership gave this team a gift with Blanco and this owner did nothing with it except watch it wither away. Saturday night's game is what this team is really about - talent without proper coaching, support, and preparation.

  • Agreed, this roster is probably the strongest in several years, even before getting Magee, Rios, Soumare, and no go Anangono, the Fire was considered by many observers to be serious contenders for the playoffs. Actually, it is a much stronger team than at the start of the season. the loss of Rolfe and Nyarko hurt. If they were available there might have been a different result. But the counter attack plan doesn't work when your better counter attacking players aren't available.
    No team can win on talent alone without planning and coordination.
    The Fire despite their near .500 record haven't played one complete game from beginning to end. They have had narrow escapes,etc. but never outplayed any team from beginning to end all season.
    This team is one quality striker, one quality attacking midfielder, and one quality back from contending with any team in the league, but only if the team takes a new direction and under a different coach.
    The disorganization and lack of coordination on the field is nothing short of amazing this late in the season. The team has never jelled, some may say it's due to different lineups starting games, but other teams seem to work through issues of injuries and different starting lineups. The least the team could due is look good while losing instead of leaving a dump on the field. It seems like the Fire's slogan is" a job not worth doing is a job not worth doing well"
    We've saw enough different players come and go during the past two years with seemingly the same mediocre results. The team doesn't need anymore depth to the squad, they have a surplus of depth, except for defense, it meeds only three quality players and a new coach and a new change of attitude in the administration.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    Not having Nyarko is a big loss and the early season absence of Friedrich played a big part in the slow start. That being said, some of the criticism regarding Saturday's loss are certainly valid.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    Soumare has not strengthened the roster. We need more consistency and reliability out of that position. Maybe they could slide Anibaba back in there and use Pause at RB again. IDK, there's just always one screw up at least per game by Soumare or Berry and that's the game.

  • In reply to Bumsteer:

    I think the single biggest mistake of the season was letting Gargan go. Second was not signing another striker before the season started. But the first is more egregious considering he was already on the team and added needed D depth that really bit them in the arse when Friedrich was hurt.

    I think Soumare has improved the roster pretty substantially, but that's w/the consideration that Wells Friggin' Thompson was starting at RB w/out Soumare's presence.

    And while we are harping on the coaches and FO, I think we'd be smart to lay some blame on the players as well. Who knew b/f the season started Rolfe would be average at best, Berry would take a step back, Friedrich wouldn't play a minute, and Big Mac would come in fat and jolly as old st. nick? I'm right up there with getting down the on FO as i think they are the single biggest culprits in this mess, but many players are playing below par this year...just making a tough situation worse.

  • In reply to Drew:

    Throw Lindpere into that too. I think most agreed that was a good pick up.

  • Here's an example of a lapse in strategy: how many times did the Fire try to play the ball from the back versus sending the ball long? It was easily a 10-1 ratio. On turf when the ball bounces three times as high as on grass, SJ is sending the ball long every time (his distribution is bad enough on grass). You would think that they would take advantage of the turf by dribbling as much as possible. So what do we do? We send out possibly the slowest line-up we could muster (Lindpere Rios) and have them hang back and send in ridiculously fruitless long balls to no one that bounced harmlessly out of bounds. Our guys looked like high school kids. They could not hang onto the ball because they were told to hang back and send long flies for Magee and Anongono (Or OH No I Hate Turfo) to chase down. Pathetic. They might as well have had all of the guys form a wall on the goal line and take shots to the head all night. Here is what I would do with our players. I would sit Baky and make him think about his idiocy. I would play a 4 -5-1. I would start the rest of the usual suspects on the back line. I would start Duka, Rolfe, Nyarko, Magee, Peneda (the kid has to play) and Larentowicz in midfield, and Anongono up top. As soon as Anongono tires, send in Amirikwa. This team needs offense. What are they afraid of?

  • Doesn't the team have a practice turf field, they should train on it if they are going to play a team on turf. No excuse for such a poor record on turf. Agreed, they should play Pineda more often, instead of Alex or Lindpere who seems to have a decent game followed by a mediocre game. Would rather see Amarikwa start over Nogo, the only one who seemed to have any energy in the last game. They always could put Nyarko on defense, since he's the best defender we have anyway, at least we could get decent distribution from the back. Generally our possession time seems to suffer when he's not in. Possession time may be over rated but a 35-/65+ ratio is not a healthy one when you're on the 35- end.

  • Guys who ever let the big Mac play one single second as a professional should hold a ton of responsibility for the early games. I sat at the booster club luncheon looking at a player that had just been announced that looked like he had spent the evening or maybe the week in a gin mill. It is no mistake that the team was horrible with the big Mac leading the offense. If anyone knows who was responsible for that mistake please let us know. That person should never ever evulate potential players again. At least let paying customers know that the mistakes made in the past will not be repeated in the future and that the responsible party will not be part of the organization in the future. How many teams have paid the most money to the absolute worst player on the team. The big Mac must be laughing his but off at the idiots in Chicago that paid him over $500,000 for absolutely nothing.

  • Wish I had thought of this question last week for the podcast: "Where to the homegrown players fit into the gameplan?"

    An earlier comment gave me food for thought and it seems that the strategy is "playoffs at all costs." Do you think next year we might (hopefully) see an approach that would incorporate integrating homegrown players into the starting 11, more so than today?

    I'm feel like after the last 2 years, perhaps the focus should shift a little bit to put energy into building a foundation the incorporates the HG players more.

  • Looks like Sherjill MacDonald has found a home in the Belgian second division.....

    http://www.walfoot.be/fra/news/lis/2013-08-20/sherjill-macdonald-de-retour-en-belgique

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    They say that he's been picked up by a team with a former manager from SV Roulers / KSV Roeselare. I guess the guy saw something in him. Here's hoping it works out for him.

    I wonder what they're paying him?!?

  • Scott French's summary of what Robbie Rogers has brought to the Galaxy this season: "Some nice runs and combination play, a few crosses of varying success, a hint at absent dynamism."

    And more time in the training room to rehab:
    http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2013/08/21/robbie-rogers-returns-la-galaxy-fold-new-injury-could-set-him-back-few-weeks

    It's been said before, but I'll definitely take Magee's production with the Fire over what Rogers has brought the Galaxy.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    Forget Magee......Duka's been better than Rogers.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Yeah, he got a lot of stick when he first arrived, but I think he's grown into his role. He's legit now in my book.

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