Red Bulls 5 Fire 2 - recap and ratings

It looked like the Fire were going to stand toe to toe with the New York Red Bulls after an entertaining and open first half that ended level at one goal apiece. After DC United failed to get anything from Houston at home and the Crew fell to New England for the second consecutive week, the Fire needed at least a draw to qualify for postseason. A fiftieth minute goal that was credited to Ibrahim Sekagya gave New York the lead and started a chain reaction of collapse that resulted in Chicago missing the playoffs for the third time in the last four seasons.

While the loss is excruciatingly disappointing for Fire supporter's after a solid run since June 1, the team really has no one to blame but themselves for being in this position on the last day of the season. The slow start to the season combined with several lost golden opportunities to move up in the standings in the second half of the season eventually killed this team. While a 12-6-5 record since June 1 was the best in the league, it's apparent that there is a lot of work to be done before this club is a championship contender. Who will be in charge of coordinating those changes is the question.

In the meantime, the Fire are left to stew in the mire of missed opportunity. Montreal, a team stumbling it's way down the stretch has played terribly for months but has qualified for the fifth spot in the East. Not because Columbus couldn't beat New England or DC was bad enough to botch a draw against Houston but because the Fire couldn't put them away in September.

Remember Maxim Tissot?

Player ratings

GK Sean Johnson (5) - Any time five goals are scored you can't be ecstatic with the goalkeeping but Johnson shouldn't be blamed for the free-for-all that was the second half. With the Fire pressing for an equalizer and apparently panicked after going down 2-1, the Red Bulls converted a barrage of free looks into five scores. Johnson probably deserved better.

D Gonzalo Segares (4) - Like much of the entire team, Segares had a good first half blemished by a disastrous second. Failed to close down Sam on a counter attack and the New York midfielder sent Chicago into an all out panic with the Red Bulls third goal. Game over.

D Austin Berry (4) - Henry's goal was highlight reel worthy but Berry and Soumare failed to close him down allowing the veteran forward ample space to find the corner of the goal and tie the score.

D Bakary Soumare (4) - See above. Started strong early but as always there were shaky moments. In a game of this magnitude, allowing five goals is simply unacceptable.

D Jalil Anibaba (4) - Came up with one of the Fire's few chances in the second half when his shot was saved by Robles in the 57th. Passing at close to 50% efficiency is not good however. How does Dax McCarty get a free header leading to a goal from a free kick? Set piece defending, an issue all season was a problem here again.

M Egidio Arevalo Rios (5) - With the season on the line one would expect Chicago's Designated Players to make an impact. Rios wasn't bad but he failed to make  a significant contribution in the biggest game of the year. New York killed the Fire on counters in the second half and there was nothing done to stop it.

M Alex (5) - Like just about everyone else, there were some highlights in the first half with little to look at in the second. A few dangerous crosses and a handful of near misses on through balls were decent contributions.

M Patrick Nyarko (5) - He was effective leading attacks from the right side in the first forty-five but the Fire didn't get the ball to him nearly enough, especially considering Carney picked up a yellow card in the 37th. For some reason he was subbed out in the 61st effectively killing the Fire's best chance to attack New York from their weakest positions on the outside.

M Dilly Duka (6) - His long distance shot in the 6th minute was saved by Robles but the rebound fell to Magee who gave the Fire an early lead. He continued to generate chances with a 42nd minute shot that came inches from giving Chicago the lead again but Robles got enough of it to deflect it out for a corner kick. Inexplicably removed from the match in the 68th effectively killing any chance at a comeback.

F Mike Magee (6) - Converted on the rebound to score his 21st goal of the season thereby providing a glimpse of hope and justifying his status as the league's MVP. Questionable substitutions removing the Fire's playmakers from the match forced Magee deeper away from goal and allowed New York to focus on him. To rub salt in the wound for Magee and the Fire, Vancouver's Camilo scored a hat trick to win the Golden Boot race. The Fire's second half collapse shouldn't detract from the fact that he should be the MVP but it unfortunately probably will.

F Juan Luis Anangono (4) - With New York's DP's in big game mode, the Fire needed a strong performance from their Designated Player. They got just the opposite. Terrible touches, unforced give aways, holding onto the ball, and sub par passing squandered at least two good chances to give the Fire a second goal and a possible two goal lead. His botching of a clear 2v2 chance in the 24th minute led directly to Henry's goal on the counter. Anangono showed some promise in the last few weeks but this outing shows why you can't skimp on DP selections.

F Quincy Amarikwa (6) - Entered the game for Nyarko in the 61st when the correct move should have been for Anangono. Provided some spark, as he almost always does and even scored a consolation goal in stoppage time.

M Chris Rolfe (5) - Subbed in for Duka in the 68th and got two shots off but by then the horse was out of the barn.

M Joel Lindpere (5) - Replaced Segares in the 76th. Lost the ball in a 1v4 situation in the 77th in a play that ended with Alexander walking in alone on goal and scoring New York's fourth goal. Picked up a team leading 8th assist on Amarikwa's header from a corner kick.

What's next?

With the season over it's time to start looking at 2014. With that in mind, some of the long discussed front office changes should take effect soon. We're hearing that replacing President of Soccer Operations Javier Leon could be the first move.

Stay tuned to Fire Confidential....

Fire Confidential Podcast

Catch the postmortem on the latest episode of the Fire Confidential Podcast.

Filed under: 2013 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire

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  • fb_avatar

    Last night was a kick in the balls for the Fire and their fans. This morning we wake up with the old Cubs motto "Well, there's always next year". A lot of stuff needs to happen in the offseason and I'm looking forward to watching it closely to see how things transpire. Stay tuned folks, this could get bumpy.

  • I like Frank, but seriously he has to go. Those subs last night made absolutely no sense. Unless there were some injuries to Nyarko and Duka, I can't see why you would take your TWO MOST ACTIVE AND CREATIVE PLAYERS OFF THE PITCH?

    When you end the season with 8 points less than last year with arguably better talent, the coach has to bear some responsibility.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Roti2000:

    I agree about those subs last night. Left me scratching my head completely. Nyarko and Duka were playing well, I thought. All I could think was "Because.... Frank....."

  • In reply to Steve Sanders:

    I didn't agree with the subs, but I wasn't surprised at seeing Duka bounced again. Klopas has subbed him midway through the 2nd half nearly all season. Not sure if Duka isn't 90 min. fit, or if Klopas just thinks it's important to take out his wing guys for fresh legs, but either way, it was a silly move to take both he and Nyarko out of a game with these implications.

    Like GR eluded to, I found it more troubling to watch the paradox of DP's on the field between the two clubs. Henry and Cahill played like DP's. Rios didn't play horribly, but he was all alone with Alex pushing forward, so he had to cover a lot of ground.

    Anangono is exactly who I thought he was. He's a more active version of Sherjill MacDonald, who grossly underperformed in the goal scoring category while with the club, and who had his worst game of the season when it mattered most. That's not the kind of player you spend DP money on, yet Chicago rolled the dice again and came up lame in the target striker department. Not surprising, they'll keep swinging and missing so long as they don't make the move for a DP like a New York or LA.

    In this guy's opinion, NYRB yesterday is what you get when you have two proven, big name DP's, and a coach who knows how to lead them.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Jeff Krause:

    Hey Jeff, sooooo... Keane Money? LOL

  • In reply to Steve Sanders:

    No. Blanco money.

  • In reply to Steve Sanders:

    I didn't want to say the words, but...... lol

  • If they made it into the playoffs, it wouldn't even have mattered. The only trophy we can ever hope for is the Carolina Cup.

  • In reply to waamsy:

    Possibly not. As it stands, we are not in the Carolina Cup tourney next year.

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    Not even that next year. They'll be in Brandenton next spring. Won't participate in Carolina Cup.

  • I like Frank Klopas. He bleeds for the Fire and for Chicago.

    But he is not the ideal head coach.

    An ideal head coach gets the most out of his players and teaches them the intricacies of the mental aspects of the game, working on theory, formations, video, etc.

    In the time that Klopas has been head coach, it seems that he fails to get the best out of his players. He also fails to provide the right tactical formations, though I think he has grown a lot in the job in that regard.

    Contrary to what a lot of others seem to think, I think he has a good eye for talent and has good connections. Because of this, I would love for him to move back upstairs to a technical director's role. If we got a good head coach in there, not someone picked by him, I think we could get the points necessary out of the talent we have on the field to win. The talent is there, the direction simply lacks the extra bit necessary to get the job done.

  • The club's been spinning its wheels since losing the Eastern Conference Final to RSL in 2009. Something has to change and I'm looking forward to positive change and not change for the sake of changing something (which is what I've believe the club have done thus far). I hear Bob Bradley may be looking for work soon...

    I think the final kick to the jewels was getting home last night after heading out to drown my sorrows from the loss and seeing that my wife had brought in Saturday's mail complete with my tickets for the 2013 playoff games.

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    2009 was the last year this team was a threat and letting all those starters go midway through the year and at the end has been devastating. The Fire have never recovered.

  • Bradley isn't going to come back to MLS, folks.

  • No big surprise here, that Lindpere is probably gone but he has some interesting things to say about training.....

    http://www.bigapplesoccer.com/leagues/mls2.php?article_id=35506

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    I think this article confirms what everyone has been saying all year. The team was unprepared and as result the players were not on the same page. It was clear. Lindpere can say what he wants about starting or not, he was a disaster in the middle and there is no way he starts ahead of Duka and Nyarko. If he were 27 again and could run, maybe. But not with his current lack of pace. I do think he must be right about the coaching situation. The Fire need a proven coach who can install a game plan.

  • As far as MLS talent is concerned we have a better than average squad. We have the MVP on our team. Dangerous wingers but we still don't have that player that can create things. We have needed it for YEARS. Magee can only do so much. I would like to see him play as our attacking mid and get someone that can score a goal when we need it. We need klopas to go. If he loves this club so much, he would move upstairs or out altogether. He has been given good MLS sides and done nothing with them. Someone that has nothing to do with this club and can change things in here because we need it, badly.

  • Reports surfacing in Canada that Vancouver has fired Martin Rennie and he will be replaced by Frank Yallop.

    The Fire will have to look elsewhere for a new face apparently.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Isnt there a guy in the ESPN Presspass studios that's just sitting around? I know it sounds sacriligious to bring a former rival manager in, but he seems to know what he's doing.

  • In reply to waamsy:

    Some heads would explode if Steve Nicol was named manager of the Fire. ;)

  • I know this isn't popular opinion, but I would love for the club to bring in Eric Wynalda. He's had success w/ Atlanta, and everyone saw what he did with Cal FC in 2012 during USOC play.

    I think it's almost a guarantee that *IF* Frank loses the head coaching job (which I believe he will), he'll end up in the FO in some capacity. Personally, I'm ok with that.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    I have wanted Wynalda for a long time. I think he would like the job as well. If Frank gets moved upstairs, he should be given the job of greeter for the Club Seats/Boxes. Maybe that way when the fans start mocking Hauptman again, he can step in and say that that was meant toward him.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    Wynalda has been on the top of my list for some time (if not coach, what about President of Soccer Operations?). I think he would bring some fresh energy to the team. One thing for certain, press conferences would never be dull. I just don't think that AH would want someone with a strong opinion on the staff

  • Yes on Wynalda. Der Bademeister would bring us a title. I'm curious what his relationship with Frank is. I'm sure they spent time on the USMNT together. Did their Fire careers overlap as well?

  • In reply to Doug:

    Klopas and Wynalda are very good friends from what I understand.

  • Not sure I can imagine a FO with Wynalda while Hauptmann is still the owner.

    Who knows, maybe with Waldo blowing his stack every two weeks Hauptmann would have other things to think about and spend less of his time making up phantom hooligans to attack through his minions.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    I can't see Wynalda happening either.

  • I'd like to see someone (regardless if it is Klopas or not,) who will start rotating the reserve and academy players more into the lineup. Make them rise to the challenge. Colorado, RSL, DC, LA, Seattle- those are my cases in point.
    My lone examples: Videira vs KC away. Hunter vs KC at home.

  • Open tryouts December 6&7! Only $155 for the possibility to grab some bench space next to Bone, Pineda, Videria, Atouba, etc.

  • In reply to DerSting:

    Should be some bench spots available. I wouldn't be surprised if Atouba isn't the only one back out of those names.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Pineda too? That surprises me considering his age and all. Videira and Bone, not so much...particularly the latter.

  • In reply to Drew:

    I believe his initial 4 year deal is up and he may look to Mexico for an oportunity.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Interesting. Oh we'll, doesn't seem like much of a loss at this point.

  • Lots of FO changes it sounds like via twitter. Klopas fired. Petrei demoted and likely out soon too.

    It's time for a change, this is good. Lets see if AH can successfully put a FO together. It's on him now, no more excuses.

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