Both teams came into this match with identical 0-1-1 records and plenty of room for improvement. This game wasn't artful by any means but the result was probably a fair one. New York enjoyed a possession advantage but the Fire had the better of the chances from the run of play. After an early sixth minute goal from Jeff Larentowicz it only took New York fifteen minutes to find an equalizer. A loose ball after a scrum in the box following a corner kick led to the Red Bulls tally.
Toyota Park's pitch is heated but cold temperatures over the last two days still made the playing surface hard and difficult to play on. The Fire went away from the intended game plan and preferred style of play moving the ball on the ground in favor of more balls in the air in order to avoid mistakes. The conditions showed in the overall passing numbers with the Fire only completing only 71 percent of their passes. New York was more successful at 77%.
There weren't many questions answered but it seemed neither side was particularly upset with the point. The Fire are still lacking something in the final third and New York still seems to be a step behind last year's form. Not a surprise in either case but there's a long way to go.
GK Sean Johnson (6) - Really not tested with many good chances but did collect three saves. Fans got free milk, so there's that.
D Matt Watson (6) - He was actively involved in support but struggled with Johnny Steele for a good portion of the first half. The second half was better as Watson showed that he will be a valuable utility man this season with god outings in midfield and at right back. Stepped up in a couple of 1v1's against Henry and a cross or two ended up in dangerous spots.
D Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (6) - Offensively, New York did not have many good looks despite a considerable edge in possession. The entire back line did a commendable job of holding Henry and Cahill at bay.
D Bakary Soumare (6) - A second consecutive solid effort after the disaster against Chivas USA.
D Greg Cochrane (6) - Stepped in for the injured Gonzalo Segares and there was no downgrade on the left side. In fact, Cochrane contributed on both ends. Faced New York's best midfielder through the first three games in Lloyd Sam and held his own. Set up Shipp with a good look in the 35th.
M Jeff Larentowicz (5) - Scored the Fire's lone goal on a header in the 6th minute but softly side footed a ball right to Dax McCarty after a scrum from a corner kick. Larentowicz has been adequate but the Fire consistently lose the possession battle as it seems a 4-4-2 will be more effective than a 4-1-4-1 with him alone ahead of the defenders.
M Alex (5) - With Larentowicz in a more defensive role in the run of play, Alex has to be more involved in pushing the ball in order for the Fire to be more effective going forward. He was good in spurts today and had the best chance of the second half for either side but he was denied by Robles in the 47th minute after a give and go with Amarikwa. The game plan may have called for dropping back a little deeper with Henry and Cahill on the pitch.
M Benji Joya (5) - Still looks to be feeling out the outside position but he appears to be close to breaking through more positively. Both of his shot attempts were off the mark.
M Harry Shipp (6) - His service from set pieces is better than anything the Fire have had in several years. Consistently lays balls into good positions from restarts and the run of play. Still learning as Magee was clearly directing him into position throughout the match but his arrow is pointing way up. His technical ability and passing skill is going to make him very dangerous.
F Quincy Amarikwa (5) - Active as always but not a whole lot in this game in terms of real chances.
F Mike Magee (5) - In his first action of the season there may have been some rust but there were still a couple of looks that could have gone better. His shots were blocked in the 49th and 73rd before they could reach Robles.
F Juan Luis Anangono (5) - Entered the match for Shipp in the 66th. Had a good look in stoppage time but waited to long to pull the trigger and New York defenders recovered to easily deny him.
M Victor Pineda (5) - Made his long awaited regular season debut coming into the game in the 71st for Joya. A short free kick pass to Watson from a dangerous area just outside of the penalty area in the 86th was easily read and denied by New York defenders.
At DC United on Saturday night. DC is off to an 0-2 start after losing to Toronto FC 1-o this weekend.