Fire 1 Revolution 1 - recap and ratings

Incredibly, the Fire have mangled two stoppage time penalty kick attempts in each of the last two home games. The result of those two misses are two frustrating draws and four dropped points at home against Eastern Conference opponents.

The numbers are similar to the slanted advantages of last week. Possession was 52-48 to the Fire (it was 65-35 at the half), shots attempted were in favor of the Fire by a 17-4 margin, passing was at 75%, and clear cut chances were heavily in the home team's favor. Yet somehow they managed to tie Colorado's MLS record for consecutive draws with six. They're well on their way to challenging their own MLS record of 16 in a season.

This game can be dissected in many ways. Questionable calls will be argued. Decisions will be questioned. Missed chances will be looked back on with regret. One thing is certain. The Fire just haven't been good enough through seven games to win consistently.

What they have been is just good enough to draw in agonizing fashion.

Player ratings

GK Sean Johnson (6) - Only faced four attempts on goal and registered two saves. Wasn't required to do much but his distribution was a touch better. The PK was New England's best chance.

D Greg Cochrane (6) - Sene had nothing going on from the Revolution's right side. Only real negative was getting beat by Bunbury on one play in the 87th, solid otherwise.

D Bakary Soumare (6) - New England had nothing going on up the middle. Soumare even got involved offensively, earning a corner kick with an impressive one time side volley in the 79th. A few bad passes mixed in.

D Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (6) - Bunbury and the New England attackers were seldom heard from or seen in dangerous positions. Soumare/Hurtado combination played a very good game.

D Lovel Palmer (5) - Had some issues with Alston getting behind him in the first half. One 40 yard blast on goal in the 53rd was struck well high of the target. Fagundez was relatively invisible however.

M Harry Shipp (6) - A fantastic pass to Amarikwa in the 16th showed his remarkable vision and ability to produce chances. He also dribbled through the defense in creating another chance that probably should have put the Fire up 2-0 in the 27th.

M Jeff Larentowicz (6) - The Fire bossed the midfield and won the possession battle (52-48) for most of the match. Larentowicz had a shot blocked in the 27th that resulted in a corner kick and his rebound attempt of Anangono's pk was blocked. Started the play that led to the Fire's goal with a take away on Fagundez. Larentowicz said after the game that Anangono wanted to take the kick but it's up to him as the captain to call him off. Check out video of his comments here. "Juan steps up and grabs the ball and that's just what happened," said Larentowicz. "As captain and as the one who's made a penalty this year, I should take the ball and take the penalty. That's on me, not Juan."

M Alex (6) - Active in combination before leaving in the 38th with an apparent hamstring injury.

M Patrick Nyarko (6) - Tormented Revolution defenders throughout the entire match. His shot in the 27th was saved but could have been a second score. Crosses were dangerous and earned several corner kicks. The one downside was the unfortunate inadvertent contact against Alston in the 30th which referee Sorin Stoica felt was worthy of a penalty kick.

F Mike Magee (5) - Not as involved as he should have been with the Fire controlling large portions of this match. Did not register a shot on goal and only had 59 touches. Hit the post on the sequence leading to the PK.

F Quincy Amarikwa (6) - Scored a quality goal displaying strength and speed to give the Fire the lead and continued his high work rate to create another chance or two. His day was marred by two controversial yellow cards. The first was issued for diving. There was contact on the play but there was also some embellishment. The second was issued for a foul that looked worse than it was. There may have in fact been little or no contact but coming in aggressively with a high boot will always draw the referee's attention. Amarikwa is hoping the red card is rescinded allowing him to play in the next match.

M Matt Watson (5) - Honest work as usual but the Fire lose a bit offensively when he replaces Alex on the pitch in the middle.

M Victor Pineda (6) - Came into the match late for Nyarko and his shot led to the penalty kick. Alston blocked the rebound chance with his arm leading to a red card and a penalty opportunity. Pineda was inches away from being the hero.

F Juan Luis Anangono (4) - Entered the match in the 70th minute for Shipp. Largely silent for 20 minutes before his rebound attempt from Magee's shot was cleared off the line by Alston. His penalty kick attempt was horribly and weakly taken. Anangono said after the match that the decision to take it was his.

Up next

A bye week, a couple of reserve matches, and a lot of uncomfortable stewing before Real Salt Lake comes to Toyota Park on May 3. RSL defeated Portland 1-0.

Comments

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  • I am somewhat new to soccer but am still surprised the players decide who takes the penalty shot. Seems to me that this would be the coaches decision in order to avoid any petty spats and insure the best person takes the shot. Letting the players "sort it out" isn't a very good answer.

  • In reply to billj:

    It's just one of many ways in which soccer is notably different from our major sports in America.

    But your observation touches on what I've been thinking about since the ambulance left with the stinker of yesterday's gaff. When Anangono stepped up to the take the penalty I had the same sinking sensation I experienced when Magee stepped into similar circumstances. Both times I knew immediately it was completely the wrong person to take the shot. Both Magee and Anangono are struggling to some degree to get their season going right. They both reacted to the opportunity from an almost frantic desire/need to step into and post a great moment, be the hero, and turn theirs and the Fire's season around. Yet the crying need was for a cool head to step in and calmly nail the win.

    But there was no one on the pitch with the leadership qualities to step up and say "No! Player X is going to take this." This team needs to find their leader and stop acting on random acts from the emotionally motivated player of the moment.

    Jeff Larentowicz seems a bit timid in the captain's role. I'm not sure why. He seems to me the best candidate regularly on the pitch. He has the wisdom of experience and appears to stay emotionally under control. Perhaps he still feels a bit the newcomer. But I would trust him to make those calls on the pitch. I think he needs to make up his own mind that he's just going to do it and live with the team's response. I hope he has now realized this and takes the bit. His team needs a leader and he's wearing the "it" armband!

  • In reply to Arklow:

    There are some things European soccer does better than American soccer, but this is a decision American sports wouldn't screwup. Even Peyton Maning has a check. Letting the players decide - or in this case not decide - is a recipe for a second string striker with fifteen minutes on the pitch deciding he is going to shoot. But, maybe in the long run it forces players to take ownership of the team and the results. It seems to me they are at the crossroads and are being tested.

  • In reply to billj:

    Different teams decide on who takes PKs in different ways. I've been coaching for over 30 years and I have always designated the players who take the PKs on my teams. The guy taking the kick knows in advance that this is his job and it eliminates any foolish discussions between the players in crunch-time situations.

  • In reply to StaryByk3:

    Agreed. My team always knew who the PK takers were. When the situation arose, they would look to me on the sideline, and I'd tell them who I wanted taking the kick, but it was always one of two guys. JLA wanting to get off the bubble with his first goal was a selfish move, IMO. No reason for him to have taken it, DP or not.

  • *It's starting to look pretty bad in the land of mike magee. whether it was the contract issue, the pressure of the mvp, or the early injury (or likely a combo) - it's obvious that he is really struggling to make an impact. Any team that essentially trades in its mvp for a league average player is going to have some problems.
    *What's with the Fire's karma that it has, within a couple of years, tied the record for ties in a season and then most ties in a row in MLS history? I sincerely would rather they suck or be really good, I can't stand mediocrity.
    *I don't think Yallop had any options considering the state of the franchise that he inherited, but looks like the Fire are reaping what they sow yet again with no big off season signings to boost the squad from day 1. We'll see what they can manage this summer.
    *Like Arklow, I just felt that JLA was going to miss it. That's a big problem, our lone DP sucks. Again. I was really really really hoping he'd make it, gain some confidence and make a difference, but it went the other way.
    *Shipp. He's my man for future pk's. I know he was already subbed out by the time this was taken, but when he's in the game, he's my man. Technically sound, he seems to have as much control over the ball and placement as anyone on our team.
    *Shipp, part 2. I absolutely love his crosses on corners. Holy hell, what an improvement to recent history.
    *Let's end on a high note here. The Fire aren't that far away. Many of these ties should have been wins. There is quality youth, there are quality vets, there is quality depth. I really think we are 1-2 pieces away from becoming a really high quality team...well, assuming Magee comes back to form some. But, as we've been told, it's hard to sign DP's, so maybe we're further away than I think/hope.....

  • Shipp is too good for the MLS and won't be here long I'm afraid. MLS is Justin Mapp and Chris Rolfe and Soumare. Even Dempsey is probably over the hill now.

  • In reply to Bumsteer:

    yeah....that Michael Bradley guy also sucks. ;)

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    That's your one.. that's your one!

  • Reserve game vs Rochester Rhinos will be streamed live today at 11am.

  • Does Alex's injury seem serious enough that it would keep him out of the next game? I think the team would be better served to have Lawrentowicz in the holding mid position, Duka and Nyarko out wide, and Shipp in the attacking-mid position. He has a really good vision for the plays in front of him as evidenced with his assist on the Awarikwa goal. My main positive on the season thus far is this: Harry Shipp, pretty damn good.

    Also, let's not forget we haven't seen the defense concede a set-piece goal in two games now. It's easier to see improvement under Yallop as opposed to previous regimes, and that's a positive sign for the future.

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    Alex's injury did not seem serious. He was walking fine after the game and said that he tweaked a hamstring.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    [expletive deleted] Ok, then we'll see what happens. Would still like to see Harry in the CAM spot. One day... Maybe during the reserve game on Friday? Is that in Chicago?

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    Reserve game on Friday will be in Charlotte.

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