Fire 2 Union 2 - recap and ratings

The Fire won the possession battle (52-48), attempted more shots than the opponent (19-7), had more of those shots on target (7-2), and completed a significantly higher percentage of their passes than Philadelphia did (73-64), but yet still managed to somehow give up two goals in a draw at home. Dreadful set piece defending was once again the culprit as the Union's only two shots on target found the back of the net. One of those "shots" was a free kick cross that was inexplicably allowed to bounce in front of goal and into the net.

The first twenty minutes of the match were impressive enough to lead to a belief that the Fire were going to run away with the match but sloppy defensive work ruined whatever positives were earned up to that point. These are the types of results that non-playoff teams look back on once the season is concluded and myopically categorize into the "what if" section of the season. Dropping points at home against playoff contenders isn't a good harbinger that things have changed or will change any time soon.

The same mistakes continue to kill this team time and time again. It's still early but supporters can't be blamed for pressing the panic button five games into the season. The Fire are playing well enough to provide some hope but just badly enough to crush those hopes.

We've seen this act before.

Player ratings

GK Sean Johnson (5) - Did not register a save, as the Union had very little going on in the offensive third. Caught a bit flat footed on the Union's second goal but the fault can be placed on the defenders more than the 'keeper on that one.

D Greg Cochrane (6) - The Fire haven't missed Segares much at all over the last three games. Le Toux was held to very few touches and wasn't a factor in the final third. Segares may have a tough time getting his spot back when fully fit. Had an excellent chance in the 89th but his shot was saved by MacMath.

D Bakary Soumare (4) - Didn't have a bad game, unless you consider that he played a role in both Philadelphia goals. He was caught standing and watching after Hurtado blocked a shot in the 32nd. He failed to pick up Edu who gathered the loose ball uncontested to score in the 32nd. He was inexplicably ball watching again in the 39th as Fernandes' free kick bounced in front of goal and into the net for an unlikely score.

D Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (5) - A fine tackle to deny Nogueira in the 28th. Couldn't maintain his balance after blocking the shot in the 32nd leading to the first Union score.

D Lovel Palmer (5) - Beaten by Casey for one of the few Philadelphia chances in the 24th. More active in the second half but crosses and shot attempts were blocked away by Union defenders.

M Jeff Larentowicz (5) - The Fire midfield controlled a good portion of the match and started out very well. A lull midway through the first half led to the lapses on both Union goals. Check out Larentowicz' post game comments at the Fire Confidential Facebook page.

M Matt Watson (5) - Yallop may have played it too conservatively with Larentowicz and Watson starting the match in central midfield but the first twenty minutes could have produced more than just one score. Watson didn't hurt but didn't offer much getting forward either.

M Harry Shipp (5) - A few dangerous crosses early were the highlight of Shipp's day. Had a good look at goal in the 43rd which he skied over the net.

M Patrick Nyarko (6) - Ran Fabinho off the pitch after the first half. Very good in combination before being subbed out in the 77th.

F Quincy Amarikwa (6) - Set up Magee for a tap in with a nice assist in the 16th giving the Fire an early lead. His effort and hustle will keep him in the eleven. Had another chance in the 60th but didn't get much on a deflected Duka shot in front of the net.

F Mike Magee (5) - This would have been higher if not for the end of the match. A missed penalty kick and a high shot attempt at an open left side of the goal in the 89th doomed the Fire to a fourth straight draw. He assisted on the Fire's second goal with a well placed free kick and he provided the ball over the top that led to the penalty kick. If he had converted the PK he'd probably be in line for MLS Team of the Week honors. As it stands, when you're at home needing a win, you'd expect the reigning league MVP to put it away.

M Dilly Duka (6) - Came into the match for Shipp in the 57th and the double substitution changed the match into the Fire's favor once again. Played well in combination leading to good chances in the 60th and 67th minutes.

M Alex (6) - Like Duka, his insertion in the 57th for Watson saved the point and could have led to a full three. Provided the ball in the 89th that led to Cochrane's chance.

F Juan Luis Anangono (6) - After whiffing on his first touch after coming into the game for Nyarko, the Ecuadorian forward finally contributed something this season. His header in the 87th crossed the line before Soumare could get to it and tied the game. He also drew the penalty kick in stoppage time that should have provided the winner.

Next up

Another club with issues and a familiar face. The Fire travel to Montreal next Saturday.

Filed under: 2014 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • Sorry GR, Johnson gets a 1 from me. The second goal was 100% his fault. The goalkeeper is supposed to control the 6-yard box. It is inexcusable for the defense to allow a ball to bounce there and that is a ball Johnson has to catch.

  • In reply to StaryByk3:

    Probably some blame to go around on that goal but the defense allowing it to bounce was shocking.

  • In reply to StaryByk3:

    You don't watch much football do you? The cross the center shot/cross is a typical thing to happen to goalies. I'm not saying you wouldn't WANT SJ to grab that but the reality here is that it was equally on the defense as it was on him. As for anyone saying we need to get rid of SJ smdh at your idiocy he's among the top 5 keepers in the league. Check out this freekick goal by Schwienstieger (sp) vs legendary keeper Kasey Keller in his prime at the 12 second mark (sorry I couldn't find a better highlight video on the internet).

  • I'm just not sold on SJ. His GA ave is going to be pretty lousy this year.. not the mark of a top flight keeper, regardless of how bad the defense is.. sometimes the keeper has to save you, and until he has some clean sheets, I'm just not feelin it.

  • The second goal was embarrassing. The first goal was equally pathetic. SJ has more than only a share of the blame on the second goal. I think SJ is a great talent, but he needs to be a coordinator in the back. Really bad day.

  • Thought Johnson was a bit weak on the second goal, but the defense has to share the blame.
    Couldn't understand why so many outlets named Magee as the man of the match. If the rest of the team put as much effort into the game as Quincy the result would have been much different.
    Thought that Amarikwa should have been named man of the match followed by Nyarko , Duka, and Alex. Quincy is almost worth the price of admission to watch. Great intensity throughout the game.
    Magee seemed kind of tentative prior to taking the penalty shot, I had a bad feeling about him taking it and wished someone else would have taken the shot.
    The game should have been a victory, the team can't afford giving up points, starting to look a lot like last season with a weak start.
    If they can't beat Montreal they are really stuck, almost another must win situation so early in the season.
    Game should have been a victo

  • GR, you say Magee's rating would be higher if not for the missed penalty and shot at the end of the game. That's one way of looking at it... I agree with @lonecoyote above - Magee's rating would be *lower* if not for the goal he scored.

    I'm really disappointed with his effort so far this season. His form is terrible at the moment, as the two misses at the end of the game demonstrate. His decision-making is also slow and poor - several times when we mounted quick counter-attacks, everything slowed when the ball came to him. He seems to not know what he wants to do with the ball.

    Additionally, and most infuriating, is his tendency to think that every time a ball that leaves his feet and touches an opponent should be called a handball. I'm barely exaggerating. Watch him. He yells at the ref for this at least twice per game. He also spends a lot of time yelling at his teammates. This is ok if the player was setting a good example for his teammates when he has the ball, but not ok if he doesn't. If he transferred all that effort he spends yelling at the ref and his teammates and renegotiating contracts into working for the team, he'd be more like the player we saw last season. So in short, Mike: STFU and follow Amarikwa's example.

  • Disappointment aside, the last 10 minutes of that match was exciting.

    I'm giving credit to Yallop for acquiring Cochrane. He's proving to be a capable backup on the left, which gives me confidence going into the Cup run this year (which, based on our performance so far, I'm not going to feeling totally confident about, but hey- if DC can do the Wigan...)

    So far as filling a roster, a lineup, and filling subs, I like what Yallop brings, though after how this game turned out, there's now the added pressure of the win elephant in the room (yeah, I know what Mike said in his postgame comments...)

  • So I was unable to make the game and DVR'd it. I followed along and Twitter so I know what happened but I've refused to watch highlights because I want to watch the game. After reading this recap, do I really want to watch this or should I just delete it and start looking forward to a result against Klopas' Impact?

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    Easy. Watch it.

  • The second Union goal was completely mind-boggling. From the stupid freekick given up to how the hell it made it past everyone to get in the net. I was watching from just about directly behind the goal and was absolutely shocked that Johnson did not collect the ball. What was he doing? The first Union goal was unfortunate, but had more of the throw away pinball in the box goal that the Fire have been giving up every game. It needs to stop, but sometimes those throw away deflection goals happen. Edu was way too open though.

    Magee is trying to be an MVP. He needs to be Mike Magee, clutch contributor. He shouldn't be trying to run the attack. His off the ball movement is still good, but he's trying to do too much on the ball. And I'm getting really sick of seeing his whining douchey face after every freekick the Fire don't get. I'm glad he's not captain. Let Larents take PKs please.

    Nyarko's picked up his game, for which I'm happy, but Duka looked great when he came on. I'm hoping Duka and Shipp get the starting nods at wide mid over Nyarko. I still like Nyarko as a sub better than Nyarko as a starter. Deal with it.

    I know Yallop loves Watson and he was a good quality utility pick up, but I think the he's a step in the wrong direction played with Larents in the center mid. That is still Alex's place to lose in my opinion (he's been playing well enough he hasn't) and I'd rather see him lose it to Joya than Watson.

    I loved Sega over the years, definitely one of my all time favorite, but I think Cochrane is well on his way to becoming starting leftback.

    Side note: anyone see Anibaba getting ripped apart by the Timbers? He was given an epic beatdown. Also, Pappa has been a bust so far, too. LA has been much more successful with ex-Fire players (Gargan, Husidic) than the Sounders this season.

  • In reply to TomazPP:

    Anibaba and Pappa have been down right bad in Seattle so far this season.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Anibaba was easily responsible for the 3rd and 4th goals Portland scored in the second half. I thought Alonso took it too far to shove Jalil after the 3rd goal but then I saw Yedlin bickering with Dempsey when Valeri went down for Portland and numerous other times when Seattle teammates were bitching at each other. Not sure if that dynamic will make it all season. I know winning cures all ills, but that Seattle-thing looks like a ticking time bomb in my opinion.

    Also, Potato is Potato. Highlight reel one minute, sports-gaffs reel the next. Not surprised at his form thus far.

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    Maybe Eddie Johnson wasn't the only problem in that locker room.

  • In reply to TomazPP:

    DC has also been more successful with Dykstra and Rolfe so far this season than Seattle has with Pappa and Anibaba. LA still has Rogers on the books, who has played exactly 0 minutes for the Gals this season, though that's apparently due to an ankle injury...

  • In reply to Modibo:

    Ha, true about DC.

    Also, I wouldn't count Rogers because he was never actually a Fire player.

  • Things are getting interesting in MLS this year, that's for sure.

    Giddy up.

  • It's amazing to me that both last year's 1st place teams in each Conference are still winless after week 5.

  • I must confess that I do't unnderstand the intense love for Nyarko. Yes he''s a competent player but I don't see how he has been a major contributor to past Fire successes???? He''s certainly fast but as a scorer or an assist leader he lacks!! However, he does fit in with the current back line's penchant for lofting balls over the midfield. He DOES remind me of Arjen Robben coming in from the right , the only difference is that Arjen scores!!

  • In reply to shortpasses:

    Everyone here knows I don't like Nyarko. I think that he's overpaid, overrated and it's time to move on to better things (Shipp).

    However, to say he lacks as an "assist leader" or that he "has[n't] been a major contributor to past Fire sucess" is a clear example of not knowing the Fire ( Nyarko was assist leader three years in a row, recording the same number of assists over that time period as Blanco did the three season before.

    He doesn't fit in the current system, he isn't getting better and he hasn't been playing as well as he had in the past. If you want some ammunition that he's overrated (even in the past) just scroll down to the assists per game chart and notice he's nowhere on it. I'd love to see him benched, but don't say he hasn't contributed over the years.

  • The only problem with Shipp right now is that he is getting physically over matched. It was right to have taken him out against Philly as he no longer could maintain possession. Duka showed he needs to be on the field and so did Alex (which surprised me). Anongano derserves judos for his play as well. He worked well up top. Magee's PK was dreadful. He needs to take a step back and stop playing the "me, me, me" game. I get very frustrated with Big Red's game because he falls asleep at times especially in the box. Watson will probably sit against Montreal but I don't think he will be sitting for the entire game. Cochrane is a keeper. I like the way he goes forward. He is not as susceptible to be burned on the counter as Sega. I cannot wait to see them play this Saturday. I feel a win.

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