Fire 5 Red Bulls 4 - recap and ratings

Finally, the Fire have picked up a full three points and it came in unlikely and wild fashion. An explosive nine goal contest at Red Bull Arena didn't ease anyone's concerns about the quality of the back line but it did show some character from a side that could have folded after the disaster at home last weekend and a poor showing in the first half of this match. Harry Shipp was the hero in providing one of the most most memorable offensive performances from a Fire player in quite some time. Shipp became only the sixth Chicago player to score a hat trick (Razov, Rolfe, Jaqua, Raplh, and Pappa were the others), and the first Fire Homegrown Player to score in a regular season game.

While the euphoria over Shipp's performance and the Fire's first victory of the season shouldn't be discounted the continued lack of composure and pressure defensively should remain a concern. The Fire were one spectacular Sean Johnson save on Thierry Henry away from blowing a three goal lead. Enjoy the day but there's still a ton of work to be done.

Player ratings

GK Sean Johnson (6) - It's tough to truly rate a goalkeeper's performance when the opposition is getting clear chance after clear chance unmolested on goal but Johnson continues to come up big despite the failures defensively. Registered three saves but none was bigger than the stop in the 82nd that denied Henry the equalizer. Also well positioned to deny Wright-Phillips bicycle attempt in the dying seconds although that one wasn't as spectacular.

D Lovel Palmer (4) - As New York's first forty-five minutes continued the assault that left the Fire defense scrambling, defenders did nothing to stop the home team. Palmer failed to put any pressure on Alexander in the 6th minute allowing him enough time to stop and drift a cross into the box that resulted in the tying goal just two minutes after the Fire had taken the lead. This continued for the rest of the half.

D Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (4) - Looked like a turnstyle in the 40th as Henry whizzed by him on the way to setting up the Red Bulls second score. Called for a foul in the box in the 77th that led to another goal. The foul was soft but he did have his hands on Henry. Also provided no resistance on Wright-Phillips goal in the 67th.

D Patrick Ianni (5) - The best of the Fire defenders, but that's not exactly handing out a huge compliment. To be fair Ianni was serviceable clearing several crosses away and denied Henry a good look in the 18th and Wright-Phillips in the 37th.

D Greg Cochrane (4) - Both sides of the Fire defense allowed uncontested crosses into the box during a first half that end with a 2-1 New York advantage but it could have been worse. No pressure and fouls in dangerous areas will get Segares back into the line up quickly.

M Jeff Larentowicz (5) - He looked as confused as the Fire defense did in the first half with New York controlling the ball 62% of the time. They also completed over 80% of their passes as the visitors provided little resistance. The start of the second half was better. A perfectly placed cross right onto the head of Amarikwa in the 49th allowed the Fire to tie the game and set the tone for the rest of the match.

M Patrick Nyarko (6) - One of the few Fire players actually trying to pressure New York in the first half. A few crosses were dangerous but nothing came of them early on. His (likely) mishit cross in the 64th found it's way into the back of the net and proved to be the difference in the game.

M Benji Joya (4) - Very little pressure from the Fire's central midfield tandem allowed New York the run of the place in the first half. A give away from Joya in the 40th minute near midfield resulted in the New York's second goal. Decent in link up but he's got be better defensively and needs to take care of the ball if he's going to stay in the line up when Alex is fully fit.

M Harry Shipp (9) - One of the more impressive offensive displays from a Fire player in recent memory. His first goal might have been a bit of a gift but the second and third were pure class. After taking a ball from Nyarko in the 54th a nifty move got him some space and he fired the ball past Robles. A steal from Kimura in the 58th gave him the hat trick on a superb solo effort. He also assisted on Nyarko's goal and should have had another helper when he put Magee through in the 38th. At 22, Shipp has already shown many of the skills and technical ability that is rarely seen from American attackers in MLS. He's set the bar high for any future Homegrown Players. Undoubtedly MLS Player of the Week for this round. Hopefully the hamstring issue is a minor one.

F Mike Magee (5) - He helped on Shipp's first goal although it was probably a missed call and the Fire benefited. Should have scored in the 38th when Shipp sent him in one goal 1v1 with Robles but his shot rolled agonizingly just wide. You can't help but think that 2013 Magee would have buried that chance. Spent too much time in the first half floating and arguing with referees.

F Quincy Amarikwa (6) - His work rate and effort alone make him valuable. After a missed opportunity in the in the 25th due to a bad touch he proved his worth again in the second half. Finished Larentowicz's cross in the 49th to tie the game at 2-2. His pressure on New York defenders near the penalty area resulted in the ball landing on Nyarko's foot and eventually Shipp's for the third goal and the lead.

M Logan Pause (6) - Entered the match in the 68th for Nyarko as Yallop looked to maintain some sort of shape defensively and removing Shipp was probably not an option. Pause contributed with in a handful of plays including two clearances of Olave crosses in the 88th.

D Gonzalo Segares (6) - Came in the game for Joya in the 83rd and also played a key role in clearing New York chances in the dying minutes. Stopped a Cahill cross in the 93rd. Veteran presence apparently calmed things down after Henry nearly tied it in the 82nd.

F Juan Luis Anangono (5) - A late sub entering the match for Shipp in the 90th minute.

Next up

A home game versus Sporting Kansas City. Needless to say this would be a big chance to get back into the Eastern picture with Graham Zuis and Matt Besler away with the USMNT.

If ya smell......

You knew this was going to be a crazy game early on. The Rock tweeted a response to the Fire mention before the game.




Filed under: 2014 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • 9?!? High water mark for any player. That's like getting the Russian judge to give you a 10.

    Seriously phenomenal performance by Shipp. Not even worth talking about the defense. Getting 3 pts in RB Arena is great, but the last 30 minutes seemed like a defeat. It was one of those games that could have gone either way.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    There have been several 8's in the past, but yes 9 is the high water mark. Should have had 3 goals and 2 assists.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    should have had 2 goals and 2 assists. :)

    9 is a good call..."think leo messi on most weekends". 3 goals and an asst is very messi like. shipp is looking like he'll be the best player on the team, consistently week to week, within a year or so.

    magee's play is a real concern to me. he could snap out of it with a good week and a bit of confidence any time now, but we're 10 games in and he's looking more and more like this year's chris rolfe. i think the mvp burden, coupled with the salary issue and the early injury, have really done a number on magee's head. i still believe in him, and am just imagining how dangerous this offense can be if amarikwa, magee and shipp get on a roll at the same time.

    as for our defense, i really hope brian bliss is rethinking his earlier comments on a summer transfer at forward. sure, we could always use more players who can score, but i don't think anyone would argue that defense isn't our biggest weakness. perhaps puyol could come in this summer for the remainder of the year and provide arne like leadership and quality?

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    Good news that Grant Ward is coming back, could be a big boost for the defense, will probably start in short order due to the lack of performance by other defenders. As I said before Magee is looking more like Anangono with more dramatics, needs to focus on the team and what he needs to do rather than mouth off all the time,
    getting very boring. I would have given him a 4.
    If Shipp continues the way he has he should be shoo in for rookie of the year.

  • In reply to Ron Stone:

    Isn't Ward a winger? I just looked him up on Tottenham's website and they have one sentence about him as a defender and then list him as a midfielder. I guess he can play both...

    G, any idea on how Marco Franco is developing/looking?

  • In reply to Tweaky:

    Ward has played outside as a defender for Tottenham but played mostly as a midfielder in camp.

    Franco appears to be a bit of a project.

  • Ward is an outside midfielder. He plays like Nyarko. Let's keep in mind he is what 19/20 yrs old and plays on Tottenham youth teams not the 1st team. He has upside but isn't going storm MLS right away.

    Defense problem is lack of leadership from the middle and their communicating with everyone back there.

  • is reporting that Shipp's HT is only the fourth ever recorded by a rookie. Pretty impressive.

  • Woah, wait, Guillermo - the scale goes as high as 9?!

    Agree with everyone's thoughts about Magee (as I've said over the past few weeks.) He needs to get his head in the game, quit yelling at the ref and focus on finishing his chances. I think a benching would do him some good to get him focused on what he needs to do.

  • In reply to manyou07:

    Ha! All that was needed was an outstanding effort to get higher than a 6. ;)

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    Missed the game (first of the year) and I had a feeling I would be annoyed. I saw the score and had visions of a late tie-breaker coming from Qunicy or something exciting to pull of a road view against the defending Supporters Shield winners.

    But after watching the highlights I'm not surprised at all by the events which transpired. Shipp continues to shine, Qunicy's a workhorse, and the D is falling all over themselves. Have to say that the Fire were mathmatically due and it came on a freebie blown offsides call and a Suarez-like shot/err/cross from Patty. Any other day that would have been a 4-3 loss with a brace from Shipp. Still worried.

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