Fire 1 Galaxy 1 - recap and ratings

Another defensive mistake cost them points at home but the Fire didn't seem too broken up about this one. Chris Ritter's errant pass led to a 74th minute game tying goal and a draw against the Los Angeles Galaxy.

A shift to a formation that included dual holding midfielders and the return of Gonzalo Segares to the starting line up resulted in the team's best defensive effort in some time. The Fire did well to limit LA chances, kept attackers in front of them, and didn't allow the free looks and wide gaps that have plagued the back line and midfield all season.

Without Mike Magee and Patrick Nyarko, Yallop played it a little more conservatively which combined with the 90 degree temperatures in the middle of the afternoon made for some dull moments. Galaxy captain Robbie Keane made it clear that he isn't a fan of afternoon games during the summer after the match. "“I don’t know who makes these (f#$%#!&) stupid decisions.  Play a (f#$%#!&) game at three o’clock in the afternoon.  Who wants to watch that crap?," Keane said after the match.

Winning at home is important but considering the circumstances this result seemed like a fair and somewhat encouraging result. There wasn't much to look at offensively as the Fire failed to score from the run of play for the third consecutive match but there were some signs of life defensively.

Player ratings

GK Sean Johnson (5) - Didn't get the clean sheet and didn't get a whole lot of action either. The Galaxy only had five shot attempts and the goal was the only one of those five on target.

D Lovel Palmer (6) - Very active game after missing the last match. Involved on both ends, particularly in the first half. May have been the Fire's best player in the first 45. Subbed out in the 85th minute.

D Bakary Soumare (6) - Back in the eleven after missing the last three games. Did well to limit opportunities for LA attackers and stayed home for the most part with the back line keeping its shape better than it has all season. There are those occasional long blasts to nowhere which are still perplexing.

D Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (6) - Keane had very few touches in dangerous areas and that was a good thing. The Fire had their first choice back line together for the first time since round 2 and they responded with their best defensive game of the season.

D Gonzalo Segares (6) - It may not be a coincidence that the back line was more organized and composed than it has been all season and Segares was back on the left side. Good on both ends throughout although he couldn't get to Ritter's badly timed pass to prevent the LA score. Catch video of his comments here.

M Jeff Larentowicz (6) - With the aid of a second holding midfielder the captain had more control of the middle of the pitch and LA didn't have the wide, gaping holes for attackers to run through that we've seen over the last few months. Possession was even closer with the Galaxy holding a 54-46 edge. Converted the spot kick in Magee's absence.

M Chris Ritter (5) - Didn't do badly overall in his first MLS regular season start but that critical error in the 74th minute resulted in the lone LA goal. Did exactly what he was asked to do, take up space and help deny passing lanes. Unspectacular but...that pass.

M Dilly Duka (5) - Still appears to be working back into fitness. A few ill advised shots and a need to be quicker to make a decision on passes makes you wonder if he'll ever live up to potential.

M Grant Ward (6) - Tailed off in the second half but showed flashes of why the technical staff is looking to keep him past June with several quality crosses and good combination play in the first half.

F Harry Shipp (5) - Played in a more centrally advanced role as the underneath forward rather than the outside position that he's been in all season. Provided a handful of nice touches in combination but wasn't as influential as you would have expected with an opportunity to play closer to goal.

F Quincy Amarikwa (6) - His work rate alone continues to distinguish him from match to match. Earned the PK by drawing a foul (that may have been outside the box) but constantly looking for contact and going to ground is going to give him a reputation as a diver. Also made the play by picking up a loose ball and charging at goal.

M Benji Joya (5) - Subbed in for Duka in the 71st. An active last few minutes included a shot on goal and an another attempt that would have been spectacular had it not been blocked to end the match.

M Juan Luis Anangono (5) - Came in for Amarikwa in the 71st. A few decent touches and a few typically JLA head scratchers.

D Matt Watson (5) - A substitute for Palmer in the 85th minute.

Next up

A Wednesday night road match in Colorado which won't be easy. The Rapids trounced Houston 3-0 at home this weekend.

Filed under: 2014 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • Quincy holds the ball up quite well. He still looks panicky at times but he is really growing on me. If we could get Magee to do some defensive work, he should be an attacking mid and we should keep those two holding mids. We need to win the midfield battle if we want to win games. Seems like there is always room right there because we only have big red doing that work. We have a good young core now that is exciting to see. We might not be the best team but atleast we are giving the young guys the chance and it's paying off for them. In previous seasons, we weren't the best either but we had to deal with old guys taking away minutes from the young players. I think the future is bright for the Fire.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    I agree on your formation suggestion. The defense is incapable of holding down the fort with the ol' 4-4-2, so I like the idea of two holding mids and Magee slotted as the CAM with Q up top. Give it a try at least, see if we can start squeaking out some 1-0, 2-1 victories.

  • New York City FC makes it official and have announced the signing of David Villa.

    Yikes......he will score a ton of goals next year.

  • Ritter was definitely at fault for that goal. In a sense, it's a good lesson to have in your first game. One mistake and a team with players of the quality that LA has will punish you, badly. He seems like a solid player and a smart kid, so he's going to take this to heart and I'm hoping he won't let it happen again.

    Villa? Well, he may be good, but he still needs a place to practice once he gets to NYC.

  • Another tie, although a morale booster, is just another loss of 2 points, giving the team roughly 12 to 14 points they squandered this season by turning victories into ties. The Fire has been pretty much competitive in every game this season except for the game against the Crew, not that all the ties should have been victories, but the team should have at least be sitting with19 to 20 points instead of just 13, with a third of the season already gone. Despite the adverse player injuries the Fire had prior to the Galaxy game, when a tie looked like the best we could hope for, the team actually outplayed LA and deserved a victory and the defense had their best day so far these season.
    Regarding David Villa, he isn't quite the superstar he was when he was at Barca, due mainly to injuries, while I except him to have fine seasons with NYCFC, I don't think he'll tear the league apart, however it's a great pick up for MLS visibility and stature

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    They've given away too many points this year and that will kill them come October, just like it did last year.

    Villa scored 13 goals last season in La Liga. This is a big signing.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Indeed, this is a great signing for NYC. I mentioned it at the bottom of the previous thread, but I'll say it again - this really frustrates me as a Fire fan to see a team with no games played with Villa in hand and strong rumors of Lampard on the way, while we struggle year in and year out with the likes of puppo, anangono, et al. WTF have the Fire become at the hands of AH? Yes, I know teams can win w/out DP(s), but it's a hell of a lot harder and your organization better be top notch. At this point, I won't give the Fire that benefit of the doubt.

    But I do really enjoy seeing players like Villa join MLS...

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Speaking of playoffs, Black & Red United had a good analysis of playoff qualification for DC that can easily be extrapolated on several points for the Fire:

    Also linked in the article (with explanation) was a heat map from 2011, 2012 and 2013 for all MLS teams:

    I've dropped all expectation of playoffs for this year and will just enjoy the ride.

  • Bakary Soumare has been named to MLS' team of the week for the second time this season.....

  • Don't think that ritter should have gotten the same score as shipp due to that critical error

  • In reply to mintyfresh315:

    Fair enough. But I thought he was decent in what he was tasked to do despite the error. Maybe a tick higher for Shipp.

  • I think it's time to give Baky some credit. People have been a bit harsh on him ever since he's come back. Some of that deserved, but he needs to be given credit when its due.

  • In reply to waamsy:

    His problem is consistency. One week he's on the team of the week, the next he's on team of the weak. How can you rely on a defender like that? I wish he could find his form from his first stint in fire red...

  • In reply to waamsy:

    Have to agree with Tweaky. While we have experience in the back, we don't have the leadership we need. Soumaré is fantastic at cutting off passes, blocking shots, and picking off crosses, but all it takes is one or two lapses on his part and we're completely exposed.

    The really frustrating thing about the Galaxy game is that we were in a position to take the game, and as a Fire fan I was just waiting for that error. I thought it would be Soumaré or Hurtado, but instead, it was Ritter. Can't blame Soumaré this time.

  • I haven't had a chance to whip up a full game preview but here are my picks tonight:

    Colorado 2 Fire 1
    RSL 1 Crew 0


  • With the announced starting lineup for tonight's game it looks like the team is shooting for a loss.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    Or Yallop is utilizing depth in order to save guys for the long haul this week.

    Klopas would've started the same XI all three games, either causing injury, or running them into the ground to where they were completely ineffective by the time they get to the Seattle game.

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