After a win in New England and what probably should have been a victory against Philadelphia, the Fire provided what might have been considered a ray of hope. A strong defensive performance in those two games seems to have given the false indication that things were turning towards the positive as the season progressed into the second half.
This game smashed those hopes into so many pieces that no amount of Romanian midfielders or left sided Fire legends could possibly rekindle them. Lack of punch up front and a complete disaster of an outing from the back line led to an embarrassing display of what some might call soccer in front of a national television audience.
San Jose, the worst team in the Western Conference, had scored a mere 17 goals in their first 17 games but ran through the Fire defense in the second half like they were standing still. "If you look at the game as a whole we were really, really poor," said Frank Yallop after the match. "It seemed that we were a little disinterested which is alarming in a game like this ," he continued. There are an endless amount of single words that could be used to describe this one. Alarming is one, disgraceful is another.
GK Sean Johnson (5) - Five goals allowed against this team is a travesty but he's got be tiring of facing uncontested chances like he did in this one. San Jose had 9 shots on target and 5 went in although Johnson can't bear much of the blame.
D Gonzalo Segares (4) - Caught up too high on several occasions. This was the case on San Jose's second goal in the 52nd minute. Harris started the play and scored on the rebound as Segares couldn't track him down in time.
D Bakary Soumare (3) - After two strong performances against New England and Philadelphia this match challenges anyone who doesn't think the Fire still need to address the centerback position. Caught in a high line repeatedly and along with Hurtado, largely responsible for the gaps and chances afforded to San Jose for much of the game. Shocking.
D Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (3) - As bad an outing as Soumare had, Hurtado was probably worse. Completely failed to close down just about anything in the box as both half backs appeared to be running in mud against San Jose attackers. Hurtado was beaten time and again throughout the course of this game.
D Lovel Palmer (4) - Showed some fight and was probably the best of the lot in the back but that's not saying a whole lot. Also caught forward in the 45th as his failed cross for Watson was turned into the counter attack leading to Salinas' goal.
M Jeff Larentowicz (5) - Midfield didn't get completely over run with possession actually ending up in favor of Chicago (51-49) but the Fire didn't do much with it either. Did produce one of the rare moments when Chicago actually tried to create something in the final third when he dribbled around a defender to send a shot wide in the 69th.
M Matt Watson (5) - Picked up an assist with a lead to Ward for his goal.
M Alex (4) - Involved in a sequence with Watson which led to a corner kick in the 29th. I'm pretty sure he was out there somewhere for the remaining 61 minutes. I think.
M Harry Shipp (5) - A fair first half in comparison to the rest of the attackers. Just missed Magee with a lead pass in the 8th minute and sailed a shot wide in the 41st. Subbed off for Ward in the 59th. Lack of defensive cover and tracking back is his downfall.
F Mike Magee (4) - Continues to drift back into midfield and not as involved as he should be in the final third. A good combination with Amarikwa provided a chance in the 49th. Largely missing in action for large portions of the match.
F Quincy Amarikwa (5) - Some activity early in the second almost provided an equalizer. Headed a cross from Palmer just wide in the 48th and took a chance in the 49th after a pass from Magee.
M Grant Ward (6) - Scored the Fire's lone goal on a beautifully placed shot to beat Busch on the ground to his right. Pumped in a cross or two after entering the match in the 59th.
F Matt Fondy (4) - Subbed in for Amarikwa in the 60th minute. Contributed a yellow card for running into Busch well after the keeper had collected the ball.
M Benji Joya (5) - Entered the match in the 87th in order to break a sweat.
The obligatory meaningless summer friendly on Saturday followed by a home game against Vancouver on July 30. It's fairly obvious that the Fire will need to do something substantial in this window or the remainder of this season will be relegated to a USOC semi-final prayer and more futility dashed with the occasional ray of false hope.
In the latest episode of the podcast we talk about holding the club to a higher standard. That was recorded before this match.