Fire 1 Crew 1 - recap, ratings, plus Yallop on Jermaine Jones and the transfer window

Another draw.

This match felt eerily similar to Wednesday's night 0-0 stalemate against Vancouver. Maybe it was because the Fire trotted out the exact same line-up that trudged through that contest. Or maybe it was because the flow of the match featured the same characteristics of the Vancouver game: close possession numbers, few real chances for either side, and uninspired play in the middle of the pitch. Maybe it was because after an incredible 13 draws in 21 starts, Fire matches are starting to run together.

While they're well on their way to surpassing their own dubious record for ties in a season, the Fire is watching the 2014 season continue to slip away into another failed campaign. While the most hopeful of fans can point to a close pack in the Eastern Conference it's impossible to ignore that the home side has only amassed three wins and we're into the month of August. The Fire would almost need to run the table to qualify for a playoff spot.

By running the table, I don't mean 13 consecutive draws, although that probably wouldn't surprise anyone.

Player ratings

GK Sean Johnson (6) - Four saves on the night and a couple were quality denials. A kick save in the 53rd on Speas shot from 18 yards out and a point blank stop on Finlay in the 61st were impressive.

D Lovel Palmer (5) - Crosses were off target when he did attempt them. Some decent combination play in the second half. Got turned around by Higuain on the Crew score.

D Jeff Larentowicz (6) - The Fire's best defender on the night. Just missed clearing the ball that led to the Crew goal to start the second half but strong on the middle otherwise. Tried to contribute offensively on set pieces.

D Patrick Ianni (5) - A decent game other than muffing an attempt to clear the ball on the Columbus score. Larentowicz will probably have a new partner for the next match.

D Gonzalo Segares (5) - Played fair enough but Finlay did threaten after getting by him once or twice in the first half.

M Chris Ritter (5) - He's not out there to create anything but he should be able to keep the ball moving in a positive direction while playing in the "holding" role. He was able to do that sporadically.

M Matt Watson (5) - Yallop seemed to be content with playing conservatively in the same manner that he did against the Whitecaps. The same workmanlike center midfield pairing unsurprisingly provided the same bland performance that they did three nights ago.

M Grant Ward (6) - Active getting forward although he did catch something of a break in the 36th minute when his cross attempt hit Tyson Wahl in the hand while inside the area to give the Fire a rather cheap penalty kick attempt.

M Alex (5) - Provided a few close calls with dangerous crosses in the first half. Per usual, disappeared in the second before being subbed out in the 63rd.

F Mike Magee (5) - Perhaps inspired by actually scoring a goal from the spot in the 37th he was somewhat more involved than he has been in weeks. That involvement is still well below his 2013 form. Just missed the far post with a shot in the 74th.

F Quincy Amarikwa (5) - He'll always put in the effort and did create a half chance or two for teammates. Missed spotting a wide open Magee in the 60th minute and elected to shoot from distance instead. The attempt was easily blocked.

M Harry Shipp (5) - Yallop chose to sit his best playmaker again citing a rest for the rookie's tired legs. Entered the match for Ward in the 57th. A little better movement from the Fire when he did get involved.

M Razvan Cocis (5) - Came in for Alex in the 63rd and started off at left mid before switching sides with Shipp in the 68th. In good position for a late game winner as Magee's cross just missed getting to him in stoppage time. Took an attempt from 24 yards in the 90th minute that sailed high.

M Logan Pause (5) - His insertion for Ritter in the 81st seemed to signal the flag for a draw. One would have to wonder why both Bakary Soumare and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado are both in the 18 ahead of someone like Benji J0ya.

Jones saga continues

Frank Yallop did not discount the possibility that Jermaine Jones could still end up in Chicago by telling reporters after the match that a substantial offer was made on Friday and the club still had not heard an official response from the midfielder's camp. “He has an offer. It’s not officially turned down because we haven’t heard anything back so we’re still waiting. It was a big offer, Andrew [Hauptman] stepped up and put out a good contract offer. He’s thinking about it and we’ll find out in the next couple of days,” said Yallop.

Yallop also told reporters that Jones is subject to the MLS allocation rule. That is technically the case since Jones does not have a contract at the moment but it is expected that MLS will invoke the DP of "certain threshold" rule if/when Jones accepts an offer.

Whether or not Jones decides to come to Chicago could affect other moves that Yallop has planned. The Fire are close to adding an Argentine forward who has played in France's Ligue 1 but would need to shuffle some things in order to fit both he and Jones into the roster. A trade within the league to clear significant space would probably be necessary.

Filed under: 2014 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • Uninspired, bland football...uninspired, bland coaching....uninspired bland ownership. organization wide consistency!

    Can't see why we can't attract high profile players....

    There was a time when excellence was the expectation but clearly that ship has sailed.

  • I think it's safe to say that Ritter and Watson are not the answer in the middle. These past two home games have been the worst play all season. Absolutely nothing offered offensively. Not a single person demanding the ball and trying to make something happen. They get the ball, take a terrible touch, take another touch, and then play the ball backwards or kick it as far as they can. Perfect example was when Quincy stole the ball from their CB at the beginning of the match 20 yards from the end line and then 3 passes later, Big Red is clearing it in his own half. Bringing on Pause is the saddest thing that can happen in a match. I love Logan and everything he has done for the club but he should have walked away 2 years ago. Bringing him on is like telling the opposition, "We have no desire to win this game tonight." I would rather lose the match because we went to 3 in the back and tried to win. Why not bring on Baky and throw him up top at the end of the match? All we were doing is playing long balls and he can win a header. It's just sad. I might have to walk out next match if it's this same lineup. It's probably our worst lineup and we have had to sit through it for two matches.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    The Fire's midfield is porous at best. Crew had few problems moving the ball through that line. I am not going to complain about the defense, the Fire don't give up to many goals. But clearly, the midfield is no threat on either side of the ball.

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    when I saw the opening lineup I said shit another tie.
    Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting
    a different result. Difficult to see Ritter start again over Ship and Cocis. Not particularly disappointed By the Jones situation, feel the team could find a more offensive oriented player for that kind of money, but glad to see they are willing to spend some money, wouldn't find if the team would sign to quality players at 1.5 mil
    each. A forward from Argentina that played in the French league sounds more like a resume than anything else.

  • Really tired of the Magee situation. It doesn't seem like he can create his own shot opportunities, and complains when he doesn't get the ball, but also doesn't move, makes no attempt to press or get the ball back. We're playing all midfielders up top and only Shipp seems to be able to snap off a shot. What's the point of sending long balls to a couple of short guys who can't win in the air. At least Quincy gets up and wins some.. Magee doesn't even try to jump. We get overmatched physically across the field.

    Also, I know the announcers are probably not allowed to criticize, but calling Palmer's crosses or hot attempts ambitious is way too kind. It shows a lack of understanding on his part and poor coaching to see it repeated game in and game out. He should never take a shot, and should find someones foot rather than sending these wild screamers over everybody.

    We don't get numbers up field when every other team has 3-5 guys up by the box pressuring our defenders. These are the basics of the game and its just not happening with this team. Just maddening.

  • In reply to Bumsteer:

    Re: Magee, I agree. Here's what I want to know: he had an awesome half-season for us last year, and so his value increased. So he held out in preseason and got a huge pay bump. So now his value then, must have diminished; when the 2015 season starts, can we lock him out of the training facility until he re-signs at 45K/yr? It's only fair.

  • MLS... I have to say, its done well to restrict debt, but these cap rules also are the most confusing of any sport.

  • Picks tonight

    Houston and DC draw
    FC Dallas over Chivas USA

  • Episode 63 of the pod is up. Covered a variety of topics.

  • Guys I think that any expectation for a team that has an absantee owner should be extremely low. I am going to treat all fire mls games as friendlies I will enjoy the other teams talent and forget about the score. I have never followed baseball but this must be what the cubs fans are doing.

  • In reply to brokerjohn:

    I've been at this point just about all season, ever since the Klopas era first team failed Yallop at Chivas.

    Unfortunately, even trying to enjoy the other teams talent is difficult when every game drifts hopelessly towards a dreary tie.

    I'm not nor never have been a cubs (ew) fan, but I feel like they have an issue with always thinking this will be "their year" etc. I'd say we're all approaching Lions fan level. Just put a paper bag over your head and prepare for the 3-26-5 season.

  • In reply to brokerjohn:

    Absentee??? Dude, he always writes a pep letter every 3 years!

  • A few things:
    1. Quincy is the new version of Chad Barrett.
    2. The Fire have no idea what they are doing on offense. numerous times Magee and Quincy would get the ball on the wing and lift their head to find no one crashing the box.
    3. This whole "Andy has provided funds" is becoming to comical. Until he actually spends I'm not trusting a word out of any of the FO's mouths. It's like Yallop has to say those kind of things because it's in his contract.
    4. This is the first time in 12 years that I'm actually considering not renewing my season ticket. Why should I spend a good percentage of my time and money on this team when the owner doesn't? Why should I keep going to Toyota Park to put up with a crappy on field product when I can easily just sit at home and watch?

  • In reply to penapirata:

    Re: #4 - I find it both fiscally and morally more responsible to be in the privacy of my own home when the on-the-pitch perfomance forces "those" 4-letter descriptive adjectives from my mouth. Plus there's no line at the bathroom in a barf emergency!

  • It seems some of these guys have not responded to the new coaching staff. Guillermo.. any word from ownership about their view of this perennial mediocrity? The Fire never dominates possession against even the weakest opponents. Maybe the guys are just playing out the year at this point based on standings. It's got to be pretty disheartening to never get a win.

  • In reply to Bumsteer:

    Bumsteer, Yallop actually addressed that at the end of the press conference video above. I asked him what Hauptman's take was on the current state of things in regards to what they're trying to do, and their current run/record.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    For reference, it starts around the 7:30 mark of the video.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    Sounds like a "its part of my contract to say something nice about the owner to inflate his ego" type of thing. I'd be curious to know, after the next game if there are no signings, why there was no movement? Does Yallop think this team is capable of winning the MLS Cup? If funds were available why weren't they used? Something just doesn't sit right with the way the team has been run by ownership over the last 4 years.

  • Guillermo, maybe you can offer some insight - why were Berry and Anibaba traded for these losers? We replaced Anibaba and Berry with Ianni and Hurtado - two guys each five years older at higher salaries. Has the output improved? Certainly not...

  • In reply to manyou07:

    I have no real answers and would love to hear Yallop's answer to this question as well. But I'd also imagine he didn't like what he saw from the two and thought he could get more more hurtado (a former top 11 mls player), Soumare (ditto), and a serviceable backup in ianni...not to mention a fairly priced RB in Palmer (who I think has performed pretty much up to expectations). It hasn't worked out though and I didn't like the anibaba or berry moves from the start. It does prove that the experts don't necessarily know any better than you or I on any given occasion. And really, over the past few years these "experts" have proven to be anything but.

  • In reply to manyou07:

    Anibaba was traded because they wanted to improve the back line, they saw an opportunity to pick up veterans and they thought they'd be able to flip one in exchange for something else within the league. On hindsight, that didn't work.
    Berry was traded because they needed allocation money to give Magee his raise and buy down the DP hit. He was their most marketable commodity for allocation bucks so they traded him.

  • What time does the window close tomorrow? Is it 6pm CST to coincide with 12am(0:00)GMT in England? I have a fear that we won't see anything until 5:50pm CST in this case...

    ...if at all...

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    End of the day EDT on Wednesday.

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    The time is irrelevant, no reinforcements of note are coming.

  • Anything new on the transfer front or are they still waiting for dominoes to fall?

  • In reply to penapirata:

    Nothing new yet but there's a whole 27 hours left. Rios got done at the last minute last year after the deal was essentially dead just a few days earlier.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Yeah I'd rather not have anymore rent-a-DPs.

  • fb_avatar

    Agreed. Not going to get anyone exciting or of quality at this late stage, and if if we did put an offer out who is going to come to this sinking ship? Jones couldn't have been excited about the prospect of playing for this club right now so I'm sure that factored into his his decision.

  • In reply to Jeff S:

    I wouldn't count Jones out yet.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    We need Jones. A better Beckerman would be huge for our midfield and the freedom it'd provide for the other players. I'm not jumping off that train until it leaves the station completely.

    As for the Argentine forward...sounds like you have an idea of who it is, is that right G? If so, will you be able to provide the name after the deadline if it doesn't go through? Inquiring minds want to know.

    I'm anxiously waiting for some news...

  • In reply to Tweaky:

    I think we are ALL clinging desparately to whatever hope there may still be.

  • In reply to Tweaky:

    I'm hearing the deal for the Argentine forward is probably off.

    Also remember that the deadline for Jones is not today.

  • Guys not improving the second worst team in the league is a direct insult from HAuptman to the season ticket holders. I know that there are guys that will say its cap space, or give him more time bla bla bla. The fire has the least amount of talent, the worst coaching and the most spoiled unresponse owner in the league. After much thought it is obvious why yallop was let go by San Jose he cannot compete in the young talented mls. Yes he did win but that was years ago. Look at the personal moves that he has made. I am just sick sorry for being so negative but I just thought that at least they would do something.

  • In reply to brokerjohn:

    I disagree vis a vis Yallop.

    It was two seasons ago he won the Supporters Shield. His team went 19-6-9. MLS isn't THAT MUCH different from then to now.

    The reason he left San Jose was because he wanted a contract extension after that year and he wasn't given it. He's come to the Fire where the roster isn't great and salary cap constraints have existed.

    Has he made bad moves? Hurtado/Ianni hasn't worked out. I'd still argue that Anibaba and Berry aren't doing better where they are. Rolfe had been bad for a year and was eating up a lot of cash before he got traded. He's working out in D.C. but I can't blame Yallop for trading him as neither he or Klopas could seem to get anything more out of him.

    Unfortunately Berry had to be moved to afford Magee. This move is lauded by some now but what would the upheaval had been to have the MLS MVP sitting out the following year?

    Then there is Soumare's salary which is as close as a defender can get to DP money without being a DP. Truly one of the craziest deals signed by an MLS club (Philly) and then acquired by Leon/Klopas and the Fire. Baky continues to be himself, a couple decent performances accentuated by flabbergasting mistakes, miscues and brain farts.

    Bringing Jermaine Jones or "The Argentine Striker" wouldn't have really fixed things this year. It'd be a start, maybe it'd see the Fire get into that fifth playoff spot but what's the point? With 13 draws in 21 games, this team is the epitome of mediocrity.

    I'll judge Yallop through this offseason.

  • This is another example of the slow, steady decline of the organization. There used to be top talent organization wide, but as each bit departs, they are not replaced with comparable talent. From GM to the players, the team is a dried up husk of what it used to be.

    I agree that we have the least amount of talent, and tactically poor as well. We are the worst passing team in the league and show little to no sign of improving. J Jones is a competitor, why would he come to a tactically inept team that needs many components to be competitive? Just look at the revolving door of mid season additions, that is a clear warning sign in itself. Magee is the only one that has stuck the last few years and he seems to have been pulled down to the level of the team and lost the competitive fire he had last year.

    The team needs an owner who is not an absentee, a GM with a competitive streak and some scouts worth a damn. 10-14 years ago I would have agreed with the slogan "The Fire IS Chicago soccer", now it shows just how out of touch the organization is with reality. The bar has to be raised just a few notches...

  • fb_avatar

    So what did D.C. United do last year that turned them from the toilet to the top?

  • In reply to Jeff S:

    Completely new back line and Chris Rolfe. ;)

  • So no transfers or loans for anybody to help improve our 3 win season? now we are just counting on free agents who, if brought in, won't be match fit until September at the earliest? this plan is very ambitious.

  • Seaside you must be a cub fan

  • In reply to brokerjohn:

    Careful! There's a lot of us out here. :)

  • Guillermo--you are a saint! How you can maintain such an even-handed outlook for this travesty of an organization is miraculous. I am convinced that Hauptman is positioning himself to sell. The only question is when?? Any idea how much he could make at the current market for a franchise?

  • In reply to shortpasses:

    Thanks......even handed coverage is what my intention is.

    I don't think he's looking to sell but I believe a recent SBJ piece valued them at over $100m. That's a pretty big jump from the initial investment.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Worth a $100m? So they are only worth the price of a new franchise? Doesn't sound good with over a decade head start.

  • In reply to waamsy:

    To the contrary. Their value has almost tripled since 2007.

    You're comparing the entry cost for NYCFC. Orlando City was $70m.

  • Yallop says Sunday's game a must win...what will he do with the lineup to make it happen?

  • I'd love to read an article from you G on the closing of the transfer window. Who was this Argentine F that slipped through the cracks? Was he going to help? Or was he another poor excuse for an upgrade? And how confident - or not confident - are you in Jones coming in still? Why couldn't they get something done? Is Hauptman alive? Have they consciously decided to suck this year for better assets in the offseason (which I'm fine with if that was an actual decision) or are they actually trying but just inept at their jobs (which I'm afraid is the actual reason nothing happened)? Why did they clear out their entire front line for friggin Fondy? We do know that he is no good, right? And God forbid a forward gets hurt, where does that leave us? I get a lot of what seaside said above, and I agree with it to an extent, but I have not been impressed at all so far with Yallop and Bliss' handling of the roster, and obviously Hauptman's run as the owner goes without saying. I'm tired of watching, caring, reading these blogs, investing emotional energy...and feeling as if the organization doesn't give a shit or doesn't have any clue as to how to put a quality team on the pitch. I'll put it this way, if we are in this same position next year I'm just going to choose to stop caring. There are many other teams in town that I love as well, so why put myself through this crap? I can still love soccer but just not care about the Fire one way or another. Owners can ruin teams, and the Fire is being ruined by Hauptman and Co and I for one am up to my forehead with frustration and disappointment with bad decision after bad decision. 12 months...hear me now and believe me later - if we suck next year at this time with the same level of ineptitude and no hope for the future, with the same crap owner, I'm out...

  • In reply to Tweaky:

    Some of those answers coming today.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Good. The comment section on this article is getting reeeeeaaaaaallllllly long. XD

    And Tweaky, I'm feelin' you. It all actually started feeling...old today.

    Now about that Open Cup run...

  • Several years ago arguing for truth in advertising I suggested
    that the team rename themselves the Bridgeview Wesuck.
    I would be tempted to suggest that name again, but they're
    just not good enough to be called Wesuck.
    Getting Fondy while releasing Orr didn't make a lot of sense,
    at least Orr had an idea of where the opponents goal was located
    which puts him ahead of several other players on the team.
    I'm not particularly a Jones fan and have some reservation if
    he is the player the team needs, although he would be a significant
    upgrade. It may be likely that the team may not have a significant
    signing this year which would be pretty much a revolting development and displays how pathetic the Fire organization really is.

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