Fire 1 FC Dallas 0 - recap and ratings

What looked like it might be draw number fifteen for 82 minutes turned into a solid home win against the hottest team in the league. Robert Earnshaw's score in the 83rd gave the Fire a 1-0 victory over an FC Dallas club that hadn't lost since May 31.

While the match wasn't a work of art for either side, the Fire did turn in a professional performance that rewarded the amount of work put in. Chicago held a 51-49 possession advantage (56-44 in the first half) and completed 85% of their passes. Both numbers are improvements over most games this season and Earnshaw's goal gave them what them been missing in most home games. Timely finishing combined with solid defensive work has not been seen very often at Toyota Park this season.

The win keeps the Fire within striking distance of the fifth place team in the East. Columbus currently occupies that spot on 33 points and Chicago is in eighth place with 29. The club would likely need to win at least 6 or 7 of their remaining nine games to get in which makes a playoff appearance highly unlikely but the quality (or lack thereof) in the Eastern Conference will keep every team hoping for a miracle run to finish the season.

Player ratings

GK Sean Johnson (6) - Credited with two saves with the biggest coming in the 40th minute when his leg save denied Castillo from close range. Good command of the box.

D Lovel Palmer (6) - Two shots on goal from distance with the attempt in the 16th minute having to be cleared for a corner kick after the initial save.

D Bakary Soumare (7) - What makes Soumare's season so frustrating is that he turns in excellent performances sandwiched around less than stellar outings. After an own goal last week, he was very good in this match. Several outstanding blocked shots, timely tackles, and even quality distribution marked a quality outing.

D Jeff Larentowicz (7) - Limited FC Dallas attackers to very few clean looks and placed a perfectly executed cross into the box for the assist on Earnshaw's game winner. Not many center backs in MLS would have made that play.

D Gonzalo Segares (6) - The Fire's outside backs did well to contain FC Dallas' wide players with Escobar and Hollingshead switching sides regularly. Contributed on both ends.

M Grant Ward (6) - Very active in the first half as the Fire's best player going forward. Two shots attempts both were wide of the target.

M Razvan Cocis (6) - The Fire's midfield had control of the match for once and the Cocis/Watson combination worked well in this one. Kept the ball moving positively.

M Matt Watson (6) - Like Cocis, there was little that was spectacular but most of his night was positive. Yallop addressed their play in his post game press conference.

M Alex (5) - Didn't get forward much working on the left side but overall team game was a small improvement over previous outings.

F Sanna Nyassi (5) - With Magee unavailable and Shipp on the bench, Nyassi got a run in the underneath forward spot. Not outstanding but did earn a few kicks.

F Quincy Amarikwa (5) - Another typical night with a high work rate. Three shots attempted with none on goal.

F Robert Earnshaw (7) - Played the hero off the bench for the second consecutive week. Earnshaw can finish when he gets in position and service is available. Got close to a second chance in stoppage time after an Amarikwa pass was cut off by Fernandez before Earnshaw could get to it. Had yet another chance at a second goal in stoppage time when a break on goal drew Fernandez out but his attempt was just high. Catch his post game comments here. High quality 27 minutes after replacing Nyassi.

M Harry Shipp (5) - Some saw this as a rookie of the year showdown with Dallas' Tesho Akindele but neither managed much. The goal was scored after his Larentowicz chased down his corner kick service. 27 minutes played as a sub for Ward.

F Matt Fondy (5) - Late stoppage time sub for Amarikwa.

Next up

A trip to New England next Saturday where I hear the Revolution have a new center midfielder you may have heard of.

Reserves win

The Fire Reserves defeated FC Dallas 2-1 this morning via goals from Matt Fondy and trialist Florent Sinama Pongolle. The game winner was a penalty kick in stoppage time.

Patrick Nyarko made his first competitive appearance since May 18. Top prospects Collin Fernandez, Mauricio Pinedo, and Cam Lindley also played.


GK Reynish

D Pineda, Ritter, Ianni, Cochrane

M Fernandez (Nyarko 70'), Pause, Joya, Shipp (Lindley 57')

F Pongolle, Fondy


Filed under: 2014 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • fb_avatar

    This team just perplexes me. The few wins and hard-fought away ties this season have come against defending MLS Cup champions, Supporters Shield winners, 'the hottest team in the league' and yet they crumble to pieces on the pitch against basement dwellers (San Jose) and B-Squad USOC lineups (Seattle).

  • In reply to Jeff S:

    It always seems like there's a relegated team in England that performs the same way. I know wolves did it a couple seasons ago. Aston Villa would lose all their home games then beat Chelsea away, etc.
    I don't know why but it seems to happen.

  • The difference maker in the past 2 games was Earnshaw. His goal against Toronto allowed us to get the draw and his goal against Dallas gave us the win. I'm disappointed that Yallop is already talking about using him as a super sub without even seeing him start for the Fire.

  • So Shipp has tired legs, which is why his minutes have been reduced, and he's playing 57 minutes in a reserve game the next day? WTH? I don't get the way this club operates and develops its younger players.

  • In reply to Bumsteer:

    I found that a little odd too.

  • fb_avatar

    It sounds like a disorganized club to me. I have yet to sense any kind of system or coherent organization from the management in charge of this club.

    What direction are we supposed to going and who has the compass? Do we have a compass?

    It is frustrating to say the least. Shipp played 57 minutes in a reserve game? Really, what kind of sense does that make?

  • I just don't get this Earnshaw character. He comes on late, runs around, and puts the ball into the opponent's net. It just doesn't seem like appropriate behavior for someone wearing a Fire jersey.

  • How log did Earnshaw sign for? I thought he came across as a solid character in the post game interview.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    He's signed through this year with a club option for next year.

  • Bakary Soumare has been named to MLS team of the week.

  • So I take it that Andrew will not build a city based stadium for Chicago Fire II in USLPro?

  • In reply to penapirata:

    The Fire's USLPro affiliate will be in St. Louis.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    That's weird why not affiliate with Indy and the man we wish was with the Fire organization still Peter Wilt?!

    STL is kinda close to KC really.

    Our amateur leadership continues on with embarassing moves...not trying to disrespect STL, don't know about them but why not a USL affiliate around Chicago like even in Milwaukee if not Chicago area? Indy would be ok as well and I guess almost as far as STL just SE of us compared to STL SW of Chicago.

  • In reply to smiley:

    That was water that went over the dam some time ago. Review G's 05/01/2014 column.

    I'm still trying to fathom the origins of Penapirata's question. Did something of interest come out about the St. Louis stadium?

  • In reply to Arklow:

    No nothing that I know of out of Saint Louis. It's just the fact that RSL is funding a downtown stadium complex for their stand alone RSL II team.
    Why isn't the Fire doing something like this? Why are they not just fielding a Fire II team? Is the Fire affiliating with Saint Louis because it is the cheaper thing to do? Why have some other coaching staff develop your players than rather have your own staff develop them? There are so many possibilities with a Fire II team and I just feel that the owner just wants to do what is the cheaper thing to do by affiliating with Saint Louis.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    Thanks for the clarification. Those are all good points and I suspect your suspicions of cheapness as a greater priority than success are right on target.

    If only Efficiency Andy had realized that not owning an MLS franchise is cheaper than owning one!

  • Seeing as how Andy got some play money from his wife for his pet MLS team, I submit this name as good DP target:

    Also, where the hell is Jeff Crandall? It's oddlt eerie in the twittweverse without Jefe in there...

  • Although I"d prefer Indianapolis, still St. Louis makes a lot of sense
    although it's about a 100 miles further away from Chicago than Indy.
    Locally in St. Louis there is an interest in obtaining a MLS
    franchise in the future, and having affiliation with the Firre
    would be a natural stepping stone in that direction. A Chicago/St. Louis rivalry would be a positive for MLS.
    I don't think Indy is seeking aMLS franchise currently although
    it will be interesting to see how Wilt's team develops soccer interest in that area. Indy would be a natural rivalry for Chicago.

  • "Big" press conference announcement (?) tomorrow at 1 pm at Toyota Park according to the Fire web site. Hope springs eternal!

  • In reply to Arklow:

    Ronaldinho coming in? That might do a lot to fill out TP! I'm starting the rumor here and hoping it comes true!

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    Definitely not Ronaldinho.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Any hints Guillermo?

  • In reply to Arklow:

    They're probably going to announce $1 hot dogs for Jones's visit to TP, to try to drum up some more interest. Or better yet, first 1,000 fans get an AH bobblehead.

    Whatever it is, it may partially explain Jefe Crandall's absence as noted by Coquito. That said, I'm not sure he'd disappear for $1 hotdogs.

  • No doubt they will be announcing a new corporate sponsor,
    the Wilby Leakey Condom Corporation.

  • USMNT and Fire great Carlos Bocanegra has announced his retirement. He's in the team picture of best Fire players over the first 17 years in club history.

  • I live in STL and putting an MLS team here is nuts! This is a baseball town first, last, and always! Look at the Rams--- if they aren't Super Bowl champs you can get home game tickets for free. It's a soccer town but that's youth soccer plus St. Louis U ONLY!
    Actually now that I think about it, AH and STL is a match made in heaven! A perfect example of his management and soccer acumen.

  • Not surprised at this point about the Pause retirement. Very emotional. Great guy.

    That's a reason to push for the final playoff spot.

  • Nice to see a good guy like Logan making it off the Titanic before it goes down.

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