Fire 1 Red Bulls 0 - recap and ratings

The Fire's second win of the season at Toyota Park has pulled them to within two points of 5th place Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference. A hard fought team win wasn't high on flash but did show that Chicago is capable of completing and closing out a good defensive outing.

On the other side of the pitch, there were still difficulties in the final third against a questionable back line. The only goal of the match came from a missed penalty kick as the Fire are still lacking a pure finisher.

The Fire still have a long way to go despite the proximity to a playoff position. Only 5 of the club's 12 remaining matches are at home.

Player ratings

GK Sean Johnson (6) - Four saves on the night but his defense kept the easy looks to a minimum. Second clean sheet in three matches.

D Lovel Palmer (6) - Good start with two dangerous crosses in the first half. Played well in combination and also solid in the back.

D Jeff Larentowicz (6) - Seems to be settling in at center back. Very effective in the air most of the night. Pairing with Soumare worked in neutralizing New York's dangerous attackers for most of the night.

D Bakary Soumare (7) - Stellar outing in his return to the line up after a two game exile resulting from the San Jose debacle. Two stone stone cold top flight tackles on Wright-Phillips in the 20th and 26th minutes. Watch Soumare talk about his man of the match performance here.

D Gonzalo Segares (6) - Tasked with defending against Loyd Sam on the night he also contributed a good defensive shift.

M Alex (5) - Managed a shot on goal in the 24th but lucky not to pick up a yellow card after a dive in the 8th minute. Didn't get much forward after that but did help in team defense.

M Razvan Cocis (6) - Put in a full shift in his first start and contributed with a solid if unspectacular play. New York held a 60-40 overall possession advantage but there wasn't much danger. Cocis is definitely a notch above Ritter or Watson in center midfield.

M Matt Watson (6) - Good effort, particularly in late in the second half as the Fire looked to kill the game.

M Harry Shipp (6) - Quiet in the first half but more involved in the second. Two shots on goal didn't really bother Robles but he was active in the final 45.

F Mike Magee (6) - Seems to be slowly picking up  form. His penalty kick was stopped but he did not panic and put away the rebound. Worked better in combination with Amarikwa than he has in some time.

F Quincy Amarikwa (6) - Drew the foul in the 37th leading to the penalty award. Also did a good job late in the game in keeping the ball away from New York to seal the win. Double block out in the corner showed his strength.

D Grant Ward (5) - Came in at right back to replace Palmer in the 88th.

M Logan Pause (5) - Entered the match in the 88th for Magee.

Next up

The season may ride on Wednesday night's US Open Cup semi final against Seattle.

Filed under: 2014 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • Does it bother anyone else that the Fire can not maintain possession? I think out of the 2 games this year the Fire have had the majority of possession 3 or 4 times. It's sickening to think back in October we heard Yallop utter "I like pretty soccer too". Apparently he likes the long ball more.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    I think the possession issues have more to do with the weakness we've had in the midfield all season and less to do with the desire for long ball. Quite frankly, I don't think Frank trusts our current midfield. Losing Rios probably has hurt us a lot more than we realized - causing less position and exposing more weaknesses in the back line than I think any of us expected. Losing Nyarko has completely turned off any forward momentum or creativity (that's the only excuse that I can come up with on why we've stopped scoring or even creating chances over the last two months.) If the midfield can not move the ball, the only hope is to pop it over the midfield and pray for a break away. Teams can figure that out pretty quickly and shut it down. Our lack of depth has really hurt us this year.

  • In reply to jhholda:

    I don't think losing Rios has had a great affect. They were 4-3-2 last year when Rios played with 12 goals for and 15 against. Two of those wins were also against horrible DC and Toronto teams in the last few weeks of the season. He was decent in those 9 games but didn't really make the impact they thought he would.

  • We haven't played a possession game in a long time. Under Klopas we were a counter team and that still seems what we do. Graft and then hope to pip a goal

  • We never looked in real trouble at all last night. It was a fine performance. Baky looked good because he was making tackles and playing simple passes. Funny how that happens. We struggle because we have no width in the team. Our two wide players have played centrally their whole lives. They love to come inside and it makes things very easy to defend. Then Magee is dropping 30 yards back to get the ball and we now have 5 players in the middle with Quincy alone up top. A defensive dream for the opponent. I don't see enough of a difference in big red and jhon but I see a huge difference in the central midfield since we have moved him back there. It's hard to keep possession of the ball if both cm's don't really want the ball. And what does Joya have to do to get in this team. He goes a full 90 for the u-23's and then can't make the 18 ahead of Logan Pause? We need something new in this team. Youthful energy could really help. Someone to get involved in the attack from the middle of the field would be nice.

  • Seems like this backline may be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Larentowicz gets better each game in that position, and I think he's more of a calming presence for Soumare than anyone else. Hurtado is a serviceable CB, but if Soumare/Larentowicz works, FY has to stick with that.

    It's still troubling to see them forgo the midfield play for the sake of working it through the outside backs so much. Although they probably won't do anything in this regard now, getting a central attacking option in the midfield should be priority one in the offseason.

    Much better outing from a team at the top of the conference though. Hopefully it gives them some momentum and confidence going into Seattle on Wednesday.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    I actually saw Larentowicz taking Soumare to task a few times for not communicating effectively last night in the second half, when they were on our side of the field. Sourmare was upset but responded with better play. If it take Big Red to get this kind of performance out of him then I'd say they keep the "Sourentowicz" line going.

    Now to just get Palmer to work on his decision making skills and we'll start seeing some positive things take shape!

  • Sure am thankful for the Red Bulls. ;)

    SJ had a huge save in the 2nd half against Wright Phillips that should be mentioned. Nice to see Soumare have a great game but we've seen it before - he has talent but it's not worth much without consistency. Cocis...I couldn't quite tell. For awhile it seemed he was invisible, but he had some better moments as the game went on imo. He does seem an upgrade as a central mid partner for whoever else plays there, but to piggyback off Jeff's comment, I too would really love to see a dangerous CAM brought in this offseason. Nothing would change our team more.

  • I thought Watson played well. Shipp's vision is great, but he gives the ball away to more physical players. His defense is suspect given his lack of speed. Palmer has never made a cross worth a damn all year. He has got to improve. I would start Grant Ward at right back. Can't wait to see a Ward and Nyarko lineup on the right side.

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