Impact 1 Fire 0 - recap and ratings

After a resounding defeat at the hands of the Seattle Sounders in the US Open Cup semi-final on Wednesday night, the Fire were hoping to make a move upward in the Eastern Conference standings against the bottom dwellers in the table. Chicago came into the match only two points out of the fifth spot in the East and clinging to the hope that a good late season run could salvage something out of the 2014 campaign.

The Fire responded to the 6-0 loss three days ago with another uninspired thud. A 1-0 loss to Frank Klopas and the Montreal Impact keeps the Fire in ninth place and cements the reality that they're just not good enough to seriously challenge for post season contention. Neither side was particularly good on the night and it seemed that a scoreless draw was in the works for most of the match until Marco Di Vaio put away his only chance in the 84th minute.

While continuing to give up possession to just about every opponent, in almost any circumstance, the Fire don't create enough opportunities to beat teams and can't finish the chances they do muster. Another defensive shake up was probably the result of a short turnaround with 3 games in 7 days but there doesn't seem to be a winning combination for Frank Yallop no matter who is shuffled into the line up.

The Fire are still mathematically alive due to the parity and outright lack of quality in the East but a realistic and honest look at where the club is now offers no inclination that Chicago deserves or is even capable of qualifying for a playoff position. This loss won't end the charade of playoff contention with eleven games to go but the last two games indicate the Fire can't beat the good teams, or the bad.

Ironically, on a dreary day in Montreal, it took Frank Klopas' new team to make that abundantly clear.

Player ratings

GK Sean Johnson (6) - Wasn't bombarded in the last few minute by attackers with free looks after his defenders quit, like they did in Seattle. Di Vaio got one good look and put it away. Johnson did come up with a big stop on Romero in the 60th minute to keep the game scoreless.

D Greg Cochrane (5) - Had moderate success getting forward and didn't get beat as often as he had before Gonzalo Segares returned to reclaim the left back spot.

D Patrick Ianni (5) - Back in the line up for this game and wasn't awful but did get sucked in and took himself out of the play on Di Vaio's goal.

D Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (5) - Like Ianni, he also took himself out of the play on Di Vaio's goal by charging over to help, leaving the center of the box open. Adequate for the remainder of the match.

D Lovel Palmer (5) - One of the few Fire players that showed some energy in the attack and was probably the Fire's best threat in the first half. Caught out of position on more than occasion by Eric Miller. Where was he on Di Vaio's goal?

M Jeff Larentowicz (5) - Back in midfield after Wednesday night's horror show. Almost scored the equalizer in stoppage time.

M Matt Watson (4) - As the Fire continue to chase and give up possession there's just not much coming out of the middle of the pitch. Passing (by the team as a whole) was atrocious.

M Alex (4) - The Fire's wide players were completely absent in the this game.

M Harry Shipp (4) - Maybe it's tired legs or the rookie wall but even his corner kick service isn't what it used to be earlier in the season.

F Razvan Cocis (4) - With Amarikwa on the bench, Yallop tried a different look with Cocis up higher on the pitch. It didn't work. He also showed his lack of pace late in the game, getting beat by Miller to set up the winning goal.

F Mike Magee (4) - He didn't play on Wednesday so one assume he was fresh and ready to go. Had an opportunity to get further up the pitch where he's needed with Amarikwa sitting but continues to frustrate himself and probably his teammates and coaching staff. Spent a good portion of his last few minutes on the pitch on the opposite side of midfield where the right back should be. In a telling example of how far he's fallen, he was taken off with 4 minutes left and the Fire trailing by one.

F Quincy Amarikwa (4) - Came on for Alex in the 60th minute. Contributed a couple of give aways immediately upon entering.

M Sanna Nyassi (6) - Came into the match in the 73rd minute and provided some spark. Earned two corner kicks.

M Grant Ward (5) - Subbed in for Magee in the 86th.

Next up

A road game next Saturday in Toronto.

Yallop told reporters after the match that the Fire are continuing to wait on the outcome of negotiations between Jermaine Jones and MLS. "I think we're pretty close, but until it's signed, you don't know," said Yallop.

At this point, the Jones saga is almost as tiring as the Fire's first 23 games this season.

Filed under: 2014 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • Thanks for the continued honest analysis Guillermo.. gotta be tough to find words for this club's lack of performance or even pride.

    Hard to see how this gets turned around any time soon. Quit going to games and not going to watch any more either. Maybe losing supporters will force some changes in the FO.

  • In reply to Bumsteer:

    Seconded on the honesyt. Glad you don't parse words.

    FWIW, I liked some of Larentowicz's defensive work. He covered ground on counters that had me wondering where the center backs were. ??

    The poor performance of the team just leaves me scratching my head.

  • In reply to Bumsteer:

    I could see how this could get turned around, quite quickly in fact. But with Hauptman leading the way, I think it's not likely.

  • Jones wouldn't turn the Fire around, it's only putting on a bandage when major surgery is required. The Fire looks like a run down junk yard, filled with a lot of useless used parts.
    Same defensive mistakes game after game, no matter who is playing
    and an offense that is as bad as the defense

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    Major surgery?!? Don't you mean frontal lobotomy?

    Thank God the English Championship season started last week and the Premiership this week. Now I can watch some quality play without it being at the expense of the Smolder (formerly known as the Fire).

    I fell asleep trying to watch that mess last night. Woke up just after the start of the second half and hadn't missed a thing. Managed to stay awake through the second by video gaming and just half-watching the "match."

  • I agree, Jones may be an upgrade but would tie up way too much cash on one position when so many others need upgrading as well.

    No investment for upgrades to start the season, no difference makers mid season, signing 33 year old oft injured forwards who haven't played on a year....the team does have some direction, rock bottom...

  • By now, it is obvious to everyone, that Hauptman has no regard for the "product" he's producing. He's an investor first, last, and always. At the moment he is sitting on a profitable investment---based on what he paid originally and what the going rate is now. However, as the value of his team plummets, he needs to unload quickly or face the prospect of seeing his potential gains eliminated. A franchise's worth is based on performance and "good will". In both areas, it's time to go home!!!!

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    West side, west side, west side ..... Who's the worst??
    FIRE!!! (the owner)

  • rolfe with 5 goals this season.. so glad we got rid of him we couldn't use him at all.. or berry, or anibaba...outside of Shipp what move has worked out this year? Maybe palmer?

  • Shocking team, close to unwatchable and now going on 5 years. trading two young center backs for 2 more expensive and less capable ones negates even the few positive developments during that 5 year span. I see no improvement in our full backs, Shipp is our only decent midfielder and we have no forwards.
    If we had owners like SKC, Portland or Seattle, indeed every team including the Revs, Chicago would be a top soccer town. Every thing about the Fire from their website to their broadcasts is Mickey Mouse, below par in every respect.

  • Today's show is up in podcast format for those interested.

  • It is so clear that the ownership does not care about the product on the field or worse has no clue how to put a decent product on the field. The only hope for this team is if they stumble into a home grown player. Even then they will play him out of position. I would love to see an interview with Peter Wilt to see his assessment of the franchise.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    well, they'll stumble onto a high draft pick and a high allocation pick, so there's hope outside of a homegrown player.

  • In reply to Tweaky:

    That's what is wrong with American sports, you get rewarded for playing bad. Just saying.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    All for the sake of parity....err, competition.

  • Bumsteer is correct that the only way the front office will listen if you hit them in the wallet. Don't buy a ticket. If you have to go, refrain from buying beer and other concessions. Plummeting profits are the only way owners listen.

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    In reply to FrontRow:

    This will be the first season I don't go to a game, and I now live even closer to the stadium than I ever have. In fact I've attended more Liverpool matches this year (1) than Fire matches (0).

  • I see a lot of people blaming Hauptman for everything, and he needs a lot of blame, but when does Yallop have to be held accountable? He is the one that has been making all of these moves for "cap reasons." He has given away our youth with low salaries for "experienced" players with big contracts that we cannot give away to teams. The only positive move he made was the easiest move to make and that was signing Shipp. He gets rid of Anibaba, Berry, Rolfe, and Duka and the signs players like Fondy, Nyassi, Cocis, Ianni, Hurtado, Watson, and Ward. He also brought in Joya, who is a regular for the u-23's, and then chooses to play Ritter, Pause, or Watson ahead of him? Joya plays a full 90 for the u-23's but can't even make the 18 for the Fire?! We were down 4-0 to Seattle and Yallop brought on Fondy, Ritter, and Pause. We now have an older team that still has "cap problems."

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    The good thing is that they should be able to shed a good chunk of the veteran big salaries this winter.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Are we going to sign Joya on a permanent deal?

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    I agree that at some point Yallop has to be accountable, but half a season isn't long enough to judge his efforts in my opinion, especially since he's taken on both coaching and player acquisition roles. While I don't agree with getting rid of young talented players (Berry, Anibaba) to bring in journeymen (Hurtado, Ianni), I understand the cap purpose in doing so while acknowledging that they're stopgaps. Watson and Ward are a bit younger; Nyassi and Fondy seem to also be stopgaps. If the Duka for Nyassi trade doesn't make sense, moving Anongono out to bring in Fondy has to be a positive in terms of cap space, is at worst neutral on the field in my mind, and may have helped in the locker room for all I know. Rolfe is another story; though he's one of my favorite MLS players, he seemed to be slumping for Chicago and may have needed a change.

    The jury's got to be out on Cocis until he gets more time.

    I guess what I'm saying is that I'm incredibly frustrated with the team, and have been since about 2010. The Fire organization needs to do better at putting a team on the field that lives up to the rest of their off-the-field work. Like it or not, the community relations and marketing ultimately will live or die by the performances on the field and the ability of the technical staff to put together a team that can challenge for trophies rather than the last ticket into the playoffs. I am not in the Chicago area now, and all I can say is that the Fire are at best an afterthought on the East coast - no buzz, no interest, no excitement, and certainly no sales. (I get lots of questions when I wear one of my Fire caps about if I'm a fireman).

    So to sum up, I'm willing to give Yallop more time in his job since he and Bliss just came on and 2014 has to be seen as a rebuilding year. Hauptman has been in his chair a lot longer, and while my view of his performance is negative, it'll get better if Yallop and Bliss put together a better squad in 2015.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    Many good points there and well stated. As you said, Yallop and Bliss are entitled to more time and, therein, lies the only reason I haven't SHUT the door on this mess. But I am at the point where I'm mostly avoiding looking square on at the situation in an effort to avoid further upsetting my digestive system.

    Like Jeff S said above... I too have seen Liverpool live this year but not the Fire, although (UNLIKE Jeff) I do feel a deep sense of guilt and shame for possessing 2 tickets to the Montrial game Oct 5th. Perhaps I could relive the 60's by holding a public burning as though it was my draft card. :)

  • In reply to Arklow:

    This next transfer window will be a HUGE one for the entire organization. They'll be able to clear some cap space and will have money to pursue better talent.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    HUGE is right! The franchise cannot afford to fail any further without serious repercussions. I would say it's make or break.

  • In reply to Arklow:

    Well, I wrote this after listening to the pre-All-Star Fire Confidential podcast with Jeff and Guillermo's extended plea to firmly but respectfully demand more from the organization.

    It makes sense to me but at least twice this season I have been stopped from becoming a DC United or Philly fan (I can get to either park in an hour and a half or so). I would have switched if my kids let me, but they're into the idea that the team needs its fans the most when it's at its lowest.

    But it's completely illogical. It means we are willfully spending our leisure time doing something that we know will cause us emotional and psychological pain. Gamedays offer a glimmer of distant hope, the possibility of something changing on the field in a positive way, and the day after I'm always depressed. I'm like Charlie Brown trying to kick that football and Lucy (Hauptman?) always pulling it away and smiling as I hurtle through the air and fall on my back in a cloud of dust.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    I'm with you Modibo. With the European leagues underway and easy to watch the team is doing very little to appeal to the MANY MANY soccer fans in town who don't regularly watch MLS.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    I love that Charlie Brown/Lucy analogy. I feel the exact same way. It's been the same thing year after year, the fans clamoring for a big offseason signing with nothing to show, and then half-ass attempts at mid-season to fix the issues to no positive affect. And round and round we go...

    I'm in a similar boat too, living in Oregon with the amazing Portland Timbers experience beckoning. I don't take jumping ship lightly. Next summer I'll reconsider to see where the team is I also won't be made a fool by Hauptman and Co. At a certain point it just stops being fun, which is the whole point.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    You just described sports fandom. ;)

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    I'm from Cleveland. Need I say more?

  • In reply to Modibo:

    Agree on many points. Right now, my gut is seeing in 2015 that we do really good in the first third of the season and that is enough of a bump to hold through a rather mediocre rest of the season, but we do make the playoffs. I guess we'll see how accurate that is.

    It certainly sucks to be a Fire fan, right now. That's for sure.

    That said, ICE CREAM NACHOS are coming back.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    Sure he might need more time but he has made a lot of changes to this team and not one of them has improved our team. Shipp was a no brainer that you cant give him credit for. Fondy is a slower, less talented Anongano. Atleast Anongano looked like he was trying out there. Fondy is the attacking version of Logan Pause. When he is on the field, we wont win. It makes me question everything about him and his staff because they watched him played and thought, "he looks like a good player." Yallop has lost every trade that he has made so far. Anibaba for Ianni and Hurtado, Rolfe for whatever we got, Berry for "MLS money" that is somehow going to help us out of "cap trouble," Duka for Nyassi. Those are all trades that the other team is walking away with a smile and we are not. Widely rumored that Jones wants 3 million a year. He offers him 2.5. That sure looks like a move that is saying "We tried..." We have seen enough of Cocis to know that he is not going to set this league on fire and control a match. He is not better than the already over loaded central midfielders that we have. Matt Watson is 29 years old and an MLS journeyman at best. Ward is on loan and we are most likely not going to keep him. Joya was a nice move in theory until he never plays him because Ritter, Pause, Watson, and Cocis are such better options than a captain of our u-23's. Yallop has made a lot of moves that havent worked out, I am dreading what he is going to do in the off season...

  • ESPNs Jeff Carlisle is reporting that a league source now says Jones will not be subject to allocation.

    Stay tuned folks. This saga is almost over.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    I still say Jones would be a bad signing, they already have one player going through the motions after his big payday, we do not need another. Right idea, wrong player.

    11 games and this train wreck of a season comes to a halt.

  • In reply to DerSting:

    You may be right, but I think it'd be a good signing. I see RSL/Beckerman and what an advantage it gives them year in and year out. It's too late for this year, but it'd give us a very solid player to work with into next year. Work him into the team now, so next year he's not completely new. Of course it would all depend on the many other moves to come as well.

  • But who would score the goals, were a bit short on both sides of the ball, Jones mainly is a defensive midfielder, he may keep us in some games we should have lost, but I'd rather see the team sign several quality players than putting their eggs in one basket though it's a bit late in the season to find top flight players.
    The only thing that makes sense is that they sign Jones now then plan to make several significant signings in 2015.
    If he's the only player in the mix it would be a waste of time, though if we had Jones we'd be odds on favorites to break the record of ties in a MLS season.

  • Guys. I am an old x players that has been a devoted fan my entire life. There are certain facts about this Fire team that are evident. The first and most glaring is that yallop has completely lost the team. Professional Teams just do not lose 6 and 5 to one without serious problems within the locker room.
    The second very evident fact is that Yallop and bliss are in way over their heads in the trading game. Every move that they have made has been a loser. They gave up developing first round picks for some over the hill not to smart fullbacks that are worthless. The Rolfe deal is just evidence of how they cannot grade talent.
    Finally the game time management has been just terrible. There are three games that one could say were directly lost by the coaching staff. The first game against chivas, he used a team that had no clue what they were doing. The Anongano penalty kick game and the colorado game .
    I listened to the last podcast with Guillermo ,
    , Jeff Crandel and the Spanish commentator. Honestly I could not believe what I was heAring. Jeff who has to be an employee of the fire was actually saying that we should give Yallop and Bliss more time to develop their plan. I have to ask what plan. At this time last year the team was on a run for the playoffs . This years team is completely lost. Yallop and bliss should be fired at the end of this season . I have been a season ticket holder since the start but will not renew until I see major changes in the team and management. I desperately want a good team for chicago but to week in and week out watch this poorly coached confused team attempt to be competitive in the mls is a disaster.

  • In reply to brokerjohn:

    Couple things here are contradictory.

    You say:

    "the first game against chivas, he used a team that had no clue what they were doing."

    But then:

    "at this time last year the team was on a run for the playoffs"

    That team that was on a run for the playoffs WAS the team that started the game against Chivas that, admittedly, had no clue. Don't act like Yallop inherited a good team. The team was good late from 2011 through most of 2012 mostly because of Pardo, Grazzini and Freidrich. After (during for Grazzini) the 2012 season we lost all three, and Klopas/Leon/Hauptman (whoever) failed to replace them with quality (worse yet, replaced Freidrich with the monumental salaried Soumare).

    I know Yallop started the season saying the team "just needed tweaking" or something along those lines, but that's a load of bull and everyone should realize that.

    The moves Yallop's made haven't worked out, but he's been purging the Klopas era crap as much as he has been making poor moves of his own. I can argue about the Berry/Anibaba thing all day, but that was crap in/crap out really. Dumb move in the long run, but salary cap-wise, not on-the-field-wise. Apart from that and trading Rolfe (which was awful any way you slice it), all the moves so far are about getting rid of the leftover junk from 2011/12.

    These stop players (Watson, Ianni, etc.) seem to have contracts that end after this season. I'm pretty sure that some of the other stupid contracts (Nyarko at close to 300k, Soumare) end after this season. Anangono, Duka (overpaid), and Puppo are gone.

    It's a purge. That's why people are saying to give Yallop time.

  • In reply to TomazPP:

    Pardo, Grazzini and Freidrich. <---------this

    And I see nothing wrong with entering critique of Yallop/Bliss' moves as being poor/questionable/bad/flops into the realm of public discussion. The left glove fell off after San Jose, the right one after Seattle.

  • In reply to TomazPP:

    Berry was an MLS rookie of the year and Anibaba was an every game starter for two years. Both could be starters in this league for another 7-8 years with no problems. Getting rid of them was a terrible move. Berry for "MLS money" and Anibaba for these two jokes is awful. Now we are left hoping that we can find a player like Anibaba and Berry when these contracts expire. Dilly Duka was very good last year for us. Nyarko has been our most dangerous player for years. If we are losing all these players in the off season, where are we going to get the new players from? Yallop needs to make something happen quickly

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Nyarko looks to be pretty much done for the season regardless of what he's done in the past. He's been poor/injured for the better part of 2 seasons. He's not worth 265k+. It's not 2010 anymore; at this point in his illustrious career of being overrated by Fire fans, he's only going to get worse.

    Duka was good last year, but he's always has had an inflated salary for some reason. I was more on the fence about this one, but he wasn't playing for whatever reason so his salary was a good one to shed.

    Berry was RotY because of Freidrich. In retrospect Hedges (from FCD) should have won, he's the better CB.

    Neither Anibaba nor Berry are close to being starters this year. Berry isn't even 2nd string for a team that is nearly as shitty as the Fire. Anibaba is on a very good team, so doesn't get as many minutes as with the Fire, but has had some very poor individual games when he has played.

    I'm not defending Hurtado or Ianni; they are shit, but just because Anibaba and Berry were young and cheap doesn't make them good players or automatic starters, it just makes them marketable. The defensive records for the first 23 games this year vs the first 23 games last year are nearly identical (both are bad). (34 GA, 3 SO last year, 35 GA, 4 SO this year). I stand by my shit in/shit out statement. I also stand by the fact it was a dumb move in the long run because of Hurtado and Ianni's salaries and zero resale value, but either way, if the Fire wanted to be decent, on evidence from this year, they would have needed to replace at least one of Anibaba/Berry.

    Why would Yallop need to make something happen quickly if the Fire aren't making the playoffs and aren't able to cut these players til the offseason? He'll limp through the rest of season the same way the Fire has been limping through seasons since early 2012. Hopefully he'll actually have the money/cap space to do something in the off season. I'm not overly optimistic, but more because of Hauptman than because of Yallop.

  • In reply to brokerjohn:

    Jeff Crandall wasn't on the FC Podcast, that was Jeff Krause who is a regular host on there.


    A French Anongono?

  • In reply to DerSting:

    More like a French Nery Castillo according to France Football:

    Won the U17 WC with France, played in the Liverpool youth system - it's all downhill from there. Two seasons with Rostov in Russia, with less than 20 appearances, and some ruptured ligaments to boot... not resigned by the club for 2014-15 and looking to restart his career at 29.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    Per Jeff Crandall, he's basically coming in for a one week trial.

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    Andrei Arshavin could be available?

  • Bliss confirms on website that Pongolle is training with the team:

    At least they brought him in to assess him as opposed to signing him sight unseen. Still, I'm skeptical of this guy. His glory days (U17 Golden Boot and Golden Ball) happened 13 years ago.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    Just a look.....happens all the time with guys like this in MLS.

  • Picks tonight

    Los Angeles over Colorado
    Seattle over San Jose

  • Pongolle isn't worth the time to sign,
    if he hasn't shown in 12 years, he never will.
    Typical retarded and dumb ass thinking that has plagued
    the Fire for the last 5 years, trying to turn a silk purse from a sow's ear, trying to find a hidden gem on the cheap.
    How many times do we go through the same shit, time after time?

  • In reply to lonecoyote:


    At least, for the time being, it's just a trial.

  • Wow, this JJ story is crazy. MLS is an absolute mess.

  • In reply to Tweaky:

    Not a fan of Ives, but this quote deserves repeating -

    "So MLS wants to sign Jones, but doesn’t want to commit to letting him know which team he will join before he signs. That’s an arrangement that no Designated Player of U.S. Men’s National Team starter has ever had to agree to in order to sign with MLS."

    The hell?

  • In reply to TomazPP:

    MLS was on the way to becoming attractive to USMNT returnees. Guess that's over now.

  • First off, congrats Guillermo on the birth of your daughter!

    Second, Ives is reporting Hurtado to Chivas for allocation $. Good move in my estimation.

  • In reply to Tweaky:


    That would be a good move. Fire are looking to deal down the stretch here.

  • Guys the leader of the Toronto is announcing is resignation. Does anyone think he might be moving to the fire. Can folks imagine him with our dear leaders give me time yallop, a Gm that can't make any winning moves and an owner that owns the only team in the league without a designated player. In a Wednesday podcast by ives he said very clearly that the fire were close to being irelvant.

  • Big game in the West tonight.....
    FC Dallas over RSL is my pick...which means RSL will win.

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