With the ninth and tenth place teams in the Eastern Conference facing each other nobody expected this match to be much to look at. The Fire and Impact lived up to their billing as bottom dwellers in the conference with a 0-0 draw that essentially encapsulated Chicago's entire season in one 90 minute snoozer. The 2014 Fire just haven't been good enough.
Frank Yallop repeated that thought during his post game press conference. "“I think all in all, when you work with the team, you're either good enough or you're not," said Yallop. The Fire don't have impact players capable of making significant differences on a consistent basis. Yallop referenced injuries to Mike Magee and Patrick Nyarko which kept them out of action or performing below par while acknowledging that the team needs to improve.
“I think if you look at our team, we need some difference makers in our lineup. I think if we add that to our roster, that's the difference between a tie and a win. I think that's a big thing that we are missing. We couldn't quite get over the hump in a lot of our games." Yallop will have the chance to rebuild and find those difference makers with 2/3 of the roster either out of contract or in option years.
"We weren't quite good enough to get that win, and I think that's the difference. So, it's up to me and the staff to add to the team we have, add some real quality to it. And, as we proved in the window, we're willing to spend money, we want to spend money. I just need to spend it in the right places and get this team better. I feel confident we can do that,” he said.
With this season coming to a merciful end in a few short weeks, Yallop indicated he may not be ready to just play the youngsters as he continues to evaluate which players might be invited back in 2015. “We’ve made some changes over the last week for the lineups. I think we have enough guys to cover each position, but it’s proven over the season we’re not quite good enough to win a lot of games. We’ll see what we’re going to do in the next few matches, but we won’t completely overhaul the roster to give a bunch of guys games; you have to earn your spot, and I think I will continue to do that.”
An overhaul couldn't provide much worse results with only three games left in this season.
Mercifully, it's only three games.
GK Sean Johnson (6) - Two quality saves against Gorka Larrea in the 34th and 80th stopped Montreal's best chances but there were some shaky moments. Came way 30 yards out of goal in stoppage time to clear a ball away from Di Vaio that provided some excitement.
D Gonzalo Segares (5) - A cross in the 32nd just missed Palmer at the far post. Had a decent look in the 90th minute but shot wide. Mapp and Duka had very little in the attack.
D Bakary Soumare (5) - Did well enough against an another sleepwalking attack. A 71st minute back pass almost ended up in an unneeded corner kick before Johnson cleared it away for a throw in.
D Jeff Larentowicz (5) - Well struck free kick in the 66th was saved by Bush. Another long shot in the 75th was easily denied.
D Lovel Palmer (5) - Several early crosses provided a half chance and Montreal clearances. Long shot attempt in the 25th was easily saved. May have been the Fire's best back line player.
M Alex (5) - Only played 17 minutes before leaving with a foot injury. Yallop feared there could be a break but wouldn't know until x-rays are taken.
M Matt Watson (5) - Had a few moments but nothing significant. A class tackle in the 43rd set up a good chance for the Fire.
M Logan Pause (5) - Kept the ball moving but a central combination of Watson and Pause isn't going to create many chances.
M Patrick Nyarko (5) - Missed a header in the 18th after a decent cross in. His own crosses in the 43rd and 56th created half chances.
F Florent Sinama-Pongolle (5) - Served the ball in resulting in Nyarko's header attempt in the 18th. May have had the Fire's best chance in the 43rd but Bush denied his one-timer after Amarikwa headed the ball toward goal.
F Quincy Amarikwa (5) - Created some chances by drawing fouls but has a tendency to put his head down and attempt to make additional moves or beat defenders instead of passing quickly.
M Sanna Nyassi (5) - Came into match in the 62nd for Nyarko. Didn't do much to threaten his former team.
M Harry Shipp (5) - An early sub for Alex in the 17th. Shared some to the corner kick duties with Sinama-Pongolle and Nyassi. Shot attempt in the 22nd was saved by Bush and another was wide in the 40th.
F Matt Fondy (5) - Replaced Sinama-Pongolle in the 79th. Actually created a chance in the 90th minute when a pair of good moves got him free into the box.
A Friday night game at Sporting Kansas City.
- The Fire debuted their third kits. Judging by comments and the amount jerseys in the stands, they seemed fairly popular.
- Frank Klopas was not on the sideline while serving a one game suspension but he was in attendance.
- Benji Joya was in the 18 but did not play. He will depart for the US U-23 camp this week and head to Brazil for training on October 9.
- Robert Earnshaw was not available due to a hamstring issue.
- As the record for draws in a season continues to mount, the Fire are now mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.