Fire 1 Union 0 - recap and ratings

Perhaps this win will set the Fire's fortunes moving in the right direction. In what was easily the team's best outing this year, Chicago was clearly the better team from start to finish of this match although the last twenty minutes were unforgettable while playing with a man advantage.

"From a viewpoint of points, it's fantastic to win our first game, especially at home," said Frank Yallop after the match. "It's probably the best we've played for 55 minutes. We created chances, and felt we dominated most of the play. When the red card came, we really sat back and waited to see how the game turned out, where we should have been on the front foot, making a difference, and really punishing the team we're playing against. Philadelphia hung in there, they had their moments, but we should have put the game away before the 55th or 60th minute mark. We'll work on it, we'll look at the game tape, and make sure that we continue the way we attack. I thought the first half was excellent, but we have to work on the things that we didn't do in the second half that could have cost us the game.”

The team has gotten progressively better with each match after a dismal showing to open the season in Los Angeles. Harry Shipp showed why he is becoming one of the most dangerous attackers in MLS and the return of Shaun Maloney and David Accam will provide some hope that the rough start was just that. One game and one win against one of the lower level teams in the Eastern Conference doesn't solve all of problems or clarify every issue but it's a start and there's a long way to go.

For this week, the Fire were the better team and deserved all three points. This time there was no late equalizer. That too is another positive sign.

Player ratings

GK Sean Johnson (6) - Didn't need to register one save as the Union failed to get any of their seven shot attempts on frame. A clean sheet is always welcome as are bounce back games after two costly errors in San Jose.

D Eric Gehrig (5) - Still leaves plenty of space for opponents to operate in by vacating the right side too often causing the centerbacks to scramble back but this was his best day at right back in three attempts.

D Jeff Larentowicz (6) - Aristeguieta is dangerous in the box but he wasn't today. Larentowicz and Adailton both did creditable jobs of stepping up when needed and blocking crosses/passes into the area.

D Adailton (6) - The goal was the difference in the match but he also did well to stay at home when needed.

D Lovel Palmer (5) - Doesn't look as comfortable on the left as he does on the right side. Perhaps he will move back to a more natural position when Accam becomes available and Jones can play left back.

M Matt Polster (6) -Several well placed long balls over the top of the Union defense early seemed to set the stage for the Fire's control of the midfield. Polster played in  big part in that control and the Fire's 52-48 overall advantage in possession. (56-44 in the first half)

M Michael Stephens (6) - Lined up centrally with Polster and the Fire's duo clearly outplayed the Union's Maurice Edu and Michael Lahoud. Very good in moving the ball in the first half.

M Harry Shipp (7) - His well placed free kick in the 37th found Adailton for the game winner but he also created several other chances for teammates that probably should have resulted in more goals. Set up Igboananike with a pin-point through ball in the 55th and embarrassed the Union's back line with some footwork in the 85th. Shipp has been outstanding this season.

M Joevin Jones (6) - Continues to play well at left midfield in Accam's absence. Very good in the first half in particular.

F Kennedy Igboananike (5) - Easily his best outing in a Fire shirt after Yallop's comments earlier this week. Had several chances that could have resulted in another goal if balls were struck better. On the receiving end of a ball from Shipp in the 55th, he didn't quite strike the ball cleanly enough to get it past M'Bolhi as the goalkeeper made a last ditch leg save to keep the game close.

F Quincy Amarikwa (5) - May have had a gripe when he called for a handball on Fabinho in the 20th minute. Active as always but the Fire will need that extra touch in the final third if they are to continue improvement.

M Matt Watson (5) - Entered the match for Igboananike in the 66th. Not involved in much as the Fire sat back after Fred's red card in the 72nd.

F Guly do Prado (5) - Subbed in for Jones in the 84th. The Union were in desperation mode by then.

Next up

Toronto FC at home next Saturday.

Filed under: 2015 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


Leave a comment
  • Any word how they will free up an Intl slot for Perez?

  • In reply to iron81:

    Perez will occupy the last remaining spot. No other moves were necessary.

  • In reply to iron81:

    They had one slot open. Perez makes it 8.

    The others are Adailton, Jones, Cocis, Maloney, Accam, do Prado, Igboananike.

  • Harry Shipp is our best player and it's not even close.

    Quincy works so hard but he just isn't going to score goals for us. He just doesn’t have the goal scoring ability but he suits Yallop's style of long ball and hold it up. He's better than Iggy and it is something that we will have to work with this season. The team did play well for periods of the match. There were times that we kept the ball down and were trying to move it around the field. It was fun to watch during those moments. There were some extremely close offside calls in the first half where better forwards would hold those runs. It seems like we are playing an offside trap and that is not going to work against the good teams. Our outside backs need to work on keeping the ball better. They seem to panic and then play the long ball. That could be said for our entire back line really.

    Besides Shipp, Polster looks to be the most comfortable with the ball at his foot on the whole team. He is constantly demanding the ball from the back four and it is nice to see. He plays a nice pass and is constantly trying to win the ball back when we lose it. His tackles will get him yellows but he's still young. I think he will figure it out if he is given the time.

    Let's hope this win will guide us in the right direction.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    And to think Yallop didn't start Shipp for much of the latter half of last season.

  • In reply to Bumsteer:

    Much of the reason for that was due to Shipp burning out down the stretch, which he himself eluded to last season.

  • I believe the usual critics have been too pessimistic. The Fire have added a lot of nice pieces and are showing progress each week.

    This team should continue to improve as season progresses.

    I can't help but think they will be in the mix for a playoff apotheosis the end.

  • In reply to Charles Jogues:

    -- playoff spot --

    Autocorrect strikes again.

  • I also thought the field look really good. Impressive given the recent weather conditions.

  • I'm glad I DVR'd the game. Based on Guillermo's comments, I really do have to watch this game before commenting.

  • I think that Polster is the pleasant surprise of the early part of the season. Like, Rubberbandman said, It's great to see him demanding the ball from the back line - this kid is a rookie, from a non-blue chip school, and he's bossing the midfield like we haven't seen since Big Red moved to the backline (I'm actually tempted to go back further). Let's see if he can keep it up, or if opposing sides figure out how to defang him in a couple games.

    Amarikwa continues to show a lot of energy. I'm fine if he wants to "buzz around" as FY says, or be a pain in the a** for defenses, but someone, SOMEONE has got to be able to do something with the space he's creating with his peskiness. Sadly, it doesn't seem that Igboananike has been able to do that - he had 3-4 great chances, and frankly, he needs to at least put those on frame to force a save (or yes, preferably, score). That shot from in the 85th that Shipp created would have been highlight reel if Iggy had put it in. (You know how would have in his shoes? Magee.

    I'm still nervous about the backline, which was solid but got the benefit of the doubt on three offisides calls. A different linesman might have given one or more of those calls to Philly, and then we'd be looking at a goose egg after four games.

    And I don't think there should be any argument now about whether or not Shipp should be on the field. He's showed his quality on set pieces and creating from the run of play. He's created all of our offense this season, and if he doesn't play, I doubt we'll get much more for the rest of it.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    "and he's bossing the midfield like we haven't seen since Big Red moved to the backline (I'm actually tempted to go back further). "

    Modibo- I'm up for a history lesson. Who would you pick for the time before big red?

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    Any answer here is likely to start a riot. Pause was steady, but I never thought he had as much bite. I'd go back to Marsch and of course Armas before him, but Armas was headed out just as I became interested in the Fire. I never actually saw Kovalenko and co for the Fire, but there's not many ppl who would mess with him.

    I'm sure there are others with a better memory than me, though.

  • Oh and thanks again, Guillermo, for adding the photos to the home match reports. Really nice touch.

  • With Polster, Stephens, and Shipp playing so well our midfield concerns appear to be laid to rest. Polster is starting to look like the destroyer we thought we didn't have. Now I would like to see Maloney get back and really start to find his place in this group.

    The backline is "edgy" but has been getting results for the most part and will benefit, I believe, when the return of guys like Maloney, Accan, Nyarko and Magee allow Frank to move Jones back to left back and put Palmer back at his natural position, right back. The improved midfield will help keep the pressure off the backline.

  • In reply to Arklow:

    And I forgot about Perez coming into the midfield. If Perez is as good at D-Mid as they say, Polster may not get much playing time. If that's the case, Polster might be best sent to St Louis for a while to get maximum playing time. That would leave him ready to step in if Perez is too pricey to hold onto past June. Then we could look at putting the money into bolstering the backline.

    Wow! I'm not used to having so many positive possibilities to speculate on!

  • In reply to Arklow:

    I would be curious to see what a Perez/Polster central pairing would look like.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    With Shipp in front of them and Accam and Maloney on the wings. That would be a nice midfield.

  • Great to get the win. Too bad views of Sports Central on (Fire broadcast partner) Comcast Sports Net didn't get to hear about it. They did get to see some stock footage of Michael Jordan's first post-draft interview.

  • Why didn't Yallop upgrade the striker position during the off season? We sure could use a legit scoring threat.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    We're going to have such a strong midfield we won't need strikers. They'll just be kept guessing where the attack is coming from within that rotating mass of midfielders.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    He went out and signed a DP striker and do Prado this off season.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    Igbo has a far better outing than previous matches. If he scores soon and keeps it going, these first few games will be a distant memory. If he doesn't get going, Yallop's already indicated that he's not afraid to move people in July.

  • I finally watched the game last night. I'm not giving up on Iggy yet. In two instances, Rais was all over the ball and making himself big.

    And it'll be nice when the international break is over so that Maloney can finally stay in Chicago and actually get settled in a bit. That'll probably help.

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    Honestly I see Accam making a bigger impact, based on his limited time vs San Jose.

Leave a comment