A third consecutive victory has the Fire half way to their win total for all of 2014 as they continue to show that they will play an entertaining style of soccer even if the finishing wasn't quite there for this match. The home team came out on the front foot as expected with 20 days in between matches and New York City FC struggling. The goal posts and the play of goalkeeper Ryan Meara kept the game close as the Fire attack created numerous chances to put the game away.
The second goal never came, and the play from the striker position certainly needs to improve but the signs are there that this team will be very competitive in the Eastern Conference. A bit of a lull after Andrew Jacobson' red card in the 24th resulted in New York challenging late in the first half, but the Fire came out of the break ready and controlled the second half. Cleaner play in the final third kept the optimism from heights not seen at Toyota Park for some time but the 19,124 in attendance saw a Fire side that kept a clean sheet, won at home, and beat another Eastern Conference opponent.
Those are all things they didn't see much of in 2014.
GK Sean Johnson (6) - Made four saves in the first half but the Fire defense made sure he wasn't bothered in the second. The most difficult shot of the night was probably Diskerud's long range shot in the 41st that he tipped over for a corner kick.
D Joevin Jones (6.5) - Very active up and down the left side for most of the night. Very dangerous playing in teammates and provided opportunities on crosses. Showed his pace in tracking back to deny a chance when Adailton missed a tackle in the 48th. Other than the first outing in Los Angeles, Jones has been very good in every appearance.
D Adailton (6) - Other than the missed tackle mentioned above, the Brazilian centerback was very good in controlling the area. Solid in the air and stepping up when necessary.
D Jeff Larentowicz (6) - New York forwards really weren't much of a factor. The visitors only managed one shot attempt in the second half as the Fire controlled the game up a man. Two second ball free kick attempts mimicking the goal against Toronto didn't get through the wall this time.
D Eric Gehrig (5) - Did contribute some in getting forward but his crossing and passing left much to be desired. Out of position for two New York chances in the 43rd and 44th minutes. Better in the second half.
M Matt Polster (6.5) - With the Fire controlling the ball 68% of the time in the second half, New York couldn't get much going through midfield. The man advantage was a factor but Polster's play also contributed greatly to that. Command of the middle of the pitch has improved dramatically with the rookie on the field as he continued to impress. Passing has been on point and two long distances bombs were struck well enough to have provided a second goal.
M Matt Watson (5.5) - Work rate is always a plus for Watson but he appeared to be a step behind his teammates in the first half. The second was better but the Fire could have used a little more from this spot. His header in the 84th was well taken and easily could have found the back of the net if not for the first of a big double save sequence by Meara.
M Harry Shipp (6) - Passing, vision, and creativity are a step above most players in MLS and some of that was on display again although it didn't result in a goal. His shot in the 51st struck the post as the Fire pressed for a second score. Shipp and Accam switched sides numerous times throughout the match.
M David Accam (7) - Game changer. He's been that in every appearance this season and now he's fully fit. Scored the lone goal but his dribbling ability and pace created several other chances. A ridiculous display to beat three defenders in the penalty area in the 15th resulted in a shot that banked off of the post and left NY flat footed. Five shot attempts on the night with three on target and two others blocked. Accam is the type of DP the Fire have been looking for since 2010. If he stays healthy, MLS defenders will continue to have nightmares and he'll make the Fire difficult to contend with. (watch his post game interview here)
F Shaun Maloney (6) - Not spectacular but very good overall on the night even if that second score never materialized. The Shipp, Maloney, Accam combination appears to be working but hasn't reached full potential yet. Good in combination as the Fire completed 85% of their passes but free kick service could improve some.
F Guly do Prado (5) - Played a decent ball through to Accam in the 24th which resulted in Jacobson's red card to deny a goal scoring opportunity. Better early on but seemed to disappear after that.
F Quincy Amarikwa (5) - Entered the match for do Prado in the 65th and provided a little bit different look but results weren't there either. Dribbling when a pass is required and shooting when other options are available continue to be the negatives against Amarikwa. Those were on display again here.
A road game next Sunday afternoon at Sporting Kansas City.