Fire 1 New York City FC 0 - recap and ratings

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.

Player ratings

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.

Next up

A road game next Sunday afternoon at Sporting Kansas City.

Filed under: 2015 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire

Comments

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  • I can't say enough positive things about Polster. He was absolutely fantastic last night. The best player on the field. He is always within 15 yards of the ball when we have possession. Constantly getting the ball and moving it along quickly and all over the field. We havent had a player like him in a very long time, if ever. He seems like a guy that puts his head down and works. He looks like a leader out there. He will captain this team in his future.

    It is also the third red card we have had against the opponent. Accam is a big reason for that. Constantly running at defenders will cause them to have to try and do something, and that is usually fouling him.

    I was one of the harshest critics going into this season and after the first few weeks. Thankfully, I have been proven very wrong. This team is playing well right now. We still need that forward though. It is definitely not do Prado. That guy seems like a bad seed. From the stands, he looks like he thinks he is better than everyone on this team. His touch is off, he is slow, and he seems to never actually have a position on the field. I am extremely unimpressed with him. He shouldnt have come back on after half time.

    For the first time in a while, I am looking forward to watching this team play. #YallopCanStay*

    *= for now

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    I remember the folks over at the MLS site criticizing the pick of Polster as a big reach.

    Looks like the Fire will get the last laugh on that one.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Who was that clueless reporter in the post game interview? Is the team gelling? What's changed. Yallop's incredulous look said: "Really? Are you new here?" Does he know they have a new roster and just played an expansion team with players missing? Good grief.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    #YallopCanStay? Even just for now, I never thought I'd read that from RubberBandMan.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    I never thought I would type it. That being said, do I trust him to take us to a title, absolutely not. Solid run of form with a big test coming up next weekend. Looking forward to a good road test.

  • fb_avatar

    I think I may need to eat my last comment here (over a month back). Just as the train wreck looked imminent something happened and the ship righted itself in a flash (how's that for metaphor mixing).

    Still being a realist though, and wanting a playoff qualification as the minimum goal for the year they should have won 3-0. NYCFC self-destructed on the pitch in a way I've never seen before, and so early in the game, that the Fire should have closed it out by the opening minutes of the second half. Some great almost-goals but those don't count, A single defensive blunder and 2 points would have been gone.

    Other than that the game play was actually entertaining, nothing like last year. A completely different team. Last season the final score would have been 1-1.

  • In reply to Jeff S:

    Different from last season though, the team NEVER looked in danger of letting that goal in. Last season, that game would have been 1-1.

  • Great confidence shown by the team. A road win at SKC would really set the flywheel spinning.

    That said, what's up with the field? I thought it looked decent for the first few matches coming out of a tough winter. But, it had 3 weeks of rest and decent weather. The results are coming our way but the presentation still screams Mickey Mouse.

  • Guillermo, why didn't Kennedy get any PT this game? I thought he had some quality minutes against TFC.

  • In reply to tomwhitt:

    Yallop was asked about that. He said he wanted a bigger forward in this game to start. He simply isn't getting it done in training so he's not getting minutes in games.

  • I don't want to see Gehrig starting the next match. His offensive contribution is atrocious, particularly his crossing. He also had a couple of bad giveaways that put us in danger while we were up a man. Time for Palmer again.
    Do Prado seems completely worthless. He looks lazy and disinterested. Meanwhile Watson still leaves a bit to be desired. Cocis and Perez should be good options to take that spot net to Polster.
    Positively, Accam is the real deal. Adailton and Maloney are both looking very good too, while enough can't be said about the play of Polster. Hopefully we can continue this run against a quality team in Kansas City.

  • In reply to colton:

    Next week's game against SKC on the road should be an interesting test to see where this group is at.

  • This can't be true can it. One thing to postpone a game. But to take Johnson for a mid-week game?
    http://www.vavel.com/en-us/soccer/481695-montreal-impact-seeking-emergency-goalkeeper-sean-johnson-likely.html

  • In reply to Doug:

    I've covered this on twitter. More on it shortly.

  • Again, have to hand it to Bliss and Yallop: Maloney, Stephens and Adailton are solid, Accam, Polster and Jones have been absolutely stellar. Even Gehrig, despite not being great, was a decent signing. After last season's revolving door and piss-poor defender trades, it's nice to see that they seemed to have a plan this past offseason that actually worked. I'm getting the feeling my inkling that last season was a mulligan to rework the roster was probably right.

    I'm not completely convinced by this team until there's a road result or they beat a top-tier team at home (NYCFC may be the worst team in the league and if they aren't Philly is, and TFC are kind of a mess). BUT at least the hopeless feeling I got whenever the Fire played is gone.

    Also, just a small defense of Guly, his attitude was freaking horrible, yes, but having a hold up forward wasn't a bad plan if you have Maloney, Accam and Shipp behind them. There's trickery, skill and pace in that trio that the Fire have rarely had. Amarikwa tries way to much stupid shit, which is fine when the Fire don't have any other ideas, but frustrating when there are better players surrounding him. Magee still waltzes into this lineup. Also I'd almost rather have a young cheap bruiser up top than Guly or Amarikwa, until/if Igbo finds form and/or Magee returns. Maybe Jason Johnson even gets a look. That spot is very much up for grabs.

  • In reply to TomazPP:

    I think Quincy is a better hold up forward though. I really cannot stand Guly. He hasnt done a single thing except complain and constantly be out of position. Guly doesnt win head balls and he doesnt work hard. Quincy at least wins head balls and works hard. I agree that Magee walks right into this team. If they continue to play this way and then add Magee to the mix, we could be a potentially scary team to play. I'm trying not to get my hopes up but it's funny what a few wins can do.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    ...especially with no ties!

    *rolls his eyes wildly and wails like a ban sidhe*

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