Fire 3 Toronto FC 2 - recap and ratings

This was the type of attack that Frank Yallop likely envisioned this offseason while piecing together a rebuilt side. The Fire were dangerous from start to finish of this match, scored three goals and probably should have scored more. The return of Shaun Maloney and David Accam together provided the spark that had been missing through most of the first four games of the year. Accam in particular, changes the way that opponents have to defend against the Fire due to his pace and dribbling ability.

The Fire exchanged quick strikes, breaks, and counter attacks for possession in this game (Toronto led 61-39) but the home team wreaked havoc in a manner not seen at Toyota Park in quite some time. Passing was a bit sloppy at times and the defending is still occasionally shaky but this was entertaining and a big step in the right direction.

The second consecutive win of the season came against an Eastern Conference opponent at home and for two weeks running the late game pratfall that was a signature of last season's failures never materialized. There's still a long way to go and much work remains but the agonizing and punchless manner in which the opener in Los Angeles was played seems like ages ago in comparison to this outing.

Player ratings

GK Jon Busch (5) - The first Toronto goal was an unfortunate deflection off of Larentowicz that managed to get by him. Only registered one save but he does command the box.

D Eric Gehrig (4) - In his post game press conference, Frank Yallop addressed the decision to start Gehrig over Lovel Palmer at right back and this game should cement Palmer's return in the next match. Continues to drift too far out of position leaving acres of space on the right side. Toronto recognized this early and attacked there for much of the first half. A whiff on a cross preceded Toronto's second goal. Still looks like a center back playing outside.

D Jeff Larentowicz (6) - There was the deflection that resulted in an equalizer for TFC but there was also the game winner from almost thirty yards out to balance that out. Despite the possession, Toronto didn't have many clean looks and only one shot on target other than the two goals.

D Adailton (6) - Strong game in limiting Jozy Altidore. Not flashy but calm and composed on the ball when needed. Sprung Accam with a crisp long ball over the top in the 34th that could have resulted in another score.

D Joevin Jones (7) - A picturesque finish with the outside of his left boot in the 14th gave the Fire a lead. With Toronto attacking mostly on the Fire's weaker right there wasn't much from the opposition's attackers against Jones.

M Matt Polster (6) - The rookie has been a revelation so far. This time another solid outing against Michael Bradley shows why he will difficult to replace in the eleven even when Victor Peres and Razvan Cocis are available. Just solid.

M Michael Stephens (5) - Left in the 8th minute with a sprained ankle after being fouled by Warren Creavalle. It was Creavalle's first yellow of the match.

M Harry Shipp (7) - Two assists and two shots on goal as Shipp continues his impressive early season form. Found Maloney for his goal in the 56th and tapped the ball toward Larentowicz on the game winning free kick play in the 68th. Well struck shot in the 76th forced Bendik into one of several quality saves.

M David Accam (7) - His ability to beat and outrun defenders opened everything up. Tormented Creavalle for the entire match. The hard foul in the 67th in which Creavalle was shown his second yellow resulted in the free kick and Larentowicz's game winner. Had numerous opportunities to score a goal of his own but the missed chances weren't particularly easy finishes and Bendik also did well to deny a couple of them. If Accam continues on this form the Fire will not only be entertaining but they will be difficult to defend and beat. Accam says he about 90% fit. Not good news for MLS right backs.

M Shaun Maloney (7) - Provided his first goal in a Fire shirt and also assisted with a neat backheel freeing Jones for his goal. With talent around and in front of him, Maloney was bound to produce eventually. This could be a spring board game for the Fire's number ten.

M Quincy Amarikwa (5) - Always an honest effort but still tends to put his head down and hold the ball too long, misses passes that should be made, and makes some plays more difficult than they should be. His high energy and combative style does cause fits for defenders but if the Fire are to take another step up in class they'll need more from the center forward position.

M Chris Ritter (5) - Came in for Stephens in the 8th minute. A great ball to Accam in the 9th set up a good chance but his dreadful giveaway  in the middle of the park in the 54th led to Toronto's second goal. A big block on Bradley's shot in second half stoppage time also helped.

F Kennedy Igboananike (6) - Replaced Amarikwa in the 74th and although he did not figure into a score he did provide some glimpses of danger in combination with Accam and Maloney. Had a good chance blocked in the 76th after Bendik came through with a double save to deny the Fire's fourth score.

M Victor Perez (5) - Subbed into the match in the 88th for Polster. Looked a half step off on a play or two.


Next up

An off week before a trip to visit Frank Klopas and Montreal on the 18th.

Filed under: 2015 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • Some really nice photos of Accam and Maloney here - better than the ones on the Fire site if you ask me.

    Great summary of the match, too. Not much left to say, except that let's hope we can keep it up. I would be more worried about Stephens if not for Perez stepping in.

  • Polster was fantastic yesterday. I can see him being our captain in the future. His work rate was fantastic and he didn't get booked. He is confident and comfortable with the ball at his foot. There aren't many players on our team that look like that. Ritter always looks uncomfortable with the ball, almost like it is the last thing that he wants when he is playing. But, Ritter probably played his best match in a Fire jersey yesterday. The mistake was bad but that is what comes with him. I will be happy if we can get a performance like that for most matches.

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    Amarikwa really needs to be a bench player that comes in late. His high energy would be great against tired defenders.

  • Wish all the Fire players played with as much energy as Amarikwa

  • Seeing Ritter play for the first time this year, it is striking how much better the team is this year given how often he played this year. Ritter is very slow and cannot see the right pass to make. He looks for the safe pass only and even then he makes mistakes. Ritter's future is only as a CB. Big Red had a good game, but he does have significant lapses in the back. He makes the simple play, but he often falls asleep when the other team is storming the box. I would like to see Big Red's name changed to Cap'N Nutmeg given the goal he caused by letting the ball through his 5 hole. Otherwise, the team looked great. Accam is the real deal. Moloney is tough (though his corner and free kicks are not as good as Harry's). Shipp is really fun to watch.

  • I am optimistic that things will get even better as we move forward!!!

    Go Fire!!!

  • Yeah.. Shipp has take the corners and set plays.. he's been excellent there. Big Red would be much better back at DM.. he's still not inspiring confidence at CB. And I'll take Busch any time at this point. He doesn't allow rebounds and is much better in his decision making than SJ who while much more athletic on saves, makes poor decisions on when to come out or stay on his line and his distribution is still not what it should be. Ride Busch for a few games while SJ recovers from his _______ fill in the blank injury.

  • Saw a lot of photos captioned: "Chicago Fire midfielder David Accam (11) moves the ball up the pitch."
    That plus him getting whacked a lot of times made me think of Nyarko. Here's hoping he's got a good constitution.

    On another note, it feels real good to actually WIN a game and not just make it. Kinda crazy to think we might actually have a good team.

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    I asked him about getting hacked in post game. He said he's ready for it.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:


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