Fire 2 Crew 2 - recap and ratings

This time the shoe is on the other foot.

It was the Columbus Crew's turn to collapse under late game pressure and surrender a two goal lead. In similar fashion to the Fire's demoralizing late-game stumble last weekend a stoppage time goal left the equalizing team with a bit of a false sense of accomplishment. Khiry Shelton's 91st minute strike will do no more to solve the problems in New York than Jason Johnson's header will do to find answers for the issues still at hand in Chicago. The mad scramble to overcome almost sixty minutes of more poor finishing and shaky team defensive work was certainly entertaining but hardly the picture of a team that has figured it all out yet.

On the positive side, the Fire continue to show that they are capable of creating plenty of scoring chances even when the opposition controls the bulk of possession. Finishing those chances and limiting the almost comprehensive team break downs that lead to goals has been, and will likely continue to be two major issues that Frank Yallop and the technical staff will need to resolve in order to provide any real answers to the questions that remain painfully evident. Johnson's stoppage time goal doesn't signify that they've suddenly found the answer at forward. In similar fashion to the New York game, no one individual mistake led to the first Columbus goal but rather a series of missteps giving talented Crew attackers Justin Meram and Ethan Finlay room in which to work is indicative of  team still learning how to play defensively as a unit.

"Any time you can come back in a game like this is huge, against a very good team too. So, you got something out of the game and you come back, and I think the boys are really happy. I felt we, to be honest, we could’ve won it. We had the chances I thought late, but Columbus had a few as well so it was a pretty even game," said Frank Yallop after the match. Yallop threw the proverbial kitchen sink at the home team after going down to a two-goal deficit in the 55th minute. A bit of a fortuitous deflection from a cross led to the first Fire goal and pressing higher with attacker after attacker finally found the equalizer but Columbus did their part by playing a bit tentatively once the lead was cut in half.

"We pressed a little bit higher (in the second half)," said Yallop. "I thought we did a really good job of denying [Federico] Higuain space in the first half. As soon as you go down, you got to push on them and then he really starts to come into the game a little bit. So it was kind of cat-and-mouse, and I thought we did a good job defensively on him, and the whole team actually, Columbus, I thought. They didn’t have that many chances in the first half. But then the game opens up at two-nil and then he starts to come into it. So what I liked about us, we kept going, we got the goal in the end that we deserved and that was a big moment for us."

Credit the Fire for fighting back to equalize but a true statement would have been made by going into Columbus and beating them. A mad scramble to come back from two goals down may be fun to watch but all of the real questions still remain. Are we any closer after ten games, to really knowing where this team will be come October?

Player ratings

GK Jon Busch (5.5) - Two saves and goals allowed. The numbers aren't great and outside of the two goals, the Crew only managed nine total shot attempts. The Fire had 19.

D Joevin Jones (5) - Part of the team breakdown in the 8th minute which led to Kamara's first goal. Finlay did the work on his side after being sprung by Meram. Wasn't as active as he usually is in supporting the attack.

D Adailton (5) - For the second straight week the Fire backline was picked apart by a direct attack straight up the middle drawing Adailton up and out of the play. A yellow card in a dangerous area in the 72nd against Finlay gave the Crew a good look on a free kick attempt. There were issues in back but they also did limit Higuain's chances.

D Jeff Larentowicz (4.5) - Caught away from the play on the first goal and probably most directly responsible for the second goal by losing his mark on Kamara. His reaction immediately afterwards indicated that he was well aware of the mistake.

D Eric Gehrig (5) - The Crew gave their former teammate way too much time at the end of the match and he was able to tee up a cross that found Johnson for the tying goal. Before that he wasn't exactly sharp on the either side of the ball, losing Kamara on the first goal and providing little getting forward. Did have one shot attempt in the 80th that sailed high.

M Matt Polster (5) - Played better than he did in the last match but overcommitted on Meram (similar to his missed tackle on Villa) which led directly to the first Crew score. Passing was improved but not quite as sharp as he has been in previous games.

M Razvan Cocis (5) - His field game was much improved on the NYCFC performance. He didn't score a goal this time but he was involved and at least trying to get forward during a first half which was mostly uneventful for Chicago.

M Harry Shipp (5.5) - Seems to have trailed off in the last few weeks as teams try to limit the space he has on and off the ball. As he works around the adjustment, he hasn't been able to find that groove he had earlier this season. He'll still deliver good balls but the frequency has been less.

M David Accam (6) - Not as dominant as he can be, but still effective. Forced a difficult save in the 27th with a volleyed shot from the top of the box. Served in a perfect pass to Amarikwa in the 77th that should have at least been on goal. Scored the tying goal on what he called the first headed goal in his career in the 58th.

F Shaun Maloney (5) - This seems to be a constant theme in the ratings, but the Fire need more from Maloney than just okay workmanlike performances. He does play well in combination and does help on the other end but he has yet to exert himself offensively like one would have expected.

F Kennedy Igboananike (5.5) - His assist may have been a bit "lucky" as his cross in the 58th was deflected to Accam in front of goal but he did provide some spark in the second half, even if he didn't score. Just missed a goal in the 79th as his shot rolled wide.

F Jason Johnson (6) - Came into the match for Shipp in the 67th and did well to make himself available, aggressively looking to make something happen in the final third. The activity hadn't resulted in much until the final perfectly placed header in the 94th minute.

F Quincy Amarikwa (5) - The usually mix of badly taken shots, errant passes, and missed chances like the one in the 77th were all there but he almost provided the tying goal himself when he hit the post in the 91st minute. Replaced Cocis in the 71st.

M Guly do Prado (5) - Entered the match for Igboananike in the 83rd. Appeared to spend most of that time as a deep midfielder on the left side.

Next up

A return home next Saturday to host Frank Klopas and the Montreal Impact.

Will Mike Magee be in the 18?

Filed under: 2015 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • I like Johnson's fight, do Prado might need to save a seat on the good-bye bus for Quincy, Cocis was everywhere and stood out to me in the final third creating opportunities. He did well by his start, IMO.

    Seriously, it's like during the off-season the talent around Quincy has surpassed him and he's fallen behind. As someone commented last night, put Magee on the end of the Accam's pass...goal. I get what he does, but it's what he doesn't that is making me more and more think that maybe he should take the 5-hour drive southwest and work things out.

    Glad to see them keep the team effort up for the full 90 and that this is a team that can learn from its mistakes; however, I just hope that it doesn't take the full season to learn the lessons needed to make an acceptable post-season run.

    Been awhile since we had a two-goal comeback.

  • Just seem too small in the final 3rd. Iggy 5'9, Accam 5'9, Maloney 5'8, and Shipp 5'9. Give Johnson a chance, he's bigger and has a lot more pace than Shipp and Maloney. Shipp and Maloney should be sharing time at the attacking mid position. Need more athleticism at the wing position.

  • In reply to tomwhitt:

    So your solution to us not scoring goals is to replace Shipp or Maloney, our most creative players, with Johnson? Johnson scored one goal while we were in an all out attack at the end of the match.

    Height shouldnt matter because we shouldnt be playing long balls any more. When we went on our 3 game winning streak, we were keeping the ball on the ground and playing through balls to our players. We have all of a sudden decided that we are going to play long ball after long ball like it is somehow going to help us win. Recently, we have looked a lot more like last years team instead of moving in a new direction. Falls on Yallop.

  • In reply to tomwhitt:

    It's interesting that when Yallop was brought in, the fear of many Fire fans was that he would create a team in the image of the Quakes teams with Gordon and Lenhart, sending in long balls to big men. Now that we obviously are not set up to do that, there are calls to bring in big men.

    I think the desperate attacking of the second half vs Columbus produced the long balls - which is always a low-percentage strategy, though it's quicker than bringing the ball up the field. The challenge will be to play the ball on the ground with the same urgency as the 2nd half. We've seen it from time to time, but not with enough consistency.

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    All of a sudden the Montreal which first appeared as a gimme,
    now could be a highly competitive match. This has to be a must win game, if the Fire lose it could be a long slide in oblivion.

  • I was told to judge Yallop after 10 games. We have reached that mark. He doesnt have the team playing with any form of identity. His substitutions are often strange and desperate. We are still playing countless amounts of long balls to nobody. We still dont have a player capable of scoring goals, we have less points and goals scored than last season at this point and our leading scorer is our center back. Quincy is still our best forward... Yallop was already wanting to move Iggy as soon as possible. Signing Iggy as a DP was a mistake from the second it was announced. He was benched after the first game. He should have been a regular signing. Maloney isn't even our best attacking midfielder. To top it all off, we are currently sitting in 8th place in the East.

    Yallop. Out.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    "I was told to judge Yallop after 10 games."

    You were told not to judge Yallop until at least 10 games into the season. Not exactly the same.

    Things haven't exactly sorted themselves out, but it's definitely been interesting. Better than last year. Things still appear to be coming together. The forwards have issues. The defense doesn't appear to have banished all suspicions. But there's some kind of lightning in this bottle.

    Your calls for Yallop's head seem pretty wild-eyed to me. Sober up and reconsider. Things were much worse at this time last year. There's more cause for optimism than last year at this time. There's still plenty of time for pitchforks, tar & cinders later, if warranted. Sometimes you just have to hold onto your hat and let the kettle simmer.

  • In reply to Arklow:

    He has been in charge of this club for 44 games. He is 9W-20T-15L since he has become our manager. 9 wins. Is that good enough? Can we win a title with him as a manager? We have taken 47 points from those games. 47 points wouldnt have made the playoffs last season. I wanted Yallop out after the last game of last season. I gave him 10 games this season. He hasn't done anything to change that opinion. I understand that it is MY opinion but I want him out. You can continue to let him blow smoke. Saying things like we had 20 shots on Friday. He doesnt mention that only 4 were on target. We are still giving games away, playing panic long balls, and tying matches that we should be winning. Is 8th place somewhere that we should be? There is no shining light in the summer with a new ST signing because he went out and signed a dud in Kennedy.

    You say that things were worse last season at this point? We had more points and more goals scored after 10 games. Yallop needs to go before things get even worse.

    Yallop. Out.

  • In reply to Arklow:

    Statistically we are worse than last year right now. At the end of the season that may change. And if we go by stats, Yallop is the worse coach in Fire history, just sayin.

  • Last year with better numbers and statistics things looked pretty grim. And went even worse. There seemed little evidence the Fire were going to compete.

    This year the numbers and many of the key statistics may not be there but the Fire are playing (at least for appreciable stretches) much better and are fun to watch. All of which leaves me happier to watch this edition of cf97 and more optimistic about the possibilities. I'll admit there are doubts and questions but calling for Yallop's head at this stage is vastly premature unless you have a clearly superior replacement in hand.

  • In reply to Arklow:

    I think you would them the Fire to be even more fun to watch if they had a coach that was able to prepare the team, put together a strategy that works, and then let the talent carry it out. Right now you are appreciating the glimpses of talent without any strategy or plan in place. Yallop is not a good coach. Look at the numbers. Over the long hall, numbers don't lie.

  • In reply to Arklow:

    Well Andrew does like to get rid of coaches during or at the end of their 2nd full year in charge. So some of us may be calling for the head of Yallop but in the end Andrew's trend with coaches suggests that Yallop may not last after the end of the season.

    Personally I would like to see Yallop stay the 3rd year and if the team is still only showing up for parts of the games, still making defensive mistakes, the continuous use of the long ball, and if the team just barely makes it into the playoffs the next 2 years then get rid of him.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    Yallop has another guaranteed year after this one. He's not going anywhere.

  • In reply to Arklow:

    I'm with you on this one, Arklow. Comparing to 2013 and 2014, this team at least feels like they actually have the potential to do something.

    I'm hoping they're just being late bloomers. I'm not sweating yet. Plus, we'll see what they're made of when the USOC gets rolling.

  • In reply to Arklow:

    I hear Jurgen Klopp is available. ;)

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