Real Salt Lake 2 Fire 1 - recap and ratings

The Fire's woes in the final third and difficulties against the Western Conference continued in a 2-1 loss to a Real Salt Lake team that had been struggling to generate anything offensively themselves. The visitors didn't exactly bust out of their own season long offensively slump but managed to score two goals with their only two shots on target of the entire match. The Fire were slightly better in creating opportunities but the ability to convert those chances failed them yet again.

Through eight contests this season, the Fire have scored only six times and three of those came in one game against Toronto. To accentuate the issue, central defender Jeff Larentowicz is the only player to have scored more than once this season. The problem in the final third won't be solved by continuing to trot out Guly do Prado, Quincy Amarikwa, or possibly even apparent failed designated player Kennedy Igboananike. It' still early in the season but it's probably not too soon to tell that an upgrade is needed up front if the Fire are to contend for anything more than one of the final playoff spots in the East. Help is on the way with the return of Mike Magee but pinning hopes on a player who is recovering from surgery and who has only had one big year in terms of goal numbers is questionable.

Chances are the Fire will be in the market for a striker in the July transfer window.

Again.

Player ratings

GK Sean Johnson (5) - As mentioned above, RSL only had two shots on target and both wound up in the net. Neither can really be faulted to Johnson but it's not a particularly impressive stat.

D Joevin Jones (6) - It speaks volumes when your fullbacks were probably the most dangerous attackers throughout most of the match. Jones continues to play well with a lapse here ir there. He was a step behind Mulholland on the second goal but that was more of a team breakdown than a case of Jones being beat. Did serve in several dangerous crosses that were either thwarted by RSL or by the Fire attackers.

D Jeff Larentowicz (5.5) - Converted the spot kick for the Fire's only goal and kept the back organized for the most part.

D Adailton (4.5) - Easily his least effective game so far for the club. He was sucked in by Luis Gil's run in the 14th minute and vacated the area that Alvaro Sabario found space in to quickly maneuver a shot past Johnson that set the tone for match. The goal was against the run of play and put the Fire in a tough spot. He was also beaten by Sandoval's run setting up the second goal.

D Lovel Palmer (6) - Also very active from the other side of the pitch as the Fire fullbacks did provide plenty of help getting forward. He and Jones were the best weapons on the first half. It should be evident that he's the best option at right back on the squad.

M Matt Polster (5.5) - The Fire were better in central midfield this week than they were last. Polster had some bright spots in combination but also had a turnover or two in tough spots to start counter attacks. The Fire won the possession battle 56-44 and competed 80% of their passes.

M Matt Watson (5) - It was going to be difficult for the Fire to generate much from the middle of the pitch with Shipp and Maloney on the outside and the two forwards doing what they do. Watson wasn't bad but also didn't factor in much. Left the match in the 53rd with what was later diagnosed as a concussion. He will be evaluated at training on Monday.

M Harry Shipp (5.5) - It may have made more sense to play Shipp centrally if Maloney was going to be used outside but that wasn't the case. Still exhibits rare vision and passing ability put there isn't much in terms of help playing in front of him.

M Shaun Maloney (5.5) - His corner kick service was okay. His work in combination was okay. His overall play was okay. The problem with just okay is that more is expected from Designated Players, particularly with David Accam missing from the line up. We're still waiting for Maloney to really exert his influence as expected. Catch his post game locker room comments here. Maloney said that the team is hoping that Magee begins full training this week. Earned a penalty kick (albeit a soft one) in the 87th when he was taken down in the box by Vasquez.

F Guly do Prado (4) - During his post game press conference Yallop explained the move to start do Prado underneath Amarikwa as something that "looked good on paper". The tactic failed to work at all. do Prado spent most of his time on the field as he has much of his minutes so far this year, wandering aimlessly with an occasional touch leading to nothing. He was the recipient of a botched clearance in the 54th and killed a perfect 2v2 opportunity with a equally botched half cross/half shot that was weakly rolled at Rimando.

F Quincy Amarikwa (4.5) - All of the hard work and flailing this season has produced very little. The effort is always there though, even if the results are not. That is probably no longer good enough.

F Kennedy Igboananike (5.5) - His finishing during the week is heinous enough to keep him behind the likes of do Prado and Amarikwa but his impact was felt immediately in this game. He entered the match in the 58th for do Prado and got onto the end of a dangerously placed Jones cross to volley a shot forcing Rimando into a difficult save in the 68th. Managed a header attempt in the 69th from another Jones cross.

M Razvan Cocis (5) - Replaced Watson in the 52nd after he was helped from the field and directly into the locker room. Did not figure into much either.

F Jason Johnson (5) - Got into the match in the 85th replacing Adailton as the Fire pushed as many attackers forward as possible. Involved in some activity in the waning moments in combination with Jones but nothing came of it.

Notes

  • The Red Stars defeated the Boston Breakers 3-0 in the second game of what was billed as a soccer double header.
  • The Fire next play in Yankee Stadium against New York City FC on Friday night.

Filed under: 2015 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire

Comments

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  • Thankfully we play in the Eastern Conf - with 6 teams making the playoffs, 2 expansion teams, Philly and Montreal, we should make the playoffs virtually by default.

    Glad to see you've gone to the .5 rating system, definitely shows more nuance to the ratings.

  • In reply to Tweaky:

    I listen to you guys ;)

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    You are welcome...
    :)

  • There were more exciting moments than in a typical 2014 game, and at least we didn't tie, but scoring from a penalty by a central defender is not exactly a strong statement about the danger our offense poses.

    Accam will be available again next week, right?

  • If I'm Yallop, Igboananike and Jason Johnson are the starting strikers for next game. I don't know what happened, but Quincy is just awful this year. It's like he thinks getting foul calls is the most important part of his job and he forgot about even attempting to score goals and attack. Honestly, you could have fooled me if you told me Do Prado and Maloney have played in the Premier League. I'm not sure what Do Prado's thought process is during games, and Maloney is equivalent to an average mls midfielder. When Kennedy came on he at least tried to attack, and with limited time so did Johnson. It couldn't hurt to start these two guys considering Quincy and Guly have been so bad. Sorry for the rant, but Yallop needs to realize Quincy isn't much of an option no matter how much "effort" he seems to bring.

    As far as the July window, I don't know how realistic this is (probably not at all), but it would be great if the fire could try to get Aaron Johannsson. Some other team probably already has that magic "discovery claim" on him anyway. Well, here's to hoping Mike Magee comes back soon in that MVP form.

  • In reply to cf97TID:

    What about accam and Igbo up top with Magee, shipp and Maloney feeding them? Not sure it'd work but the larger point is maybe accam should slot up top to see what he could do from the forward position.

  • I think Yallop should go with his preseason plan. 4-3-3 lineup. Polster is obviously talented enough to handle the middle. Give Accam, Iggy, Shipp, and Maloney the space they need in a 4-3-3 formation to create. Perfect time to experiment against NYC.

  • I'm in total agreement about Guly now. I didn't want him even on the bench after the first half--I wanted him in the stands. And Quincy, for all his work, just doesn't even look dangerous this year.

    The Red Stars looked great, despite missing 6 internationals. Soft feet and picking up loose balls all over the place. Glad their final home game will also be a double header at TP.

  • They lost the mark on their men. As a central defender back in my days of playing as a yoot, as soon as I saw that in both instances, I just said "oh crap."

    Also, I noticed that when there was poor ball movement in the final 3rd, it seemed the default move was: forward gets ball, dishes outside to Maloney, who dances to make space, forwards slide inward to receive/deflect the miracle pass that Maloney is supposed to pull out of his butt and sends into a clogged center.

    My first thought was, how about staying close and giving him a passing lane to work worth instead of just dumping it off?

  • Quincy has to be benched. His playing time needs to be limited to a 75th minute sub when we have a 2 goal lead i.e. not ever with this team.

    Iggy deserves a start. The guy has obvious skills. If Yallop cannot see that he is a step up in talent over Quincy, I think someone in the front office needs to show Yallop some film of the game.

    The "game plan" or lack of it was so obvious that I think that the Fire need an "offensive coordinator" who can scout opposing teams and see where the best attack can be made. Trying to get behind Olave with a single forward up top proved to be a joke by the end of the game. That guy is a beast. They needed to be attacked from the wings, but that just seemed too complicated. Seriously, when will the Fire start to question Yallop's tactics and game preparation.

  • do Prado hasn't done one positive thing on the field this season. He has the work ethic of Blanco with 1/10 of the skill. At a constant light run whenever he is moving. Not good with the ball and not good without it. When he got subbed we were down 2-0 and he is walking as slowly as he possibly could. If he is starting next week, Yallop needs even more criticism.

    That performance Saturday was very similar to last season. Long ball after long ball with nobody winning the second ball. I think that fell on Yallop and his formation. Typically, the game is won and lost in the middle of the field. We had Watson, Polster (Who was absolutely fine IMO) and do Prado there. They couldnt keep possession and it killed us. Our midfield was playing very well in recent weeks because Maloney and Shipp were close enough to combine with each other and play that final ball. Splitting them up made no sense and both players suffered.

    Maloney needs to be doing more than he has been doing so far. Of the new players that were signed this off season, he has been the 4th best maybe. Polster, Accam, Jones for sure. Possibly Adailton has been better too. He needs to figure it out, quickly.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Adailton had a rough go on Saturday, but I'm inclined to agree. Polster has been fantastic for the Fire. He's a DM that doesn't solely serve as a pass connector, he gets into plays and integrates himself more going forward without sacrificing the defensive side of the ball.

    Jones has been fantastic after Week 1, regardless of position, and Accam is who we all hoped he would be. What I like about Maloney (and what I hope will translate in the coming weeks) is that he knows he needs to be better, and he wants to do the work to get there. You get a sense from him that it's when, not if, he'll start to really produce consistently and be on the level of a Robbie Keane in terms of impact.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    Keane-like Impact might pushing it but agree that Maloney will produce in DP fashion soon. ;)

  • The Red Stars match was much more entertaining. I was disappointed though that more people didn't stick around to watch that game.

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