The Fire will probably take the point on the road considering they went into the match without Shaun Maloney, David Accam, Joevin Jones, and Jeff Larentowicz. The draw was a fair result considering that neither side played well enough to deserve a win. Both teams participated in US Open Cup competition on Tuesday night and it showed. Passing accuracy was an abysmal 67% for Houston and 65% for the Fire.
While Chicago is still mired at the bottom of the table and three points are needed with every opportunity there was still some reason for optimism. The continued positive play of Mike Magee and Patrick Nyarko in their returns from injury are good signs that the Fire will have plenty of options offensively once the team is at full strength. Who will be at the helm of that team when all the pieces are available is another question.
Unsourced and anonymous reports surfaced earlier today that Fire ownership has been scouring MLS circles for someone to replace Frank Yallop. SI.com's Liviu Bird also reported that Chicago has reached out to Oklahoma City coach and former Sporting KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen about the position. Oklahoma City apparently declined to discuss a move at this point. Fire Confidential has learned that US U-20 coach Tab Ramos has also been contacted according to reliable sources.
The Fire are at considerably less than full strength at the moment with an important transfer window opening in just a matter of days and there is apparently a coaching search underway with a coach already in place. If this indeed is the direction being taken, it's a bit odd to say the least. As we reported in October of 2013, before Yallop was hired and Frank Klopas was still behind the bench, the Fire were already pursuing Yallop for what was believed to be a front office position. Lo and behold, Yallop was hired the next day.
I wrote this back in May of 2013, and the questions still remain. Only the names have changed.
Perhaps it's time to stop changing coaches every two seasons and look deeper at what's actually going on organizationally that facilitates that these types of moves be made. When you look hard enough sometimes you find it's not the coaches. It's just convenient to say that it's time for a change.
Update 7/5 (2:45 pm)
Another source close to the team says that they are not looking for a new coach and that neither Jimmy Nielsen nor Tab Ramos have been contacted about the position.
Fire Vice President of Communications, Doug Hicks addressed the rumors via the following statement:
"You can imagine Andrew's frustration, given the offseason acquisitions and promise that accompanied those signings. I can tell you with certainty, though, that this leadership team has his full support."
GK Sean Johnson (5) - Not tested much although the Dynamo did have nine shot attempts. It does seem that he could have done better to stop Davis' cross before it landed at the feet of Alex for a tap in.
D Lovel Palmer (5.5) - Almost connected with Magee again but did have a few errant passes. The game was sloppy enough that it was difficult to judge if the defenders were playing well or the attackers were just that bad.
D Eric Gehrig (5) - The Houston goal was another team breakdown. Palmer was drawn in and Gehrig was in between marking no one but the blame can't be placed on him.
D Adailton (5) - Also beaten to the spot on the goal. Plays well enough but his lack of pace really hurts when trying to recover quickly. Left the match in the 71st with an apparent groin injury. With Larentowicz now out for 2 weeks due to a herniated disk, the Fire could be scrambling to get newly acquired Ty Harden into the line up against Seattle.
D Greg Cochrane (5) - A few decent plays in combination and a cross or two that came close.
M Matt Polster (5) - Less influential than he had been early in the season. The center midfield play by both sides was nothing to write home about.
M Razvan Cocis (5.5) - Continues to provide reliable but unspectacular minutes. His shot in the 4th minute almost gave the Fire the lead. The ball hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced straight down but it appeared that the entirety did not cross the goal line.
M Harry Shipp (5.5) - Should be central with Maloney out and Magee on the bench. Still delivered a few good passes including one that led to the Fire goal.
M Jason Johnson (4.5) - Very little production in 45 minutes on the left side of midfield.
F Guly do Prado (4.5) - Seemed to want to take on the Amarikwa role of ill timed passes and poor shot selection. Played another 90 minutes of filler time.
F Kennedy Igboananike (4.5) - Subbed out in the 59th. You just need more than that from a designated player.
F Mike Magee (6) - Came into the match for Igboananike and things picked up again. Magee appears to be ready to make a difference in this side.
M Patrick Nyarko (6) - Great effort to stay with the shot and follow up for the Fire's only goal in the 72nd minute after coming on at half time for Johnson. Nyarko will also make a difference for this team. Stopped tracking Davis on the Houston goal or this would have been higher.
D Chris Ritter (5) - Replaced Adailton in the 71st.