Fire 2 FC Dallas 0 - recap and ratings

With thirteen games remaining in the season, time will do some damage to the Fire's playoff dreams but a nearly complete and healthy roster showed what they're capable of on Sunday night. A 2-0 win over the top team in the Western Conference and a club that had won five consecutive matches highlighted much of what Frank Yallop has planned for but hasn't been able to implement completely through the team's first 21 games. The Fire changed up tactically with Shaun Maloney and Harry Shipp out wide and playing a little deeper to provide cover against Dallas' attack. David Accam worked into a withdrawn role and the Fire did the damage on counters.

"I've said many times that when we have our team we're pretty good, and tonight you saw our guys," said Frank Yallop after the match. "I think we proved tonight we aren't a bad side, against a very good team in Dallas. I thought we deserved to win." The Fire are 4-2-3 this season when all three Designated Players are available for selection.

At 6-11-4, the Fire are only five points out of the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference but Montreal has two games in hand on Chicago. The Fire hope to have Gilberto available for the upcoming Friday night match in Portland and he will provide another option up top but it will take a miraculous run to finish the season and qualify for post season.

That run may end up short but if this game is any indication, it should at least be fun to watch.

Player ratings

GK Sean Johnson (6) - Three saves on the night and a clean sheet. A stop of Hernandez's shot in extra time after a quick restart was probably the best of the game but he didn't face many difficult challenges. Struggled with distribution against the wind in the first half but a long pass in the 72nd sprung Igboananike.

D Lovel Palmer (6.5) - Against Fabian Castillo, Yallop knew he couldn't start Gehrig or Polster at right back and the move paid off. Palmer didn't get forward much but limited Castillo's touches and kept him from getting behind the back line. Left in the 68th with an apparent injury but said after the game that he was okay.

D Eric Gehrig (6.5) - A strong and disciplined game from the entire Fire backline kept a dangerous Dallas team at bay. Gehrig's play with Larentowicz should place Adailton on the bench for a while.

D Jeff Larentowicz (7) - Returned from injury and didn't seem to display any rust. Several blocked crosses and key stops in the area were big. Probably not a coincidence that the Fire defense looked as composed as it has in a while with Larentowicz back in the line up. See his locker room interview here.

D Joevin Jones (6) - With the Fire full backs concentrating on staying home, Jones wasn't as dangerous getting forward as he usually. As a result Dallas didn't have much from the wide positions despite holding possession.

M Matt Polster (7) - Dallas held a 64-36 advantage with the ball but rarely threatened seriously. Much of that can be credited to the work that Polster and Cocis out into limiting the effectiveness of their central midfield and taking Mauro Diaz out of the match. Completed 85% of his passes and kept the ball moving and out of trouble in key sequences.

M Razvan Cocis (6.5) - See Polster above. Cocis wasn't as effective a passer but contributed on both ends. Got forward on occasion when the opportunity arose and helped deny the middle in front of the defense, something the Fire have struggled to do this season.

M Harry Shipp (6) - Not spectacular but contributed to the overall movement on counters when needed.

M Shaun Maloney (6.5) - During post-game, Maloney talked about the tactical shift that moved him out wide and Accam up top. The game plan centered around giving up some possession and hitting Dallas hard on the counter. It worked to perfection with Maloney staying closer to the back line for additional cover. Check out his comments here. Buried the spot kick for the second goal.

F David Accam (7) - He is the difference maker and his play dictates how team's can defend, and in some cases play offensively against the Fire. A nightmare for most defenders on most nights. he caused havoc for Dallas for most of his eighty-eight minutes. Scored the first goal and his speed caused the play leading to the second goal as well. Post game comments can be seen here.

F Jason Johnson (6.5) - An excellent shift for Johnson, who sprung Accam on a give-and-go for the first goal. Decision making may have been questionable in a few instance but he pushed the game and made things happen throughout. A spectacular cross from the left side in the 55th probably should have resulted in more but Shipp's header was sent wide.

F Kennedy Igboananike (6) - Earned the penalty kick when he was tripped in the box by Acosta. Had a few other chances after coming on in the 66th for Johnson but his shots weren't on target.

M Matt Watson (4) - Entered the match in the 68th after Palmer was hobbled and Polster moved to right back. His ridiculous two-footed tackle in the 79th resulted in a justified red card and could have put the match in jeopardy.

M Patrick Nyarko (5) - Subbed in for Accam in the 88th.

 

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Filed under: 2015 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire

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  • Great fun to see us take the lead in the 4th minute and keep it the rest of the game. Accam also created the play that led to the foul in the box on Igboananike by bringing the ball up fast into the Dallas backline. Credit to Igboananike for drawing the foul, though.

    The difference was solid D, though, and players being in their proper positions - Gehrig and Polster mainly.

    I just don't see this making a difference, though. We're not going to make the playoffs, so our only hope is to crush it in the Open Cup. I'm just waiting for the next injury / suspension / other disaster to hit, followed by more struggles to get blood out of stone from our reserves.

  • Really fun game to attend. The team did not seem to show any affects from the weather. This has to have been one of the hottest games weather wise that they have played in all year. There a few scary moments in the first half with Dallas sneaking past Big Red, but he had help. Well played game. There were some moments, not enough for me, where Maloney and Accam switched. I have to question moving Polster to RB after Palmer went down. He and Cocis were working wonderfully together. Is Polster really the only guy on the bench that can play RB when Palmer and Gerhig are not available? Also, I thought Kennedy worked incredibly hard. You cannot criticize his effort. Take his DP tag away, lower his salary, and keep him as he is a decent player just not a DP level player.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    If We want to be a team that keeps some sort of possession, Polster has to be in the middle of the field. He has been our most consistent player this year. We know exactly what he will bring to the match when he is playing the middle. Moving him to right back is making the team worse. With Polster in the middle, we have a chance of playing soccer like last night. With him at right back, endless long balls.

    On to Iggy. I said from the second we signed him that he was going to be a very bad DP. He is a DP version of Quincy. He works hard but just doesn't have the talent and ability to score many goals in this league. As a DP, making $1 million or so, would should be scoring a goal every 2-3 games. Ending with 15+ goals. That's what I expect from someone making 4-5x as much money as his teammates. I also said that I would have no problem with Iggy as a regular signing. Coming in he would have had no real pressure to score goal after goal. He could have just came here and played, score 7-10 goals and been a pretty good signing. Now the best we can hope for is a performance like last night. Make some good hustle plays, a few good passes, a foul in the box, and a breakaway attempt that was atleast 5 yards off target. If he plays like that for the rest of the season, I will try to not complain too much about him.

    It was a good team performance last night. Let's see what they can do in Portland Friday.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    I totally agree with you. We almost blew the game by taking Polster out of the middle. He is a difference maker in that role. That is why I posed my question in disbelief that when Palmer went down that moving Polster out of CM to RB was the only possible solution. There has to have been another better choice.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    Not sure Adailton to CB and Gehrig to right back would have been a better move, that was the other option.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Not Watson straight to RB? He's played there before in a pinch, right?

  • In reply to TomazPP:

    Last year, I believe.

    Classifieds, Looking For-

    Right back. Seeking a solid starter with MLS experience -rookies with promise ok ;) - no quick flashes in the pan or temporary 1-game engagements, guys. I seek stability plus hard-nosed, well-earned fouls, an ability to cross effectively to players in the attack and the ability to haul butt back on counters.

    If you don't meet the above criteria, I'll settle for Mr. Right-now.

    Yours truly,
    RB Vacancy

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    I agree about Iggy. I like the way he's played since his first few games. He hustles hard but tends to create a bit more than Quincy did, because he passes more, and I think his decision-making is a bit better than Quincy. That said, his finishing is terrible and for a DP forward, we should expect better finishing.

  • I feel like when he's been on the filed, Accam is involved in almost every goal we score. Seems like it would be hard to quantify, though, because sometimes it's not an assist, it may be drawing a PK, drawing a foul in a dangerous area, drawing multiple defenders out of position, etc. Guillermo, do you know of any stats on Accam's overall contribution to our offense outside of goals scored?

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