Fire 3 Union 3 - recap and ratings

With both teams needing a win to keep faint playoff hopes alive the 9th and 10th place teams in the Eastern Conference came up even. The Fire mostly have Sean Johnson to thank for helping them avoid a second consecutive loss in Philadelphia so any congratulatory plaudits regarding the bounce back effort following the USOC semifinal defeat ring a bit hollow.

This match was entertaining for its wide open style and frantic ending but there wasn't a great case made for either team being considered a legitimate playoff contender. The Fire essentially need to win every game they play now. With twelve losses in league play, draws simply aren't good enough.

"It was certainly an open game. There were a lot of chances for both teams but mainly Philadelphia had some good looks at goal. I thought Sean Johnson was outstanding tonight, but I liked our response," said Frank Yallop after the match. "I think for the neutral they would have enjoyed watching that game, but as a coach I wasn't happy with the chances we gave up."

Player ratings

GK Sean Johnson (7) - Eight saves with a handful of spectacular denials that kept the Union from scoring more than the three goals that they ended up with. The double save in the 87th against Carroll and LeToux was remarkable. Shots stops in the 25th, 81st, and 86th were also high quality.

D Lovel Palmer (4) - A tough night for the Fire's back line was especially difficult for Palmer. He was beaten to the spot by Aristeguieta on a corner kick for the first Union goal and he deflected Fabinho's shot into the net for the second. LeToux was loose on the right side of the Fire defense for the third.

D Eric Gehrig (4) - After a couple of good games in pairing with Larentowicz at centerback, this match was about as scattered as many of the Fire's other weak defensive performances this season. The Union had look after look late in the game with centerbacks scrambling.

D Jeff Larentowicz (4) - The last 20 minutes of this match were very poor defensively for the unit as a whole. Both Larentowicz and Gehrig were consistently caught out of position and scrambling to catch up.

D Joevin Jones (4) - Numerous giveaways throughout the match. Jones has not been as sharp as he was earlier this season after returning from the Gold Cup.

M Razvan Cocis (5) - The Fire did well enough to hold some possession (53-47) overall. Cocis didn't shine but he didn't hurt either.

M Michael Stephens (5.5) - Worked well in some combinations and contributed with a pass in the Fire's second goal sequence. Also played a part in third score.

M Shaun Maloney (4.5) - At half time of the match, Yallop was asked about trying to get the ball into Maloney more often. He responded by saying that he had to "want it". It doesn't look like he does as he continues to underwhelm and under perform. Hull City may be his final destination this season.

M Patrick Nyarko (6.5) - His cross in the 9th minute found Igboananike for the Fire's first score. He found a goal himself in the 54th and was dangerous throughout his time on the pitch. Why didn't he get into the game the matter on Wednesday night again?

F Jason Johnson (5) - Helped set up the first goal sending Nyarko in up the left side. Decision making times was still questionable. Set up up the second Union goal with an awful pass leading to a break.

F Kennedy Igboananike (6.5) - Scored twice and set up another with a good move to get free and find Nyarko in the 54th. Finished his two best chance and accounted for himself very well overall.

M Harry Shipp (5.5) - Replaced Maloney in the 68th. Didn't factor into much until late in the game when his cross eventually led to the tying goal.

M Matt Polster (5) - Subbed in for Cocis in the 74th. The Fire were in a mad scramble to cling to a point from there.

F Mike Magee (5.5) - Came in for Nyarko in the 83rd. The Union thought there might have been a hand ball call missed by referee Mark Geiger but there was no whistle. Magee pass through the face of goal ended up on Igboananike's foot for the tying goal.

Filed under: 2015 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • fb_avatar

    Guillermo you are a tough ranker - SJ with a 7 and Palmer with a 4...What would it take for each to go higher or lower? SJ might have to score and Palmer might have to literally s*** himself on the field? We were not far off on the latter based on how his night went. Seriously, have you ever given an 8 or a 3? I couldn't remember any from past columns.

    As always, thanks for all the work and writing

  • In reply to Mike Kowal:

    There have been 8s and 3s in the past. Adailton's "brace" against Orlando City comes to mind. I try to keep the ratings consistent with the explanation for them in the tab above.

  • G, did you attend "A Tool" K's Q&A? Was anything interesting shared/learned? CJ, how is that for an ad homonym comment?

  • In reply to Krasov:

    I was not there. It's a good gesture from the FO to have him accessible for questions in person. Don't blame AK though, he's just stepping into the firing line because the de facto president of the organization won't.

    Here is the audio of the Q&A

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    This is 1:33:32 in length, over an hour and a half. The sound quality is low with an audible ventilation roar, not loud, but enough to mask clarity. This in addition to Atul's accent and erratic speech pace. I managed to listen to a little over 20 minutes of it. Very tedious to try to make out what's being said, then realize that the parts you can understand are pretty much meaningless in significance as they were just the party line responses you would expect. Listen to it, if you like and decide for yourself but be forewarned, it's not at all a good recording. There may or may not be anything worth listening to. I couldn't make out anything in the 20 minutes I spent trying to listen. You may hear better than I or have audio controls you can use to clean it up and make it easier to hear.

    I found myself wishing that all the uh's, ah's and just dead air space could have been removed to at least shorten it up considerably.

  • In reply to Arklow:

    From what I understand, it was recorded in a large room on a small digital recorder. If you listen to it on headphones (which I did), there is more clarity to the audio.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    Did you happen to catch Crandall's twitter feed? He had pretty good coverage. There was good side commentary along the way, too.

    I was only following via twitter, but my takeaway was basically what Guillermo just said.

    I do recall one tweet mentioning that all present "nodded their heads in agreement" that FY has done a bad job as coach. 59 pts from 57 matches is hard to argue against.

  • I was on WBEZ this morning to talk about all things Fire. Here's the audio....

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    So is what you said on there considered to be "enemy of the Fire" thoughts?

  • In reply to penapirata:

    If pointing out that what they've done over the last 6 years isn't working and they need to change their thinking and approach constitutes being labeled an enemy of the Fire, I must be. ;)

  • Is the recent pattern of DPs refusing to come to Chicago (Jermaine Jones & Didier Drogba) and suggestions that those who have come here quickly seem to be wishing they hadn't (Shaun Maloney and my suspicions of many others) a sign that the ship is reaching the point where the tipping is irreversible?

  • In reply to Arklow:

    You can turn ships around quickly in MLS (eg. DC United). But you have to know what you are doing and be interested in changing things.

    It is unclear if the current owner can meet those two criteria.

  • In reply to Roti2000:

    My point was that once the ship rolls over it's no longer possible to steer it. Although I think I may have recently seen an article somewhere that claimed the SS Eastland was salvaged and put back into service under a new name after rolling over in the Chicago River with much loss of life.

    Just seems to me we may be reaching the point where the amount of damage to the team's reputation is getting irreversible because the type of personnel needed to change direction are starting to refuse to come aboard.

  • In reply to Arklow:

    Jermaine Jones wanted to come to Chicago over New England

  • In reply to cf97TID:

    That seemed to be true initially but got rather murky pretty quickly. Could be he changed his mind but the league was being careful not to let that be the perception. Thus the smokescreen. Though I will concede you may be right.

    Nevertheless there seems to be a developing pattern suggestive that athletes are avoiding Chicago.

  • In reply to Arklow:

    Jones wanted to come here, that situation had everything to do with the league bending to Kraft.

    That said, he's not here and neither is Drogba for different reasons. Until they actually land a "big name" people will continue to question them.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Amen. What's frustrating in both instances is that the FO took the lead in negotiations and yet at some point seemed (from the accounts I've read) to back away, which is when NE (Jones) and MTL (Drogba) stepped in to bend the ear of MLS / the player. To their credit, both franchises were aggressive and influential enough to get what they wanted.

    Inability to finish is our bane in the front office and in front of goal.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    It all goes back to the issue of profit. That Forbes piece valuing the franchise at $160 million is all being used by Andy the investor to calculate his great profit. In his mind, each penny he spends cuts into that great profit. So I believe any show of interest in Jones or Drogba was just a show with the design to entice the rube fans to buy tickets and kit. He never actually intended to sign either one because it would only cut into his great greedy all important profit. There has never and never will be enough profit in Andy's mind to allow a little cash to put a good team on the pitch for the entertainment of the fans.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    It was a blessing that we didn't get Drogba. Sure it would have been nice to get a big name to come here but he is 37 years old. I was excited at the possibility of signing him because it would be a step in the right direction, and I think that is where this conversation is going. After thinking about it, he would be useless this season because we are clearly the worst team in this league. We would then be heading into next season with a 38 year old. Jones was the player we really missed out on. He set us back 2-3 years.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Agree 100% on this.

    Losing Drogba was a slap in the face, but losing Jones was more significant in terms of on-field quality for the next several years.

  • fb_avatar

    Great interview Guillermo. You accurately summed up the current situation in the short time that you had. Hopefully one voice will be heard out there.

  • Here's the Forbes piece.....

  • Forbes has the Fire ranked as the 7th most valuable team in the league at $160 million.

    That's quiet a return on investment for a team at the bottom of the league table.

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