Rapids 1 Fire 0 - recap and ratings

As the Fire continue to slide towards the worst season in club history one has to wonder just how bad this is going to get. After dropping out of the US Open Cup with a whimper, they followed that with what could have been a five or six goal onslaught from the same Philadelphia team that knocked them out just days earlier. Sean Johnson's heroics salvaged a meager point when they needed all three.

There was some fortitude shown in coming from behind for a draw against the mighty Philadelphia Union so there was a small glimmer of hope that some pride remained and they would be able to, at the very least, eek out something against the Colorado Rapids. After all, this was a team that had lost three in a row and had only scored 20 goals all season. Easily the worst output in MLS.

It took Colorado less than one minute to catch the Fire back line playing too far up field and just like that the worst season in club history continued to find yet another level for rock bottom. Make no mistake, this is rock bottom and the depths of that plunge is unknown with ten games remaining.

The Fire can take some small amount of solace from once again creating a few chances and controlling possession at a 68-32 advantage but that was Colorado's game plan. Absorb pressure, give up possession, and possibly hit on a counter. The worst team in the Western Conference, who now have four more points than Chicago does, did exactly what they set out to do. On the road. With over 18,000 people in attendance. Against a team that should be desperate enough to show more if they truly believe the words they're spewing about still being alive for a playoff spot.

They know what everyone else does. 2015 is another lost season.

A night filled with fan unrest and black tifo displays in Section 8 and different areas of the stadium meant to show displeasure with the current state of the club are signs that things aren't right with this organization, and they haven't been for a while. How the latest plan to right the ship takes effect in the next few months is anyone's guess.

Rock bottom and dropping.

Player ratings

GK Sean Johnson (5) - Didn't need to bail out the team with miraculous saves. Had one save on the night, but that means the Rapids only had two shots on target for the entire match. Two. One of them went in and that was enough.

D Matt Polster (4.5) - Late to arrive on the Colorado goal but the ENTIRE back line was caught napping and playing too high up field. Polster was a right back because according to Yallop, Lovel Palmer had played a lot of minutes recently.

D Eric Gehrig (4.5) - Tried to get back on the Colorado goal but was too late. Otherwise, the Rapid didn't do much to cause concern.

D Jeff Larentowicz (4.5) - Well behind the play on the lone score. The Fire can't afford to make mistakes. This season one momentary lapse has killed them. That was the case today. Had one shot on target on a header.

D Joevin Jones (5) - Caught upfield and chasing on the goal but his play on the left side was one of the few dangerous aspects of the Fire's attack with several good crosses provided.

M Matt Watson (5) - The Fire controlled the ball and completed a lot of passes (82% to 71% for Colorado) but so what. Watson had to play because he didn't play in the last two matches against the Union.....or something. He did have a long attempt from a cleared ball that resulted in a yellow card to Irwin for handling outside of the box in the 10th minute.

M Michael Stephens (5.5) - Completed a team high 87% of his passes. Decent enough but not much getting forward.

M David Accam (5.5) - Took four shot attempts and got two on target. Irwin denied him on a good look with a quality save in the 13th. Relatively quiet in the second half when the Fire registered ZERO shots on frame.

M Patrick Nyarko (5.5) - He and Jones were the Fire's most dangerous attackers in the first half. Good effort but not enough in the final third.

F Harry Shipp (5) - Played in the underneath/central role that many have been screaming for but didn't really distinguish himself there again. Spent a lot of time dropping deeper into midfield to retrieve the ball which pulled him away from goal. Much like the departed Scottish #10, there wasn't enough from this spot. Catch his postgame thoughts here.

F Kennedy Igboananike (5) - After his brace against the Union some hoped he had turned the corner and would possibly begin to justify why he was brought in as a DP in the first place. His deflected shot in the 34th hit the post. That was about it.

F Gilberto (5) - Replaced Nyarko in the 63rd, moving Shipp to right mid. Had a headed attempt go wide in the 88th and another shot in the 92nd hit the post. Limped off briefly after Irwin landed on him.

M Jason Johnson (4.5) - Entered the match for Watson in the 69th. Nothing improved offensively.

F Mike Magee (5) - Subbed in for Shipp in the 85th.


Filed under: 2015 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • fb_avatar

    I have to say this was a well written piece about an organization that does not deserve such an honor. Once again I found your insight and commentary to be spot on and I have to wonder how you can produce such insightful pieces without blowing off some steam somewhere in the writing process.

    Sadly, I feel like I have wasted my time and hard earned money on this pathetic organization. I say this as someone who reluctantly came aboard as a "Fire fan" only 3 years ago. However, I have followed the game since the 1950's so I am not a newbie to futbol. I love the sport but this organization is an embarrassment and a disgrace.

    I know a sham when I see one and this organization fits the bill. A disconnected absentee owner will never understand what is needed especially when what is needed is a change in ownership!

    It is said that winning will solve most problems. That may be, but I do not believe that there will much winning at Toyota Park until there are some fundamental changes made in Bridgeview.

    Throwing money at this problem will not cure what ails this organization. however, I suspect throwing money at the current owner may help alleviate this dismal state of affairs - but only if we throw a lot of money at him.

    Rocky Wirtz save us!!

  • Positives. Matt Polster is pretty good at crossing the ball. Gilberto looks pretty good in the air.

    Negatives. Matt Polster should never, EVER, play right back again. Every game he has played there the opposition has scored directly from his poor marking or terrible positioning. He doesn't know how to play the position because he is a central midfielder but he has to do better. It's no surprise we give up stupid goals in these games because we play with at least two midfielders in the back, and when Polster is in, it's three. Colorado came in with a game plan and implemented it perfectly. They let our not very talented players, Stephens and Watson, have the ball all the wanted and sit back and watch them pass back and forth. Mark Shipp, Nyarko, and Accam and the team won't be able to do anything.

    And saying that the team trying is a positive thing from the game is what u8 coaches say. Not professional coaches. Every time I think things are the worst they can be, Yallop picks a team and it somehow gets worse. 10 games left...

  • I struggle to understand why Palmer was rested for playing too many minutes, when just a handful of games ago he was riding the bench for an extended period of time. Polster has been fantastic at DM, why tarnish his season too by playing him out of his position because you don't like Palmer?

    Season just keeps sinking lower.

  • fb_avatar

    I didn't even look at the results last night before going to bed. I've stopped going to games since 2013 and stopped watching this season when they moved to cable only.

    IMO it's hopeless to think anything will change when there were 18k tickets sold last night. AH has a good business, he won't sell. While the few true fans either boycott or support the team (whichever they believe is best) the bulk of ticket sales come from the average suburban family with 2.2 kids driving out to Bridgeview. The games are not sporting events, they are family entertainment and they are marketed that way.

    I do not expect this change at all, given the (dismal) soccer culture here, the stadium's location, and lack of public transit options. So it is what it is.

    At least the players can be traded off to a hopeful future. The fans are hosed. As a long-time Liverpool fan I'm considering following the LA Galaxy at this point. Not sure it can sink much lower than that...

  • In reply to Jeff S:

    I've been boycotting as well.

    Last night I actually DVRd the game and was contemplating watching it.

    But, here's the reality for soccer fans in this town:

    Also on my DVR right now are
    Athletico Madrid - UD Las Palmas
    Bilbao - Barca
    Real Madrid - SPorting Gigon
    FC Ingolstadt - Dortmund
    Everton - Man City
    Chelsea - West Brom
    Mochegladback - Mainz

    I could also watch all of the other EPL games I missed from yesterday on-demand.

    Why the hell would I waste 90 minutes of my life with the Fire?

    So instead I stopped by here to check the score.

    I was really surprised to see 18000 fans there.

    I think Jeff is right: there are enough suburban families with passing interest in soccer to keep the team profitable for AH.

    He is an investment banker. People say, "if the team is winning, more attention, and more money, so he should invest." The problem is that he is not going to win unless he invests more. That is a marginal cost and it has to make sense from the standpoint of how much revenue he can expect from more investment.

    He doesn't know much about soccer--most of the investments in Adell seem to be in real estate--and the MLS cartel is set up to funnel profit to owners.

    Right now Hauptmann is making money on a pretty low-risk management and investment strategy. More investment brings more risk. I am not sure what incentive Hauptmann has to increase his exposure to risk.

    He is sitting pretty in Beverly Hills, with the Fire nicely contributing to his investment portfolio.

  • fb_avatar

    After the match Accam was on the field head in his hands, and probably thinking way did I come here? I need to do a Maloney!!
    Frank is a idiot!! Polster cannot play right back, Watson sucks!
    #Yallop out!!
    The protest did not go well, I am a season thicket holder and decided to stay home. I sit in section 128. Someone was in my seats! The camera avoided section 8 all night. The two spineless guys calling the game did not even mention it. I have had season tickets for eight years. I am so tired of the shit team I don't know what to do next. Any suggestions??

    Great column as always.

  • In reply to Keith Woller:

    Suggestions: Red Stars?

    USL has free games on youtube...

  • I was at the game last night. Overall, the players are not the problem with the exception of Watson who is a problem. I would like to see Magee get a start. Big Red does not know how to play CB. He is a good player but is out of position. Ship needs to get more physical. Accam is wonderful. Gilberto will be good, but he looks out of sorts with the team around him. Yallop has clearly lost this team. Get someone in who will not tinker with a player's position. He puts players in a position where they are least likely to be successful. It is painful to watch.

  • #RotWatch

    So let's see-
    the front door fell off,
    the windows are broken,
    the roof just collapsed,
    there's mold in the walls,
    water in the basement,
    rats in the attic,
    dry rot in the floor boards,
    rusty nails everywhere,
    the upstairs bathtub broke through the floor,
    (there's a raccoon nest somewhere- heh)
    and all the pipes and appliances have been looted and torn from the walls.

    At this point, we need either a gut rehab of epic proportions, or a full tear-down and gentrification (which requires either a new owner or LOTS of money.)

    ( note- I feel bad for the players. So caught in the middle of all this.)

  • Sounds like the team gamed the attendance with a bunch of giveaways and a Groupon discount. So there may not have been as much revenue in the 18K as it might seem. The place is going to be a graveyard on Wednesday.
    What should be VERY disturbing to the team execs is that the Tribune had a third of a page of the Sports section dedicated to Soccer. But, it was completely occupied by a syndicated Kevin Baxter article about the big names signing with MLS. The only mention of the Chicago-Colorado game was the score in the agate type. At least they showed the Fire in bold type.

  • There was a quote somewhere that Palmer and Cocis were a bit jaded with the state of affairs (FY) and so he benched them. I don't know what's up with Magee. If he can play at all, he should be out there more. Wonder if he's checked out too.

  • In reply to Bumsteer:

    I get the sense Magee isn't particularly thrilled with the current situation.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Magee also seems like the player most likely to call Yallop out on his crap. I wouldn't be surprised if that is part of the reason he is not playing. Bringing on Johnson before Magee is ridiculous. If Magee is fit enough to be on the bench, he is better than Iggy and should be starting.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Per Guillermo's conf call tweets, Magee had an MRI (today?) Shocking. He seems like he's been injured more than he's been healthy this year.

  • In reply to Bumsteer:

    The "jaded" comment was meant to imply that they were tired and needed rest from logging significant minutes as of late. But I wouldn't doubt if they were jaded with the state of affairs, either. I don't know many players in this situation who wouldn't be.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    Or many that aren't.

  • Section 8 is one of the most dedicated and loyal group of fans I have ever seen. For them to protest the state of the team is a big STATEMENT. I was wondering why the telecast completely avoided showing Section 8. And the silence in the stadium was very apparent. Andrew Hauptmann, "you have a problem." Correction, "you are the problem."
    I was a season ticket holder. Haven't been to a game in two years.

  • In reply to nery:

    The Fire buy air time on CSN and control the broadcast. That's why you didn't see anything during the telecast.

  • I would have loved to have heard Taylor Twelman discuss the Tifo display. I think the total silence during the game was actually more dramatic. The silence was dramatically noticeable. Good for Section 8. They showed the self-discipline that the the team lacks.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    Did Twellman discuss it? There's been an odd silence from national types regarding the Chicago situation.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    No. I just mention that because if it were an ESPN game you know he would have been all over this.

  • My wife and I were at the game and hung around awhile to let the crowd clear out.

    We noticed Jeff Larentowicz spent a long time talking to Pablo Mastroeni on the field after the game (between the center circle and the touchline on the west side). I wonder what that was about? From the arms motions it seemed to be a discussion about the game. They spoke for quite some time.

    Magee was talking to a Colorado player (not sure who it was) out on the field for a long time as well. We also got to see David Accam slam a water bottle down at the touchline right before walking into the player's tunnel.

    Not to make this more than it was, but some interesting stuff after the game especially with the blackout. I say this because it is not uncommon for us to hang around for a few minutes after the game. Generally it is a little milling around then into the tunnel.

  • Mastroeni and Larentowicz were the central midfield tandem for Colorado when they won MLS Cup in 2010. They played a few years together and I remember Larentowicz crediting Pablo with helping him grow as a player.

    They're likely very close.

  • In reply to seaside:

    Thanks for the background. I was trying to think of a connection and didn't realize they were that close. Ex-teammates often chat with each other. The length of time was what caught my attention.

  • And DM is where he should still be playing. Polster was a CB in college.. give him a go there. What difference does it make now?

  • Can't believe 18,000 people showed up to watch mediocre soccer,
    as an STH I have been donating my tickets to charity.
    Unless there is a positive uptick in quality, I don't plan to return to Toyota Park, will not renew next year.
    There is too much quality soccer to watch at home for a lot less dough, particularly if one has the sports package. I can watch, English, French, Italian, MLS, Dutch, Mexican, and German soccer pretty much when I want.
    Still miss going out to the pitch and seeing a game live, but then I remember watching the lousy quality of soccer. Forget it.

  • Guys everyone should listen to the podcast by Ives. He talks quite a bit about the terrible situation that the fire are in. I agree with lonecoyote that there is absolutely no reason to spend a dime on the fire.
    Please do a podcast with Whitfield forget Egan and kelly. They did not mention one thing about the protest during the Colorado game.entire game.

  • In reply to Brokerman:

    Although Kelly is terrible to listen to, you gotta forgive them both as you KNOW they would lose their gig in a second if they reported honestly anything negative about the Fire organization.

  • In reply to Arklow:


    Same goes for the Fire weekly radio show. Kevin touched on chasing a playoff spot. (That elicited an out-loud comment from me.)

  • In reply to Brokerman:

    We're working on getting Evan back on the show soon. We're long overdue to record one, and he was a fantastic guest.

  • Evan was by miles the best person that has been on the podcast. I went back and listened to his last podcast with you guys and I was amazed how he almost said this is going to be a terrible season . I had to laugh when he tried to nicely describe what he thought of Maloney.

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