Timbers 1 Fire 0 - recap and ratings

Following last weekend's impressive victory over FC Dallas wasn't going to be easy on the road in Portland. The Fire weren't able to build on that in this match and instead reverted to the form that they've displayed for a most of the season, particularly in the final third. With the US Open Cup semifinal on the horizon, Frank Yallop played a strong line-up to start but the result on the field came nowhere near the effort against Dallas. A sluggish first half consisted of a 67% pass completion rate and array of long, hopeful passes and shot attempts. The Fire didn't do much to bother Portland goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey other than a near botch by the 'keeper himself.

The Fire did play well defensively for the most part however. The Timbers did not register a shot on goal in the first half and only two on the night.

Possession and overall play in the second half were improved but there was still little creatively going forward. Despite thirteen shot attempts, the best opportunity to level the match came from a set piece header. At 6-12-4, the playoffs are becoming  a pipe dream after following up last week's optimism with another dose of frustration. The Fire didn't play horribly overall on the road in a difficult environment, but once again it just wasn't good enough to win although Yallop thought there was enough there for something.

"I think we deserved to at least get a tie tonight. I thought we created enough chances, we pushed on in the second half. (I'm) just disappointed to come away with no points but that's the way our luck sort of seems to be going away from home," he said after the match.

The Fire had most of their squad available for this match although the newly acquired Gilberto was held out after only going through one full training session with the team on Thursday night. Luck didn't play a part in this one. The disturbing trademark of inconsistency and lack of quality in the offensive half were the culprits on this night.

The season likely now rests on the result of Wednesday night's match in Philadelphia and the habitually tender hamstrings of one, David Accam.

Player ratings

GK Sean Johnson (4.5) - Portland didn't get much in the way of good chances themselves. Johnson had to do better on the cross that he deflected toward Adi for the lone goal of the game.

D Lovel Palmer (6) - The Fire backline did their part throughout most of the match. Palmer was the better of the two fullbacks.

D Jeff Larentowicz (6) - Has been solid in both games since returning from injury.

D Eric Gehrig (5.5) - He was in the vicinity of Adi on the goal but it's difficult to really pin it on him.

D Joevin Jones (5) - Probably gave Valeri a little too much space in which to work in the 49th minute and the subsequent cross found it' way to Adi and the only goal.

M Matt Polster (5.5) - The defensive effort was there again but passing from the middle, particularly in the first 45 left much to be desired.

M Razvan Cocis (5.5) - The central pairing was fair and better in the second half. Cocis did register a late shot on goal in the 86th that was the Fire's last real chance.

M Shaun Maloney (5) - We'll say this again, he needs to be more influential than he has been to date. He was just another player on the pitch when the situation called for more. Had a good look in the 85th and missed the net.

M Harry Shipp (5) - Resorted to numerous long shot attempts that weren't close for most of the night.

F David Accam (5) - Left the match with a hamstring tightness in the 43rd minute, which doused the Fire's best offensive threat. He wasn't exactly lighting up to that point however.

F Jason Johnson (4) - After last week's success against Dallas, Johnson got another chances and contributed close to nothing but an array of awful decisions and bad touches. Ruined counter attacks and unnecessarily taken attempts on net were reminiscent of a former Fire forward. Hopefully he doesn't start hocking t-shirts any time soon.

F Patrick Nyarko (4.5) - Replaced Accam and looked to be a step slow and appeared to be struggling at one point. Diminished playing time over the last two weeks would indicate that Nyarko is at something significantly less than 100% right now.

F Kennedy Igboananike (5) - A header from Maloney's free kick in the 72nd should have at least been put on net. Drew some contact in the box in the 86th minute but the Fire would have been fortunate to have a drawn a call in that instance.

Filed under: 2015 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • Picks for the rest of the weekend:

    Toronto FC over Sporting KC
    Orlando City over Philadelphia
    Montreal and DC United draw
    Houston over San Jose
    Colorado over Columbus
    Vancouver over Real Salt Lake
    Los Angeles over Seattle
    New York RB and New York City draw


  • I saw a comment someplace else that said it better than I could, but continuing to play 2 plodding, CAMs outside makes no sense other than against the way Dallas plays centrally. Polster and Cocis are solid defensively, but are not right for play making in the middle.

    This is like a lost season for McGee and Nyarko, which is unfortunate, but the players selected move the ball around like they just met each other for the first practice. No understanding of each other whatsoever. Yallop is just embarrassing on the sideline, like some disgruntled fan that can't believe what he is seeing. So sick of his tired act. That was another nationally televised humiliation, and if it wasn't for the lackluster play by Portland, it would have been much worse.

  • One big moment in my opinion that wasn't mentioned happened late in the game where Kennedy had the ball on the right side of the box and passed it to the top of the box where it found a wide open Maloney. Maloney had time and space to settle the ball and place it in the back of the net (kind of like what a real DP should do), but instead he rushed on to it and put it up and over the net. That should have been 1-1 and we leave Portland with a point.

    Is getting to the playoffs possible at this point? Maybe. Is it realistic? Probably not. At this point the best thing for the club would be to 1. Win the open cup (allocation money), 2. finish last in the league (top draft pick) 3. finishing last in the league means missing playoffs which equals more allocation money. With the money from the drogba saga and all of the allocation money from the open cup and missing the playoffs the fire should have room to add some decent players in the offseason as well as adding a better dp midfielder if they choose to sell Maloney. However, actually finding some good players seems to be difficult for the fire.

  • In reply to cf97TID:

    My mistake, I see it was mentioned under Maloney's rating...must have overlooked it.

  • In reply to cf97TID:

    Wasn't this what DC United worked a couple of years ago after winning the USOC. Other than that Cup, the rest of the games are 2016 pre-season. I think we have a core group that can be successful in MLS. But, right now, there is no direction.

  • In reply to Doug:

    I'd be totally fine replicating dc by winning the open cup and sitting at the top of the conference next year! But you're right, there doesn't seem to be much direction right now...hopefully that will change.

  • While watching the game, I could not help thinking how embarrassed the players must have been. The team came out in the same formation using the same tactics as last week. Why? PortLand is a completely different team that plays on the worst playing surface in mls yet we deploy our best playmaker on the wings and roll out a defensive hunker down game pLan against a team that struggles almost as much as the fire does to score. What a joke. Sure it worked last week but it was obvious it was not working and would not lead to goals after 30 seconds. Accam would have had a field day on the wing. Maloney should have been in the middle. They could have risked going with malone pairing with polster at cm with iggy up top with johnson. Shipp if he does improve his defense needs to sit for awhile. Disgusted with this staff and the choices being made.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    Short-sighted tactical awareness on FY's part? My guess is he did a "let's see if this works" or something around that point.

    I suppose if there's one thing that seems more frustrating this year than in recent years past, it is the choice of gameday formation/tactics and how they've seemed to contribute to absolutely dismal performances.

  • I was at the game last night. It was a stinker, for sure. Love our players but just don't love our team. It's hard watching bad MLS soccer, that's for sure. Great atmosphere though, I can just imagine what that place feels like when it gets really thumping.

  • In reply to Tweaky:

    Just an awesome place to watch a game. Too bad it's on turf.

  • ...and Chris Rolfe scores again.

  • Just read the comments on JJ the forward. Ouch.

    Season's lost. I'm heading up for the USOC semi but not expecting anything. Flew out to Chicago for the "Editorial semifinal" and if I bring the same luck we're doomed.

  • Sell Maloney while you still can and trade Shipp. Yallop obviously cannot coach up any other formation except a 4-4-2. What's the point of having two quality CMs if they are both playing on the wing? Get rid of them both with Iggy and get a striker over six foot. Next year I could live with Accam, Cocis, Polster, Nyarko in the midfield and "the Zoltan", Gilberto up top;)

  • Reading comments after a win and after a loss, it's like we're following two different teams.

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    I have noticed that as well. For me, when the team plays well it is rarely because the tactics employed were brilliant but rather because the talent of the players shown through. The players on this team are talented. It is frustrating to see that talent wasted by tactical choices or clear lack of preparedness.

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