Fire 1 DC United 1 - recap and ratings

Rough weather hindered both teams as the Fire and DC United played to a rain soaked 1-1 draw in cold and windy conditions at Toyota Park. With the exception of the April 16 match against the Montreal Impact, the Fire haven't exactly been lucky with weather for their home matches so far this year. Results haven't fallen their way either.

With five of their first seven games of the season at home, the Fire had ample opportunity to get off on the right foot but that chance has come and gone.  A three game road trip and the all-time MLS road winless streak record looms following another bye week. They'll need to make something of the next four games in order to avoid another season with a deep hole being dug over the first third of the campaign. New additions, young players, and process have played a part in the early season struggles but the Philadelphia Union has jumped near the top of the Eastern Conference proving that wins can be had while undergoing similar reconstruction.

David Accam will need to find his fitness and the incoming player additions will need to integrate themselves quickly over the next month.

The Fire can't dig too much deeper.

Player ratings

GK Matt Lampson (5) - DC had a few looks with 10 shots on goal but only three were on target. Neither of the two saves were particularly difficult and the goal can't be pinned on him. Has struggled with punching/catching balls but was somewhat better with that in this match despite the conditions.

RB Rodrigo Ramos (5) - Struggled with Nyarko in the second half. Was a little more involved with 71 touches.

CB Johan Kappelhof (6) - The defense kept Saborio in check for the most part and DC didin' have many open chances. Bailed out Cocis afer a turnover in the 17th.

CB  Jonathan Campbell (6) - Scored the Fire's only goal and continues to make a case of the Rookie of the Year award in the early going.

LB Michael Harrington (5) - Nyarko got by him a couple of times in the first half before Ben Olsen switched the former Fire attacker to the other side. Nyarko stepped in front of him for the DC goal although it wasn't badly defended.  His cross in the 90th minute set up a shot for Alvarez.

RM Nick LaBrocca (5) - Got a start in this match and didn't factor into a whole lot going forward. A shot attempt in the 13th was just wide of goal.

CM Michael Stephens (5) - The Fire had possession advantage in the first half (53-47) with team passing at 71%. The second half was owned by DC (60-40). Stephens was close to the team average with 69% completion in difficult conditions.

CM Razvan Cocis (5) - A turnover led to a chance but he also did well to get back in the 58th and deny a dangerous pass attempt by Nyarko that could have done some damage. DC won the overall possession battle 53-47.

LM Kennedy Igboananike (5) - Continues to work but only 25 touches isn't enough.

FW Arturo Alvarez (6) - Got a chance to start underneath Gilberto and had some success. His free kick in the 41st was well placed and found Campbell for the lone Fire goal. A late rush and a dangerous lead ball in second half stoppage time almost found Calistri.

FW Gilberto (5) - A few more touches (45) but only 55% passing accuracy didn't help. Some of those errant passes were followed by Gilberto throwing his hands in the air and looking at teammates.

RM Joey Calistri (5) - Replaced LaBrocca in the 53rd. Nineteen touches and 57% passing.

CM Joao Meira (5) - Subbed in for Stephens in the 72nd. DC still owned most of the ball from there.

RM Collin Fernandez (5) - Came in for Igboananike in the 87th. Overran the ball on the dribble in the 87th but his headed pass after Harrington's cross in the 90th minute set up a shot at a tough angle for Alvarez.


  • The Fire face another bye week before a three game road trip and four games in ten days. The next two matches are on turf in Vancouver and New England.
  • Matt Polster missed the game with a calf injury. It is not believed to be serious and he should be available for the next match.
  • John Goossens will miss the next 1-4 weeks with a sprained left LCL.
  • David Accam was on the bench but it was never likely that he would be called into this match considering the weather. The Fire were shorthanded due to injury so Accam made the 18. It's possible that he also sits out the next game on turf.
  • Sean Johnson is fit and available but did not make the bench. Patrick McLain was the back-up 'keeper for this game.
  • MTK Budapest ended their season with a 2-0 loss on Saturday. Midfielder Khaly Thiam is reportedly headed to Chicago already to join the Fire this week.
  • FC Groningen is in action Sunday morning against Heerenveen. Michael de Leeuw is expected to play after missing their last game with a hamstring injury. He is still expected to sign with Chicago once the Eredivisie season concludes on May 8.

Filed under: 2016 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • Guys the defense looks good. The rest of the team is as weak as any Chicago team has ever been. Question does Gilberto make in th area of 1 million dollar? If so what a complete wast.
    One last comment. I feel very uncomfortable about the way kelly praised Klopas. His reign as technical then coach was one of the worst in the mls. Hauptman had to fire him. There must be someone with a little better history than frank klopas for the color job.

  • In reply to Brokerman:

    Klopas won 17 games in 2012. That would be like winning a cup nowadays.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Heck, the Fire won 14 out of 34 games in 2013 with Klopas at the helm, and in the 75 games since he was let go, the Fire have only won 15 games.

  • In reply to Brokerman:

    There is no way that Klopas was worse than Carlos de los Cobos or Frank Yallop, or even worse than the architect himself Andrew Hauptman.

    Frank Klopas was the best coach we have had since 2010. His play may not have been pretty but he did get results most of the time.

  • In reply to Brokerman:

    I don't really see how Klopas's record as a coach has anything to do with his color commentary.

    As for Kelly, I'm not sure how realistic it would be for him to rip into Klopas during the broadcast. #AwkwardTV

  • I think it is safe to say that this team is just not very good, right? There is no real possibility of being successful this season. We lack ANY quality in the attacking third. Most, if not all, of our attacking players would not be starting or playing for most of the other teams in this league. There was a reason Toronto didn't want Gilberto after one season. He cannot trap, pass, or shoot the ball with any quality. Our only players that are decent are our center backs. EVERYONE else out there yesterday would be average NASL players. Nobody would be shocked if they saw those players on a USL roster. Which leads to questions. What does Labrocca add to this team now or in the future? Alvarez played two good balls in 90 minutes. Fernandez could do that and there is an 11 year age difference. Michael Harrington is not a good defender and is not good with the ball, why isn't Vincent playing? I have fully accepted that we are going to be bad this year, but I thought we would be very bad and young. That is not the case. We had 4 starters yesterday that are 30 or older but we have players that are younger in their positions. That is unacceptable to me. Pauno said we were a young team and this stuff happens to young teams. Yesterday, our average age for the starters was 27. Our average with all the subs was 26.7. That is not a young team. I don't see much difference between a Yallop team and a Pauno team.

    And the way he is treating Sean Johnson is absolutely ridiculous. Surely if he is never going to play him, we could move him and save his salary and get ANYTHING in return. A fringe national team keeper can't even get on the bench with these USL level players on the team? Pauno is losing credibility with me after each game.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    My mine complaint too. play the kids and rest the journeymen. Most of those guys won't be here in a year or 2 so why not let the younger players start to mesh? It's clear they're not going to get good results with the crew that was out there. Missing Goosens, Polster and Acaam, arguably 3 of their top players hurt, but I would still rather see the younger, hungrier players develop, mistakes and all. At least they have an excuse.

  • In reply to Bumsteer:

    With the players he keeps putting out there, he is playing for right now. Setting up ultra defensively is to get results right now. He should be playing Fernandez, callistri, Vincent, Morrell. I don't want to see labrocca on the field. He won't be on the team next year. Cocis won't be here either. It just sucks that we were told we are building for the future but we are giving more minutes to guys in their 30's than guys in their early 20's. We are just a poor side with missionaries still getting minutes. Is Sean Johnson the only player left from the team 2 years ago? There is going to be so much change again next season on the roster as well.

  • Hi Guillermo, why is there never any rating for Pauno regarding his coaching ability and player selection? I don't agree with needing a three year plan in a league with as much turnover as MLS. Teams make complete roster turnovers every year and can go from bad to great in a matter of one season. I am beginning to think that the Pauno hiring may be the worst decision the Fire made in the offseason. I may get some grief for this, but why not give the reigns over to Logan Pause? He understands the league and must have a better judge of player talent than Pauno has demonstrated. Just a thought.

  • Attacking players had ZERO shots on goal.
    Gilberto: 3
    Iggy: 4
    LaBrocca: 4
    Cocis: 4

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    Jury is still out but I think he is probably the best signing of the offseason. The problem is that Chicago sold or traded anyone they could that had talent (i.e. a salary above $150k) so Pauno has nothing to work with. So far they have brought in maybe one player with a large salary in Kappelhof. If they could unload Johnson igbo and Gilberto, they would in a heart beat (igbo and Gilberto because of their salaries, poor performances aside). The whole reason they hired Pauno is because he is the the best candidate with which to try to play money ball. Hauptmann is done putting money into this team so they sold and traded anyone with talent, collected funny money to buy down existing player contracts and signed young players and players over 30 desperate for one last contract, the two demographics that make the least amount of money. My guess is Hauptmann is going to make minimal investment into the team from here forth and just sit back and wait while the value of an MLS franchise only increases. However, I think the league is probably watching the situation very closely and, while they might not jump in like they did with Chivas, perhaps they start taking away the incentives to finish bottom of the table every year. Poor weather aside, that stadium was incredibly empty... which TBH I was glad to see. Fans are finally sending a message loud and clear.

  • In reply to Carl Miller:

    I keep wondering when unsold tickets will start turning up in locally sold boxes of Cracker Jacks.

    I support Pauno. He's playing the game the only way he can with Andy holding the purse strings. The only thing I can see that's debatable is playing veteran's in an attempt to get some wins at the expense of playing time for the young guys who might still be here in a year or two. Honestly, I think the need for wins now to secure survival of the franchise might be more important than developing the youngsters.

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    There is no concern over the survival of the franchise. MLS isn't going to pull out of Chicago. Pauno is a first time club coach that is figuring things out as he goes. He said that he was committed to a youth movement, but he probably hasn't seen enough out of the youngsters in practice to justify starting them. But the problem is that starting Labrocca and Alvarez is definitely not the answer either, because as others have pointed out, they are journeymen that aren't going to be here next year. Pauno is playing for wins now because he knows that if the team finishes dead last again, he will be out of a job. The problem is that the roster is incomplete, and wins will be very difficult to come by.

  • In reply to Chris Page:

    The financial structure of MLS is the only reason the Fire franchise will (probably) survive. In any other major men's sports league the league would have already introduced an expansion club into the Chicago market and we would be watching Andy hold a going-out-of-business fire sale, pun intended.

    I still have to wonder if MLS isn't working on some strategy to rid themselves of the Hauptman pariah and put Chicago back in the MLS. They have to be having fits over the state of this franchise and the resultant total lack of impact in the Chicago market.

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    Pauno needs a new plan and he needs it soon, or he is going to perpetuate the losing culture, and he is going to have the fans turn against him.

    He has emphasized defense so much that the Fire have no offense at all, and they are still not winning.

    Here are the MLS team stats for shots per game.
    New York City FC 17.2
    New York Red Bulls 16.4
    D.C. United 15.2
    FC Dallas 15.1
    Portland Timbers 14.6
    LA Galaxy 13.7
    Colorado Rapids 13.7
    Columbus Crew SC 13.6
    New England Revolution 13.4
    Seattle Sounders FC 13.4
    Orlando City SC 12.9
    Real Salt Lake 12.6
    Philadelphia Union 12.1
    Montreal Impact 12.1
    Houston Dynamo 12.0
    Sporting Kansas City 11.8
    Toronto FC 10.7
    Vancouver Whitecaps FC 10.5
    San Jose Earthquakes 10.1
    Chicago Fire 9.6

    The Fire are dead last. If you take away the first game of the season, where the Fire had 17 shots, their SPG goes down to 8.3.

    This team is boring to watch. It's like watching paint dry! And as soon as the other team scores, you know the game is hopeless, unless we get a goal off a set piece play.

    Pauno needs a new plan, ASAP!!!

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    Here are more fun offensive stats. These are the MLS team stats for shots on goal per game.

    Colorado Rapids 6.0
    LA Galaxy 5.7
    New York Red Bulls 5.7
    New York City FC 5.6
    FC Dallas 5.4
    Real Salt Lake 5.1
    D.C. United 5.1
    Vancouver Whitecaps FC 5.0
    Seattle Sounders FC 5.0
    Houston Dynamo 4.9
    Orlando City SC 4.8
    Columbus Crew SC 4.5
    New England Revolution 4.4
    Philadelphia Union 4.4
    Portland Timbers 4.4
    Montreal Impact 4.1
    Sporting Kansas City 4.0
    San Jose Earthquakes 3.7
    Toronto FC 3.3
    Chicago Fire 2.4

    Again, the first game is making this look better than it is. The Fire had 9 shots on goal in the first game. Since then, they have had 8 shots on goal for the entire season, or an average of 1.3 SOG per game.

    Yesterday, I sat in the cold and the rain for 90 minutes to watch the Fire register 1 shot on goal, and that was from a defender. DC was playing a 3rd string GK and he didn't register a single save.

    This team simply isn't fun to watch.

  • Why is Pauno receiving so much credit? The history of MLS tells us that the most successful coaches are US born. I really don't understand why a few people are so happy with Pauno being the coach. Let's give Logan Pause a shot at being head coach. Pauno has demonstrated to me in the short time that he is here, that he doesn't have a real talent for player selection. Let's cut our losses and support US born soccer leaders. Why did we ever feel the need to hire someone with zero club experience?

  • Given the roster he has, I think the Fire have done reasonably well. But with creating offense such a serious need, I think Pauno deserves some criticism for the Harry Schipp move. Don't you think that he would've been able to add some flair and opportunities? Having just watched a very good KC v. LA game, it is obvious that the depth on those teams blows away any players we have. LA in particular has a starting 11 that is far superior to the Fire. And there were an awful lot of ex Fire players running around out there. Even big red looked like a real player. The fire are light years away from being a playoff team. It wouldn't be fair to not let Pauno have this season to see if he can get something done. But early results are not encouraging.

  • In reply to Dstep:

    I would have rather seen Shipp playing for the Fire instead of Nick "what Justin Mapp will look like in 10 years" Labrocca.

  • Lots of valid points here.

    When NR/VP started to rebuild the roster, it seemed that they were building it from the back then moving forward. Adding de leew and Thiam may go a long way to filling the middle part of the roster. To that end, I think Labrocca and Alvarez where who was available to fill the roster and buy time to do the searchs for the Thiams and de Leews in the world.

    That said, we'll see what bolstering the talent level in the middle of the field does to improve the forwards' performance (better support going forward? More attacking options to free them up to roam?)

    I think once we see what effect the midfield additions have will determine what happens to the striker lineup (but I'd be an idiot to assume that NR/VP don't have forwards targeted to sign/chase after.)

    At this point, we're looking at table results equal to yallop. Hopefully that changes for the better with the new guys.

  • Official word on Khaly Thiam's loan to the Fire via MTK Budapest's website.....

  • Guillermo, C'mon be honest with us. This was a copy and paste from previous seasons, right?:
    "With five of their first seven games of the season at home, the Fire had ample opportunity to get off on the right foot but that chance has come and gone... They'll need to make something of the next four games in order to avoid another season with a deep hole being dug over the first third of the campaign. New additions, young players, and process have played a part in the early season struggles.... "

  • In reply to FireRog:

    I've been doing this for seven seasons and a lot of this is eerily familiar.

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