Impact 2 Fire 1 - recap and ratings

On the good side, the Fire now have a new club record for consecutive minutes without allowing a goal. The 411 minutes since the last opponent's score in Orlando breaks the record set set by the 2009 team.

On the not so good side, the Fire still can't generate consistent offense and lost the possession battle by a wide margin again. Chicago was able to get two shots on target in ten attempts, at home. The favorable schedule to start the season with 4 of 6 at Toyota Park has yielded one win against a shorthanded Philadelphia Union side.

While it's true that the team has improved defensively since last season, it doesn't take much to realize that this team isn't on the level of the Eastern Conference's better sides. Montreal currently sits atop the East with twelve points. The Fire remain below the red line with six.

They'll remain a squad that will battle for every point but the margin of error is razor thin. The lack of punch in the final third makes it almost impossible to overcome gaffes like the one that led to the Impact's first goal.

Player ratings

GK Matt Lampson (4.5) - Credited with four saves but his dreadful giveaway in the 56th minute led directly to the first Montreal goal. Piatti's game winner was perfectly placed but he also had several other turnovers and at least one could have easily been converted if Dominic Oduro was a better finisher. To his credit, Lampson stood up and took responsibility for the goal during post game comments.

RB Rodrigo Ramos (5) - Only completing 67% of 27 passes isn't good enough but also failed to close down Piatti on the winning goal. Too much cushion on the play gave Montreal's best player ample time to settle and shoot. There was that acrobatic bicycle clearance in the 83rd.

CB Jonathan Campbell (5.5) - Montreal had several chances that could have been put away by Oduro. Campbell wasn't quite as good as he has been in previous games but did clear one ball just before it crossed the goal line in the 12th minute.

CB Johan Kappelhof (6) - Continues all around solid play. Drogba was wide open in the 56th minute but that's only because Lampson's giveaway didn't give defenders the opportunity to get back and mark him. A long pass over the top in the 9th set up a chance for Igboananike.

LB Michael Harrington (5) - After several turnovers in the first half, he was better in the second. Good 1v1 stop on Piatti in the 53rd.

RM Arturo Alvarez (5) - Made that pass that started Gilberto forward that eventually led to the lone Fire goal. Quiet otherwise with only 17 touches and 10 pass attempts. Played the first half.

CM Michael Stephens (5) - Good work rate but the Fire just don't get enough from the middle of the field, losing the possession battle again by a wide margin (58-42). Corner kick service from the left side wasn't very good.

CM Razvan Cocis (5) - Started back at his more natural position in central midfield. Completed only 68% of his passes, which was below the team average of 73%. Moved back into a more advanced spot to start the second half.

RM Kennedy Igboananike (6) - The overall quality in the passing game may not always be there but his golazo in the 29th gave the Fire a lead. He's been the most effective Fire attacker over the last several games.

FW John Goossens (5) - Started the match in the underneath forward spot and moved out right to start the second half. Only 18 touches and 11 pass attempts in 58 minutes isn't going to do much to spark the offense.

FW Gilberto (5) - Credited with an assist for advancing the ball the Igboananike before the goal. That was it....not one shot attempt from the Fire's lead forward. He's not receiving the ball in good areas and he's not doing much otherwise.

CM Matt Polster (6) - Replaced Alvarez to start the second half. Possession and passing was better than it was in the first half despite the break downs leading to goals. Polster created a good chance with an impressive run up the left side in the 57th. He also created another chance with a quality run up the left side again, evading defenders and finding Morrell in the 76th that was the Fire's best chance of the second half. Completed 91% of his 34 passes.

RM Alex Morrell (5.5) - Came on in the 58th replacing Goossens. Forced Bush into a difficult save in the 76th to keep the game level. Active but several bad passes hurt.

FW Nick LaBrocca (5) - Subbed in for Cocis in the 78th. The Fire's forward off the bench is Nick LaBrocca.



  • After the match David Accam said that he expects to be ready for the DC United game at home on April 30.
  • Fire target Michael de Leeuw scored FC Groningen's lone goal in a 1-1 draw with Feyenoord. After the match de Leeuw said that he hopes the goal earns him attention from clubs abroad.
  • Future Fire midfielder Khaly Thiam played 90 minutes in MTK's 2-2 draw with Ferencvaros. MTK is 5 points clear of fourth place with three games remaining. He's not likely to be available for the Fire before May.
  • A pitch invader made his way onto the field near the end of the match and stadium security appeared not to notice. The fan clad in a Galatasaray jersey worked his way over to Didier Drogba, said something to him and took a picture. He then proceeded to casually walk off the field, over the side advertisements, and up over the rails to begin working his way up an aisle. Several fans stepped in his way to keep him from making an escape before security finally came to him. Another moron worked his way over to Drogba at the end of the match without security interference.

Filed under: 2016 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • I know he was part of a record breaking streak, and i know he had a good game against NYC, but Lampson needs to sit. I believe in Pauno, but he needs to admit he's been wrong about the keeper situation. You could argue Lampson has lost 2 games. I'm tired of watching his "great distribution". Bring back the Milkman!!!

  • In reply to AJties:

    I agree with you about lampson. The last two games it started to look like he might have settled a bit, but then yesterday he's back to his bad habits again. He came out of goal twice to punch the ball and twice he didnt get anywhere close. He again didn't know how to close down a defender 1v1 in the second half.

    I do think the defense is vastly better then last year and I think that the clean sheets are more a product of the defense improving and less a result of lampson's performance.

  • I'm showing MTK drew yesterday 2-2. If my math is right, they could clinch the Europa spot Wednesday. Couldn't Thiam then be available by the end of the week?

  • In reply to PadreJoe:

    You are correct on the 2-2 draw. I missed the 77th minute equalizer. Fixed.

  • I don't have a list of all of the DPs in the league but Gilberto might be the worst of them all. Will be get to 5 goals this season? This team can't move forward until he is not our main/only striker. We just have too many players that run around like a chicken with its head cut off. Polster and Johan are the only players that seem comfortable with the ball at their feet. I think that's the most frustrating part for me. We have soccer players that become deer in the headlights when the have the ball. How many times were players dribbling with the ball and then get the ball stuck underneath their feet. That's high school level stuff.

    Saying Lampson is good with his feet is hurting Pauno's credibility. His decisions to move Shipp and start Lampson have erased all of the positive moves that were made this off season. Lampson cannot be part of this 3 year plan. Sean definitely could/should. If you look out on that field yesterday, how many players could/should be part of that plan? IMO, it's only Johan, Campbell, and Polster. Why play Harrington over Vincent? Why play Alvarez of Morrell? Why isn't Fernandez with the team and getting minutes? Why say there is a 3-5 year plan and then play guys pushing 30 when we have younger players who are at the same level? Either commit to the 3 year plan by playing youth or tell us you're trying to win now. Labrocca, how is he part of a 3 year plan? Is there a clear difference between Fernandez and labrocca that makes Collin not be with the team and Labrocca getting minutes? That's what frustrates me.

    On a different note, there won't be many players come through Toyota park that are better than Piatti.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    I think Morrell showed he should be in St Louis and no where near an MLS pitch.

  • I know compared to last season the defense has improved but IMO it really hasn't improved that much.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    When you take away the whatevering and replace it with a team that has an identity (and include the fact that the lack of offense and the momentum that goals create is missing,) this loss didn't feel as painful as it did the last couple years. If we had offensive teeth, we'd have probably scored a second goal, possibly before MTL's first, and shifted the momentum into our favor Saturday.

    I'm not worried, but definitely disappointed at losing points on the table.

  • This isn't much of a surprise. They focused 95% of their energy on the D this offseason. The D is improved, so there's that. It at least beats Yallop's attempts at revamping the D. They are going to need more time. Let's admit it, this team was pretty barren of talent last year and they've made some nice moves but are moving very deliberately. Some may say too deliberately, as this season is looking more and more like another lost one. But if that means a more successful future, I'm ok with it. Just hope they can continue to build and at some point they are willing to put some legit cash/players behind this project. Until then, it'll mostly just feel frustrating and disappointing...especially when one of the best players on the team has been riding the pine all season.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Tweaky:

    A big part of the reason that the D is better is because the Fire midfielders are staying back on D. It's not a good game plan to hold back the midfield at the expense of generating any offense.

  • Where is Dilly Duka when we can use him. What"s missing
    is someone attacking on the side with speed to relieve pressure
    on the defense. Igboananike appears to have two left feet at times and is not a quality starting forward. The break in the schedule for 2 weeks can be a blessing, Accam will be back, possible Gehrig, and Goossens will be more fit. Then several weeks later, de Leeuw and Thiam will arrive, this will be a substantial upgrade particularly on the offense. I can see the possibility of making the playoffs, the schedule isn't that overwhelming and given that the Fire are in the Eastern Divsion should offer some hope. While the final result with the Impact
    is somewhat a bummer, the fact that they pretty much held even with probably the top team in the division, given the drawbacks facing the Fire, is a positive. One or two victories in a row would put them in contention, don't see any team in the Eastern Division breaking away. If they can manage to tie several times without losing in the next several weeks they will not be far of the pace, can see 12 to 14 wins on the schedule with about 7 to 8 losses in the remaining 28 games. Don"t think the team"s current record would be any different if Johnson was starting. The glaring weakness is on offense not the keeper. Too early to write off the team.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    And if Thiam and de Leeuw don't come until June or July?

  • In reply to penapirata:

    Thiam will arrive in May that deal is done.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Does the Fire have a backup plan if the de Leeuw deal doesn't work out.
    Apparently they have a degree of certainty that he will sign, but it would be a blow to the organization and to Fire fans if it doesn't work out. Another one that got away.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    They've talked to numerous other targets but I haven't heard that they're close on anyone else.

  • Guys I agree that no matter how many games they lose or tie they probably will be close in the weak east conference. My problem is that the soccer played by the fire is just terrible. I watch teams like Kansas City and Portland and the play is so much better than what has been produced by hauptman teams. I gave up my season tickets after 20 years and might be forced to give up on the team completely if they don't get a little more enjoyable. I am almost embarrassed to admit to my kids wife and friends that I actually watch the fire.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Brokerman:

    Yeah, that game was painful to watch. There was no team play at all, the few times an attacker had the ball in the Montreal half, they were completely isolated, no support or help. In Iggy's case, he tried to dribble multiple defenders and lost it every time. Gilberto just looked for the foul every time he had the ball. The Fire are currently horrible to watch.

  • The loss was my fault. I missed the first 70 minutes. I turned on the game and it was 1-1. First big play was the save on Morrell's shot. Then Piatti scores in extra time. I believe for the better of all involved, I can no longer watch Fire games.

  • In reply to Krasov:


  • If they're building for the future, I'd rather see the kids playing. Play Vincent and Calistri and give Fernandez some minutes. Bring in the older players at the end doesn't buy them anything, for now or for the future. I don't know why Goosens can't play more than a half, but they need him to help create in the middle.

    Harrington thinks he's Blanco and wants to show off fancy step overs when he's under pressure, while playing right back. His service is much better than Palmer's but they need to reign in the unnecessary showboating at that position. Gilberto looked frustrated and slow. At least Iggy looked like he wanted to play and pressured all game coming back all the way into the final 3rd. Was nice to see that effort from him. I just don't know what Stephens gives you that you couldn't get from one of the rookies. It's just really hard to understand what this coach is trying to do with this line-up right now. They just don't match up well with many teams that have superior talent, which is most of them, so play the kids and develop them.

  • In reply to Bumsteer:

    I tend to agree that developmentally we gain more from playing the youngsters now. On the other hand, Pauno did say we were going to play to win and everyone had to earn their minutes. I can't really object to that philosophy. It puts pressure on these young guys to work really hard in practice to earn minutes of gametime. If Pauno were to just play them anyway, he undermines his own stated rules of operation and loses credibility with the team. I think he has to stick to his plan. Either the youngsters will eventually earn their time or the Fire will move on to other candidates.

  • In reply to Arklow:

    That's probably as good an explanation as any for not just throwing every young player out there right now. You want them to earn their way onto the field instead of just waving the rebuilding flag and writing off the entire season as a learning experience.
    If they're out there and get killed, you stand the risk of losing them and setting them back as well.

  • "Accam: I didn't go to MLS for the money".

    I saw the headline and thought, "Well, that's not news, he's playing for AH."

  • In reply to Modibo:

    He's actually said this several times over the last 2 seasons.

  • If Accam had PRP injection therapy, he wont be on the field anytime soon. Had it once, it essentially resets the injury so it can re heal properly. Requires couple weeks of immobilization (hence his big knee brace), then his rehab. Lucky if we see him by June, lucky if he is 90 fit and hasnt lost a step by summer. I think we have found a very capable CAM in Goosens, now its time to find another striker, there isnt enough depth to coast that long until he is healthy. Dont think he will rush his recovery either, another injury and 27 year old damaged goods isnt going to the EPL.

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