Fire 1 Dynamo 0 - recap and ratings

It may have come against the team with the second lowest point total in MLS but the Fire had what was probably their best overall performance of the season in this much needed 1-0 victory. The 4-3-3 alignment that looked lethargic against New England worked well enough in this match. Chicago outshot Houston 20 to 10 (7 to 1 on target) despite the visitors holding a bulk of the possession.

The positives came in the ability to create numerous chances even without David Accam and another solid overall defensive effort. Negatives can be seen in the lack of finishing those chances however.

Houston is winless on the road and wildly inconsistent while sitting at the bottom of the West, but you've got to beat the team in front of you. The Fire did that, for the second time this season.

Recap and ratings

GK Sean Johnson (6.5) - Seems to have claimed the starting job again with his second consecutive game. Credited with three saves but the outstretched stop on Manotas in the 86th probably saved the win for the Fire. Strong presence and command of the penalty area throughout the match.

D Rodrigo Ramos (5.5) - A few good tackles and a couple of forward runs helped but he needs to take care of the battle much better. Passing accuracy at 54% definitely needs to improve.

D Johan Kappelhof (6.5) - Turning into one of the better and more consistent center backs in the league. Led all defenders with 7 interceptions. Houston only managed 10 total shots despite holding a 63-37 possession advantage.

D Jonathan Campbell (6) - In teaming with Kappelhof and the three midfielders in front of the backline, Campbell helped limit Bruin and Wenger to very few clean looks. Small space in front of him and behind Meira in the 86th allowed for Manotas' shot in the 86th.

D Brandon Vincent (6) - 66 touches actually led all Fire players. 74% passing was decent. Tasked with corner kick duty on one side for the second straight match. A step up for the rookie.

M Nick LaBrocca (5) - Decent service on a few corners from the right side. 61% for a midfielder isn't going to cut it however.

M Matt Polster (6) - Strong game for Polster in the middle of the 4-3-3. Started an excellent build up in the 49th when he avoided several tackles and moved the ball forward in the 49th leading to a big chance for Gilberto. The play went from Polster, to Alvarez, to Igboananike, to Ramos, to the foot of Gilberto. 72% passing accuracy.

M Michael Stephens (6) - The Fire looked to defend and counter against Houston and it worked. Stephens aided Polster and the back line with the usual good work rate, 3 chances created, and 73% passing accuracy.

F Arturo Alvarez (6) - Scored the goal when he got behind DaMarcus Beasley to get some contact on Gilberto's cross and roll the ball into the net past the charging Tyler Deric in the 3rd minute. 69% passing and two shots on target in the match. His best game in a Fire shirt.

F Gilberto (6) - Finally delivered in the center forward role after a difficult start to the season but he easily could have had a couple of goals of his own. Deric denied him with a huge stop in the 49th and he created a clean look for himself in the 91st minute but he blasted the ball high of the target. Took 8 shot attempts. Only 2 were on target but he was more involved and dangerous than he has been all season. 47 touches.

F Kennedy Igboananike (5.5) - Work rate continued to be excellent but only had 20 touches on the day. Involved in good combination play leading to chances on several of those touches.

F Joey Calistri (5) - Replaced Igboananike in the 62nd. Only 8 touches and 1 of 3 passes completed in almost a half hour on the pitch.

M Joao Meira (5) - Came on for Stephens in the 70th minute. Allowed Manotas the sliver of space for his shot but had an good interception in the 87th.

M Razvan Cocis (5) - Subbed in for Polster in the 80th minute after a yellow card in the 76th.

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Filed under: 2016 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire

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  • fb_avatar

    Our first deserved win of the season (we got lucky vs. Philadelphia) and impressive given the beating this team has taken schedule-wise in recent weeks. We're still not good but the upside is that most Eastern Conference teams aren't all that hot either. Only 1 team in the conference has a winning record right now. We might not have to be actually good to make a playoff push.

  • In reply to Dan Koev:

    Playoffs?

  • Guys I must say that the team looked pretty good. I was pleased to see the offense especially Gilberto finally doing something. The midfield from the Dynamo was terrible so the pressure was not on the the team. Tthe dynamo missed pass after pass to the right sing.
    Next week should be really good against the timbers. That Timbers Midfield is good. Hopefully old Pauno does not put that de

  • After listening to NR's roundtable (which I recommend you listen to or read,) and yesterday's game...this is going to be a long season.

  • Passing accuracy 66% = awful. Possession 37%= awful. While there were signs of good things, until these statistics change, the Fire will continue to struggle. Every time the Fire had the ball, they tried to push forward without thinking. There were too many misplaced attempts to go forward when the better options were supporting back passes. Why give the ball away needlessly? The Fire attacked with unnecessary urgency resulting in the lost possession. If the team hangs on and builds the attack (not when a counter is appropriate but when the ball is won in midfield for example) they will have an opportunity to have more players in the box increasing chances of scoring. They did have more players in the box against Houston but that was only because Houston retreated when it probably did not have to. Portland will crush this team.

  • The fire midfield is better with Polster, that's for sure.

    It really seems like Paunovic is trying to figure out this team's strengths from back to front. He's built a reasonable backline, which is probably the one positive so far this season. I think he may be on to something in the midfield with the sort of 433 he started against Houston this game. I don't think LaBrocca or Stephens are really starter quality, but I liked the types of players they are in the positions they were playing in. I'd like to see a 433 with Thiam in for LaBrocca maybe.

    Unfortunately I think this win comes down to more that both Gilberto and Alvarez had by far their best games of the season. I wouldn't count on that again.

  • fb_avatar

    Hey Guillermo,
    I didnt really know where to put this (too long for twitter) so I'll just post here. I believe Chicago is still top of the allocation order right? I was daydreaming about who would be a good fit and thought of Johannsson (this may have been discussed in these circles a few months back). He knows the dutch system which seems to be a desired trait of recent signings, Bremen have stated that he isnt a big part of their plans going forward, he seems to be a big MLS fan, etc, etc... I then went to twitter to see if there were any updates on his injury and noticed that both chicago fire and Pauno are following him on twitter... They would probably have to dump a DP before they could even make an attempt but do you think they have any real interest in him? I think his salary would even be in the range Hauptman would be willing to shell out... Food for thought I guess.

  • In reply to Carl Miller:

    Yes, the Fire are on top of the allocation order.
    He's a player that they would probably be interested in (age/decent cost) but the injury issue would be a big concern. He's also under contract until 2019.
    I'm not sure they're looking to spend that kind of money on a gamble or a 32 year old USMNT goalkeeper whose team has been relegated.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    The Fire's top priority should be to sign a stud #10 playmaker. In their 4-3-3 on Saturday, the midfield comprised Polster, LaBrocca and Stephens. None of those players even resemble a creative midfielder.

    I imagine that Accam, Igbo and Gilberto would look a heck of a lot more dangerous if the Fire had a Diego Valeri type pulling the strings in the middle of the field.

  • In reply to StaryByk3:

    Agree 100%

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    seconded

  • In reply to StaryByk3:

    The motion is passed. *BANG*

    Next order of business...

  • fb_avatar

    How I miss the diamond midfield with Blanco and Grazzini at the point...

  • I'm probably gonna get chased out of here for what I'm about to say.... but I never liked Blanco. I had the same problem with him that I did with Magee in his second season. Both of them spent more time whining about a call or the play that just happened then they did on going after the ball. I thought Blanco was over payed for what he brought to the team.

  • In reply to edubs:

    When the Fire signed Blanco, I didn't think I would like him either.

    As I recall the first half of the 2007 season and all of the Fire games that were almost unwatchable, Blanco showed in his first match (friendly vs Celtic) that he was ready to take the team on his shoulders, and all they had to do was follow. All that guy ever wanted to do was win and his presence on the field lifted everyone else's level of play.

    He was not likable in the way that Peter Nowak or Chris Armas were, but Blanco did whatever it took to get the three points every week. I would absolutely love to have a player on my team who cared about winning as much as Blanco did.

    IIRC, the sponsor money the Fire got from Best Buy was roughly equal to Blanco's salary. So, his salary was not a drag on the club's budget.

  • In reply to edubs:

    The difference to me is Magee had one good year, held out to get paid more, then stopped performing, started getting hurt, and whining to the refs. Blanco was the definition of entertainment and almost won us champions.

  • fb_avatar

    I just remember how much the fans of every other team loathed him...which is why I liked him. A clever play maker who was also manipulative as f*** that opposing fans loved to hate. I started following regularly in 08 I think so I missed a lot of his 07 season so I am biased when I say that I miss Graz more. My mom watched a game with me once and within about 5 minutes of sitting down, she pointed out that absolutely every ball went through him (side note, he's still in Fifa 16).

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