Revolution 1 Fire 0 - recap and ratings

A lack of quality in the final third leaves the Fire susceptible to failure time and again. Just one mistake or lapse in the back continues to be the difference on the road in close games. Chicago probably played well enough to get a result in this match but again did just enough to not do so.

The mistake in this match was a botched clearance of a corner kick by Sean Johnson in the 85th minute. The error was even more frustrating given that Johnson had almost single handedly kept New England from taking the lead in the minutes leading up to the goal.  "It's my responsibility because I ask our goalkeepers to every time it's possible to try to catch the ball, so we move forward, we learn from everything and we're happy with the performance because Sean had fantastic saves today," said Veljko Paunovic after the match.

The astonishing road winless streak is now at 35 games and realistic hopes of making a charge at a playoff spot took a big hit with this result. Chicago is now 9 points behind New England for the sixth spot in the East but do have two games in hand. The rematch between these two teams on August 9 in the US Open Cup semifinal seems to be the Fire's best hope of salvaging something from 2016.

"Sometimes you win, sometimes you have to go with the good game today on the road where I think we were a very good team, very competitive, I think we deserved more but in the end, as I always say, you get what you actually deserve," said Paunovic.

He's correct about the last part.

Player ratings 

GK Sean Johnson (5.5) - This grade is lowered a tick for this mistake in hesitating to clear out the ball which led to the goal but Johnson kept the Revolution from taking the lead several times. Credited with a whopping 10 saves in the match, and some were of very high quality. Just before the goal, the Fire were under siege with Johnson stopping Diego Fagundez three times in two minutes. ""I thought we fought well for 90 minutes, obviously giving away the late goal was disappointing after fighting so hard, but you go down fighting, try to do the best you can to grind out a result and it just didn't come off and I'll take that one on me, and really look to come out next week and do it all over again," said Johnson after the match.

D Johan Kappelhof (5.5) - Played at right back to get Meira in at center back for some reason. Not as dynamic as Ramos is in the attack but solid nonetheless.

D Joao Meira (5) - Took a physical beating as the recipient of several hard fouls and elbows. Perhaps his own hesitation to attack the ball in the 85th led to Johnson charging out too far and too late. The Fire played what appears to be their first choice line-up in this match with Meira being the exception.

D Jonathan Campbell (5.5) - New England's Kei Kamara wasn't particularly effective and didn't get free too often but there were plenty of looks generated on the Fire goal.

D Brandon Vincent (5) - The Fire's "all-star" representative had a difficult time with Teal Bunbury, throughout the match.

M Matt Polster (5.5) - Polster had a high pass completion ratio (35/41) but not much of that helped link anything going forward. He wasn't bad but the Fire will continue to struggle offensively until the front attackers find the ball in better position.

M Khaly Thiam (5.5) - Like Polster, passing was acceptable (32/39) but not dangerous. New England also found way too much space in front of the backline. The Revs were able to get 11 of their 18 shot attempts on frame.

M Kennedy Igboananike (4.5) - He'll continue to frustrate the attack if decision making and shot selection don't improve. None of his six attempt were on target.

M John Goossens (5) - He might be the Fire's best option in the 'playmaking' spot of the 4-2-3-1 alignment and that says a lot about what the team needs to address in this window if they're going to do anything but hope again. 22/27 isn't bad but again, not much was dangerous.

M David Accam (5.5) - A good combination with de Leeuw and Thiam almost led to a chance in the 44th. His shot attempt in the 57th was deflected in the 57th and almost found its way to Goossens in front of goal. A through ball to de Leeuw in the 67th led to a chance. Those were the Fire's offensive highlights on the night.

F Michael de Leeuw (5.5) - He's not going to be able to do much without some help. Didn't see much of the ball and his one attempt in the 67th was just wide. Still exhibits quality with off-the-ball work but it still needs to get to him once in a while.

M Micheal Stephens (5) - Replaced Igboananike in the 76th as Paunovic tried a formation shift that yielded little offensively.

M Arturo Alvarez (5) - Subbed in for Campbell in the 89th. Too little time to make an impact.


Filed under: 2016 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • fb_avatar

    Igboananike is getting worse and worse. Until recently I thought he was a useful player who we should re-sign at a more reasonable (non-DP) salary; now I'm not sure I want him with the team regardless of salary.

  • In reply to Dan Koev:

    It's a shame! He tries so hard, it's hard not to like the guy. But I've reached the point where I just know he's not going to hit the goal unless he's just too close to miss. Unless something changes up there soon, the Fire are going to have to spend that money on someone else.

  • you have any insight as to why Vincent was chosen as an all star?

  • In reply to Tweaky:

    That's a mystery that only Dom Kinnear can explain. My theory is that he needed a left back and Vincent is from the area so he chose him.

  • Guys its just a shame that Fire find themselves in such a hole. I watched the Dallas Colorado game last night and the quality of play was just unbelievable. How in the earth did AH pick up a guy whose only qualification for the gm job was managing one of the worst teams in the short history of the league. Then to compound the error that GM goes out and Picks someone that never managed a pro team in his life. I know there have been rookie coaches that have done well but the combination of the two is a disaster.
    You have to hand it to Orlando and NYFC things were not going well and they up and moved on to better more qualified guys to run their programs. If things remain as is Pauno will be fired mid season next year and NR will be gone the following year. The vicious circle will continue until someone comes in and buys out AH.
    One last thing if only NR would go out and find himself a guy like ship the play would improve drastically. I have never seen a team do well that did not have a good center mid and the fire for years have been without someone to run their midfield.

  • I am not well qualified to go up and down the rosters of MLS teams. But, 2 teams fascinate me this year; Philly and Seattle. The Union were in the "We suck, Hope we win the US Open Cup" club with us this year. Now they're tearing up the league. I can't believe their roster is leaps and bounds above the Fire's. I'd say the same for Colorado. By the way, both teams kept coaches seriously under fire from the supporters. On the other hand, Seattle are supposedly one of MLS' elite teams with some top names. They are stinking it up this year. Against SKC I don't even think they registered a shot. At one point, they showed a graphic that said they had 0's for goals, shots on goal, and corner kicks. They also had a mere 33% possession. I seriously think there is merit in blaming some of the Fire's woes on bad luck which has brought with it a chasm of low confidence. I know my expectations are heavily dialed down. And I just think that if they can string some results together, that confidence can return. They've got a lot of young guys and a new coach. I long ago gave up on playoffs in 2016 and am really hoping that a foundation is built for 2017 and beyond.

  • In reply to Doug:

    The last 7 seasons have very little to do with bad luck. That's a losers lament.
    The Union aren't much better than the Fire in terms of personnel but they've managed to piece some success together in a short time. That said, I think this weekend's loss is the start of a downslide for them. The margin of victory/defeat in MLS is very slim because of the parity that's built in but the smart teams are able to find difference makers at bargains and make it work. Not everyone can spend like LA, TFC, and Seattle.
    Speaking of Seattle, they have grown old and stale quickly. They have not been able to recuperate from selling Martins this year.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    A true story about the Fire's bad luck:

    At the beginning of the 2009 season, AH is in his office in TP, getting ready for the season to come, absentmindedly purring to himself in a handheld mirror.

    "Mirror, mirror in my hand, who's the bestest in the land?"

    Before the mirror can reply, Daryl Shore bursts into AH's office to announce that Denis Hamlett has Baky Soumaré in a headlock and his noogies are starting to form visible welts on the defender's head. Startled, AH drops his enchanted mirror onto the cool tile floor, and watches, helpless, as it shatters into hundreds of sparkling pieces.

    "I... I'm so sorry, boss!" DS stutters, backing away, afraid of the owner's ire. "This means you're stuck with seven years of bad luck!" Laughing nervously, he adds "Well, I guess it's not as bad as banning a goat from the stadium, right?"

    AH chuckles to himself and reassures the quivering Shore. "Don't you worry Dave..."

    "It's Daryl sir."

    "Whatever. Look, I didn't buy this club to win on the field. I know what this MLS thing is about. As long as the new clubs keep paying hefty franchise fees, the value of my investment goes up with minimal expense. Seven years! Ha!"

    Daryll Shore looks slackjawed at his boss. "You mean... the competition... the players... the playoffs... all meaningless?"

    "Doesn't matter!" bellows AH. "Look here - look in this drawer! What do you see?!?"

    "More hand mirrors, sir?"

    "Right! More mirrors! Watch this!"

    As Daryll Shore's lip begins to quiver and a salty tear slowly grows in the corner of his eye, AH starts throwing mirrors willy-nilly around his office. As each one smashes into oblivion - on the wall, on the door, and even on a Blanco bobblehead - he screams "Seven more years! Seven more years! Seven more years!" Finally, after what seems like an eternity to DS, the drawer is empty.

    "Look Daryl, why don't you go down and tell Hamlett not to hurt Baky. If he's injured we'll get less money when we sell him to a relegation-threatened team in France."

    And that, young sprouts, is the story of how the Fire acquired luck as bad as the Cubs.

  • In reply to Modibo:


  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Are we going to sign anyone this window bc we clearly need a cam/rm to at least help us get better results. I have been saying this so much this year Guillermo but keep pressuring the Fire Staff on conference calls and this time JUST question and pressure them to about making transfers happen that can help and add not just depth, but big help and improvement. Look at the Sounders, they are having a horrible season but it looks like they signed Lodeiro which looks like a signing that can possibly turn their season around. All I saw the Fire get this summer is a nice and big reject from Blaszczykowski (a fellow native of mine) which is just sad. This franchise needs serious help because at the moment I can't see playoffs until 2019

  • In reply to DavidFromChicago:

    They've got until August 3 to get something done.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Would you be surprised if they stand pat?

  • In reply to penapirata:

    I would not be surprised if nothing significant gets done.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Can you ask them tommorow very strictly about transfers and if they will sign anyone this window?

  • In reply to DavidFromChicago:

    I will but Pauno will deflect it as a question for Nelson.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Modibo:

    That was highly entertaining....and sadly not much of a stretch from reality

  • In reply to Doug:

    IMO the whole luck argument is just an excuse. I don't think teams or players are lucky or unlucky. Either you are good enough to win or you aren't.

  • Guillermo, any info on Jung-Hyun Seo? Danny Santaromita (@TheDanSanto) tweeted that he is trialing with the Fire. The link he provided says he's a 19-year-old striker that plays for Pohang Steelers Youth...but no stats.

  • In reply to jimmyblackcloud:

    No idea who he is. Trialists come and go all the time in MLS.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    did Pauno sound passionate when asked about transfers or did he look like nothing will happen right now.

  • In reply to DavidFromChicago:

    Sounded like he wanted no part of answering that question.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Well in true NR fashion, that's a very typical corporate way to operate in slios. Keeping one's head down and doing one's job becomes the dominant mode.

    Problem with that is it undermines the whole concept of club-as-cohesive-unit and typically will result in players and coaches feeling unsupported by the front office. That can either be a galvanizing force -- as in the brilliant Major League depiction of this phenomenon -- or a centrifugal one which tears the team apart.

    With CF97, time will tell. In the meantime I remain happily on the outside until they sign someone worth slogging to Bridgeview to see.

  • In reply to schematic1929:

    I think there is a difference between operating in silos and having clearly defined roles. It's my impression that Pauno knows the answer to those questions; they have just decided that communications to the public on roster moves would fall to NR. In my opinion, that's a strategy that makes sense. It keeps public pressure regarding roster moves on NR and team performance on Pauno. I think if this was a Major League (great reference btw) situation, Pauno would at least hint that he's not getting the help he needs. I have my criticisms of pauno and nr, but presenting a non-unified front is not one of them. And my nerdiness will not let me stop without saying there is no such thing as centrifugal force.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Thank you.

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