Toronto FC 1 Fire 0 - recap and ratings

Second half substitutions brought an improvement after an unproductive first half, but it wasn't enough to avoid a 33rd consecutive match on the road without a win. The Fire were outplayed by a wide margin in the first half by a Toronto FC side missing several key players (Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore, Clint Irwin) and were fortunate to escape down only one goal.

Overall possession was better at 52-48 to the home side but the Fire were still outshot 25-11 and only managed two shots on goal.

"First of all congratulations to our players on a great effort. Especially in the second half, I think we had opportunities, we played well, and I thought we could tie the game," said Veljko Paunovic after the match. "I'm happy for them, and I'm happy about having the identity of playing hard until the end and trying to tie the game."

The Fire can only keep trying as the second anniversary of their last win on the road approaches on July 12.

Player ratings

GK Sean Johnson (5) - Five saves and a couple were good ones, like the diving stop on Jordan Hamilton in the 80th minute but still looked uncertain at times.

D Rodrigo Ramos (5.5) - Not a influential as he has been over the last few games but still one of the better players on the field for Chicago.

D Johan Kappelof (5) - Caught up a bit high as the midfield filed to close down space on the Toronto goal.

D Jonathan Campbell (6) - Credited with 5 blocked shots, the majority were in contesting Giovinco's 13 attempts. Cleared ball off the line in the 41st.

D Brandon Vincent (5) - Better than he has been in the last few weeks. Led all players with 4 interceptions.

M Micheal Stephens (4.5) - Made little impact. Zero effective connection between the Fire midfield and attackers.

M Joao Meira (4.5) - With Polster returning soon, it's not likely he'll see much starting time coming up. Completed 41/48 passes but there wasn't much help forward and Toronto found plenty of space in the first half. Did find Igboananike for a good chance in the 64th.

M Khaly Thiam (4.5) - Less effective in passing than Meira at 30/42. Hasn't shown much to suggest that the club has to pick up his buy option for 2017.

F John Goossens (5) - An early 8th minute shot on goal from distance right at Bono was one of the two Fire shots on target.

F Kennedy Igboananike (5) - Came closest to scoring on the team when his shot hit the crossbar in the 64th. Much more active in the second half.

F David Accam (5) - His shot after beating two defenders in the 55th minute as the Fire's only shot on goal in the second half. Toronto seemed to be prepared for him. A long blast to end the game was just wide of goal.

F Michael de Leeuw (5.5) - Made his Fire debut to start the second half as a replacement for Stephens. The Fire shifted to a 4-2-3-1 upon his insertion as the lead forward but he didn't see the ball much for a while. He did show how he can help the team by making two quality runs into space that led to chances. Although the first run resulted in a shot attempt that was off the mark, he narrowly missed getting his head on a cross to the near post in the 88th. He didn't figure into a score but showed reason to see some optimism in his acquisition.

M Arturo Alvarez (5) - Came on for Goossens in the 63rd. Provided the cross that almost found de Leeuw. One shot attempt was well high.

M Razvan Cocis (5) - Replaced Thiam in the 78th. Completed 10/12 pass attempts.

Filed under: 2016 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • "$7 mil in compensation for Giovinco this year." Gee, I'd really hate to be the one to say it, but true impact players cost money.

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    More than double the compensation for all three of the Fire's DPs coming into this year combined.
    Spending that kind of cash hasn't ensured TFC is going to win anything but at least they've engaged their fan base.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    I would not mind seeing Giovinco playing for the Fire for that kind of money and getting the same results that TFC is getting. At least I know I'm watching a rare talent that we may never see again in MLS.

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    To be merciful to myself, i watched just the condensed game on mlslive. It was very late at night when i watched it but I'm pretty sure that at least 5 times in the second half the Fire had a flowing attack with numbers but the player with the ball chose a 35-40 yard shot. De leeuw was visibly frustrated. Paunovic is challenging Klinsmann for "most positive coach' award

  • This team is a disaster. Yallop was hired because he was supposed to have been able to win with a low budget, he wasnt. Pauno was hired and was said to have been able to win with a low budget, he can't. How about a coach with a mind for strategy and eye for talent and an owner willing to provide the necessary funds to build a winner?

    Pauno also came in wanting to be engaged with the fans and was responding to everything on twitter. He has been silenced now and only echos whatever Nelson says. A lot of money was acquired and not much of it was spent, what good is Deleeuw without a playmaker?

    I have no hope that anything will get better and the saddest part about it is that I barely even care.

  • In reply to john:

    Considering that Pauno was starting at basically Zero with this team, at least something is coming together. There is an identity (which has been lacking for a few years,) a mentality and fight in this squad. Given the budget we're working with, we probably shouldn't be surprised with the results. The positive side of this is that there is something to carry over to next year and an offseason to upgrade the roster. At this point, my predictions are that we end up in the low 30's in points, lose the Brimstone Cup(s), end the winless road record, and USOC I'm keeping very wide open.

    No, it is madness putting up with what we've got, but at least there's a process that NR/VP is following and building on.

    Side note: AZ United is sitting on a 4-6-6 record. Yallop rolls on.

  • In reply to john:

    I have to agree with BrianC. We've waited so long for something more than "steadily worse" that it's hard not to call this a disaster. I've had my moments too.

    But I am very pleased with the work of Veljko Paunovic. It's been hard to follow his broken English and understand what he's trying to say. But his English is getting better. And I like what I see him getting from this largely lunchbox crew. Yes, it's painstakingly slow but this is an almost completely new team. It takes time for all these guys to learn to play with one another. There are signs that it is coming. This won't be a great season. Making the playoffs still looks a long shot. But I think we may look back on this season as the year the collapse ended.

    I'm also happy enough with the work of Nelson Rodriguez. He seems to be methodical but effective. I would still like to stick a fork in our owner.

    But I can't call this a disaster.

  • In reply to john:

    Lot of speculation in your comment.

    Yallop hired to win with low budget? Says who? Last year, budget was in upper third of league.

    Pauno silenced? Says who? Most coaches reduce tweeting during their seasons.

    Paulo does not have,a mind for strategy or an eye for talent? Says who? You have the expertise to make that judgment after half a season when the rebuild is still incomplete?

    As for all the bellyaching about the budget on this sites, recent seasons show that performance and budget are unrelated. The lowest budget in the league win the Supporters Shield last year.

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    Yea, de Leeuw will be another "failure" if they dont strengthen the center of midfield. Same as Igbo and same as Gilberto....How are they supposed to affect the game when they get maybe 5 touches. I know a lot of fans still think Ibo is a bust but its because they are still launching balls over the top to him with his back toward goal. The few times he gets a ball he can run onto, he is dangerous. The one ball he got (was still over the top) where he didnt have his back to goal, he dribbled through defenders and shot it off the crossbar from a not so great angle. Even Accam is getting limited service (and when he does, he's reluctant to pass). Goossens may not be a true play maker, but right now he is by far their best option and should be starting in that CAM area. Put de Leuuw, Igbo and Accam up top, Goossens in the advanced midfield role, and Polster and Miera/Cosis in the more defensive midfield slots.

  • In reply to Carl Miller:

    Like these ideas. I think they're still trying to figure out Thiam's role and balance Goosens's and Polster's fitness, though.

  • So what's the latest on the Chicago NASL franchise?

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