There might be something to the notion that two road games and three games in a week combined with playing a man down had something to do with the fatigue that appeared to run rampant throughout the Fire side in this game. That would be a flimsy excuse however for a thoroughly embarrassing drubbing at the hands of the sixth place team in the Eastern Conference. A team that was struggling to score and was last in the league in the "goals for" category coming into this match.
The small increments of progress that had been measured by an actual road win and a draw at home against a less than full strength Los Angeles took a step in the wrong direction. There's no hiding just how bad this match was. It was shockingly that, even for a team that has become accustomed to providing astounding displays of futility such as the recent 39-game winless steak on the road. This was the worst loss for the Fire since a 6-2 loss to Columbus in 2003.
When looking at standings, this is just another loss. The Fire will likely string together another good result or two and find themselves within spitting distance of sixth place again at some point over the next two months and nine remaining games. There will be talk about the "game in hand". There might even be a surprise win on the road again, but make no mistake, this team isn't going to the playoffs. That's been evident for some time now.
Save yourself the mathematical histrionics and look at the last nine games as auditions for a potentially better 2017. It's all that's left.
GK Sean Johnson (5.5) - The Fire allowed six goals and remarkably it could have been worse. The scoreline could have gotten out of control early had it not been for a handful of stellar first half saves by Johnson. This was an embarrassing display of defense more than anything.
D Johan Kappelhof (4) - Credited with an assist on the Fire's first goal. Failed to close the right side on numerous occasions resulting in uncosted looks but that was par for the course in this match.
D Jonathan Campbell (4) - His worst game of his rookie season was a shocker. Consistently beaten by Mullins.
D Joao Meira (4) - There's no hiding the fact that the entire Fire back line was embarrassed.
D Brandon Vincent (4) - Slow to close down vacant space on more than one of the DC goals. Seemed to be operating in slow motion.
M Matt Polster (4) - The Fire midfield play may have been the most impressive aspect of the last two games but that wasn't the case in this game. Completed 18 0f 24 pass attempts but DC attackers had the run of the place. His long shot was mishandled by Hamid in the 31st and resulted in de Leeuw cleaning up the rebound to momentarily tie the game.
M Khaly Thiam (3) - The inexcusably petulant ball-spike into a prone Patrick Nyarko's face was bad enough but he was also ineffective before the straight red card doomed the Fire to the shellacking that they received. Did deliver two decent crosses but in true Fire fashion, the red card came three minutes after they had scored the equalizer and destroyed any momentum that had been restored.
M John Goossens (4) - Started the match and played 45 minutes......allegedly.
M Razvan Cocis (4) - Scored a goal late in first half stoppage time to give the Fire some hope that something could be gained out of this match. Beaten a handful of times from corner kick chances, late in covering runners in the box.
M Luis Solignac (4) - Waited a second too long on a good chance in the 19th and his shot was easily saved by Hamid. Did factor in again until the 68th when his attempt from distance was wide of goal.
F Micheal de Leeuw (5) - Scored the Fire's first goal. Completed 13 of his 15 pass attempts. Silent to start the second half as the Fire had waved the white flag.
M David Accam (5) - Replaced Goossens to start the second half. Best sequence came in the 78th when dribbled by defenders only to have his shot stopped by Hamid.
F David Arshakyan (5) - A rude welcome to Chicago. Subbed in for de Leeuw in the 56th. Very few touches in the final third.
M Michael Stephens (4.5) - Replaced Polster in the 69th. The Fire allowed two goals over the last twenty minutes.