DC United 6 Fire 2 - recap and ratings

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.

Player ratings

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.

Filed under: 2016 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • It will be interesting to see how this team bounces back. We will be able to see if they have any pride or they just pack it in for the season. This season is a disaster with no light at the end of the tunnel. The best draft pick we can get is the third pick. This is an entirely new team from last year and we are still crap. What are the odds that Accam will be back next season? Sean? It will be an interesting end of the season, that's for sure.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Accam will probably be back. Johnson, not likely.

  • Guys this ending was something that had to happen. When NR signed these guys from Lithuana and Senagal I took my time and watched them play on UTube. The league in Lithuiana is a bit better than the NCAA games but less organized. Arshakyan is a tall guy that cannot dribble to well. He looked lost last night. Thiam will not be with the team next year. The evulation Process that NR and Pauno have showed is terrible. The best signing that they have on the team is Kappelhof and he looks exhausted. Does anyone want to bet that the Atlanta team will be better than the fire next season. In my mind the only way we can force Hautpman to sell the team is stop buying tickets. I really want a good team in Chicago but it is obvious that with the current t organization it is almost impossible. Did anyone get a look at Pauno focusing on his hands yesterday. What was going thru his mind? I bet what he was thinking is how did my career look so good only to get involved with an organization that wants to get the last dime out of th league. I heard thru a friend that Pauno actually was watching very late TV and saw Arshakyan playing. He checked around and signed the player. Do you think that is what Seattle did with their midfield signing. No they took their time had many coaches visit and evulalte the player then proceeded. The Fire on the other hand did most of their grading over UTube. what can they expect.

    I really like the theory that the family is tired of hauptman and is looking to unload the team. I am also a hockey fan and remember when of dollar bill wirtz died. I hated to be happy at ones death but in that instance the Writz demise was the best thing that could have happened to Chicago Hockey. I am not betting on a disappearance of hauptman but a long vacation to scout a player in Senagal by Donkey would be very good for soccer in Chicago. He could be director of third world scouting and only be able to tavel by foot or donkey. O also no computer to keep in touch.

  • In reply to Brokerman:

    Actually I was starting to think that Wirtz had come back from the dead to work for the Fire, only cuz we can't get the games on free tv anymore. Sheesh, not even English language radio or website audio feed!

  • In reply to Heroic Oaf:

    PS: Meant to say, free tv, vis a vis My50 - heck, I remember when some Fire matches were on the old Universal 5.2. Saw a Comcast feed of a Bulls game last season on 5.2. Now why can't we watch an occasional match that way?

  • I actually thoughr the fire were playing well until the red card. I was liking how Vincent was coming up the side and felt he was puttin in dangerous crosses. After going down a goal they kept their head in the game and got the equalizer quickly. After the red card it was a completely different team out there. All the confidence that we had seen in the last 2 games just left them and DC made them pay for 60 minutes for Thiam's temper tantrum. Considering that they just got handed their worst loss in 13 years, which was the result of the defense packing it in early, I think 4's for the back line is generous.

  • I think that it is time to move Pauno to a coaching position with the youth teams or send him on his way. He definitely is way over his head in his current position. For this team to be successful, we need to start with a head coach that knows the game and has coached at the professional level. That might require a few dollars. I am not sure that the current owner is willing to spend that kind of money. It will be interesting to see what kind of moves the team makes this off-season. If Pauno is still the coach come January, I have no hope for this team. I have been a season ticket holder since year 1. I continue to purchase season tickets to support professional soccer in the US. I don't attend many games any more. I have no respect for the current ownership or the leadership team of the current Chicago Fire. Unless I see some serious attempts at becoming a real competitive soccer team (how about signing a coach that has success at the professional level) I will not go out of my way to attend any matches. I get much more satisfaction attending Chicago Mustang games. At least I know that this is a team trying to win. Professional soccer in Chicago is at a crossroads. Does this team continue down the deep journey to irrelevancy, or will real changes be made? As a long time Chicago soccer fan, I would never have guessed that this team could sink as low as it has in regards to representing a real professional team. Time for some changes!

  • In reply to westmalle:

    Great points made, I tend to agree. Pauno's got a little Lovie Smith glass-half-full in him (remember the 'I like the position we're in right now' schtick?).
    Getting kinda tired of it. Maybe if Accam hadn't gotten hurt after week 2 (not his fault) we may have had some consistency to build on. If Pauno and Nelly are here next season, imh, we have GOTZTUH finish in the top 4 in the East - none of this play-in BS with 5th or 6th place. We're tired of waiting.

  • In reply to Heroic Oaf:

    Sorry, wasn't thinkin' - 3rd & 4th are play-ins too, BUT they'd be home field advantage, fwiw.

  • GR, next time you get a chance to speak with N-Rod could you ask him why Fernandez is still not getting playing time? He couldn't even get into the 18 for St. Louis over the weekend. Could you also ask him why he said on you pod cast back in February:

    "And I'll say one other thing, and I know I wasn't here, so it will sound like I'm casting stones, and I don't mean to, but I, I don't think the club did a good job with Collin last year. He didn't get enough games. There wasn't a real development plan for him. So I think he lost some time in his development last year and we're going to pay more attention and try to ensure we've got a good plan for him this year that enables him to maximize his potential."

    and Fernandez has seen less playing time, in MLS and USL combined, than last year? Does he think his plan to develop him is working and if it is good enough to maximize his potential? Do they even want to develop young players? Or was he just saying this for PR purposes?

  • In reply to penapirata:

    Collin is with Peru's U20 team right now.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    That I did not know.

  • I still support Pauno & Nelson. This was a character builder. Thiam may be done here but I'll leave that up to Pauno. I still think Thiam has potential but he's displayed a lack of character. He's young and lacks maturity. The red card in this game really pulled the plug on the Fire's chances. If I was Pauno I would sit him down and tell him this team needs to be able to depend on him. He should get rid of the cocky hair and focus on being somebody his teammates don't need to worry about.

    It's ridiculous to judge Arshakyan based on the 35 minutes or so he played in a disjointed and shorthanded situation. I saw a few good moves but it will take time for the team to learn to play with him. I liked his size. He looked scary huge out there. I can't recall anyone that big playing forward for the Fire. I want to see this play out. See how he fits over time. If he works out, he could be a beast.

    It's a fragile team mentally yet at this stage. The team has improved overall and are playing attractive soccer. They've tasted a better game but they need to learn to believe in themselves, buckle down and play through adversity. It's a confidence issue. I believe that's coming. But still a little way down the road. One very bad game doesn't mean we toss everyone and start over again. Even when it was this bad.

    Patience is in order. Except with Hauptmann.

  • In reply to Arklow:

    Has it only been one bad game though? There have been maybe a handful of full 90 minute games where they have looked good and deserved to get the result. That is simply not good enough. These players are ALL NR and Pauno players. Majority of this team is of USL quality. I know I wouldn't be shocked if I saw most of these guys lining up for Indy 11 or FC Cinci next season. The fact that it took Pauno half of the season to realize that Lampson has no business on the field is scary. We still have to rely on Cocis to be contribute in every match is not good enough. Pauno needs to get his act together quickly. I am giving him until 10 games in next season. If we are in a similar position, I will be loudly calling for him to leave. We wont win anything with him in charge but he is a no-name and that is good for a terrible rebuilding phase. Hopefully he will be the scapegoat at some point next season and we bring in a real manager.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Just before this game everyone was getting excited at the improved performances of the two previous games. The slow but steady additions suddenly started to show results. My "one bad game" reference was in the context of this recent turn of improved outlook over the last couple of games only. One bad outing and, suddenly, folks are calling for throwing in the towel and starting over again. After all we've seen since Andell took over, I can be a little patient with the NR/VP regime.

    I don't see Pauno being considered for dismissal after 10 games into next season. Not impossible but highly unlikely. It would take a significant collapse through the end of this season and a flat and disarrayed performance to open next season. I just don't see it.

  • In reply to Arklow:

    At this point, I don't even know if we would recognize a collapse. How could we differentiate it from garbage that's already strewn across the field. Using my last 3 STH vouchers on Sept 10. Had to bribe my kids with a trip to Haunted Trails down the street to get them interested. Trying to think of when I'll venture out to Toyota Park again after that.

  • In reply to Doug:

    Perhaps you'll get "lucky," witness a great Fire win, and be forced by family pressure to renew those season tickets. I guess to be optimistic, you could say there is good luck in either a win or a loss outcome. So it'll probably be a draw. ;)

  • In reply to Arklow:

    Agree with your points. Including the last one. Hear hear.

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