Fire 2 Galaxy 2 - recap and ratings

A contest that featured open, albeit sometimes sloppy play from both sides, overcame a dull first twenty minutes to provide supporters some entertainment and a glimmer of hope for the last ten games of the season. The Fire faced a less than first-choice Los Angeles lineup but continued to show some of the improvement in play that was evident in the road win at Montreal. Overall possession numbers improved and the Fire actually held a lead in that statistic at the end of the match with a 51-49 advantage. Team passing was also better than it had been this season with a respectable 79% success rate.

The Fire took the lead in the second half and threatened to score more but couldn't put the Galaxy away before Gio Dos Santos came off the bench to tie it. It may not have been a great game but there were flashes of a competent and competitive side that weren't exactly evident throughout the first part of the season. Both teams thought that they should have won this one and the result was probably fair although the Fire did blow one incredible chance to take a 3-1 lead.

If you're realistic and objective, you recognize that this team isn't going to the playoffs this year but the last ten games of the season may prove to be entertaining and at least provide some hope that fortunes will begin to reverse themselves in 2017. The last few games have provided a glimmer of that.

Player ratings

GK Sean Johnson (5.5) - The Galaxy only had 5 shots on target and Johnson was credited with one save although there isn't much blame to place on him for the two LA goals. The one save was a pretty good one in the 21st minute to deny Mike Magee.

D Johan Kappelhof (6) - Better in the passing game than he was in the last match from the right side but crossing was questionable at times.

D Jonathan Campbell (6) - Decent job in limiting Zardes and LA attackers to clear looks. Led all players with 10 total clearances. Dos Santos got to the spot before he could for the equalizer but it was a well placed ball. His ball into the box in the 34th nearly found de Leeuw and led to Alvarez's eventual goal.

D Joao Meira (5.5) - Not terrible from Meira but Gordon did beat him to the ball allowing him to set up Dos Santos for the game-tying goal.

D Brandon Vincent (6) - Decent play mostly against Lleget on the left side.

M Matt Polster (6) - Followed up Saturday's game with another good match. The Fire continued to show some evolution in midfield and in connection with attackers. Polster contributed with several good sequences that once again provided a 2015 flash back.  A great ball over the top find Accam in the 53rd ended up with Solignac's startling miss. Completed 83% of his passes.

M Khaly Thiam (5.5) - Completed 81% of his passes. Somehow got lost on Jelle Van Damme's box to box run in the 31st that resulted in the LA goal. Polster appears to lose Zardes on the loose ball but there wasn't much help in the box in front of the back four on that play as Thiam deflected the ball back to Zardes.

M Arturo Alvarez (6) - Started slowly, had a good stretch from about the 25th minute to 60th before trailing off again. Took his chance very well in the 34th to tie the game.

M Michael de Leeuw (6) - Got enough on the ball to bother Diop into a scramble and the result was an open look for Alvarez and the Fire's first score. He doesn't get a ton of chances for himself but his movement and quality on and off the ball are evident. Completed 86% of his passes.

M David Accam (6) - Dangerous as always. Converted the spot kick in the 39th to give the Fire a 2-1 lead. Three of his seven shot attempts were on frame. Hit the post with one of those in the attempts in the 36th. Set up Solignac for the open look in the 53rd but should he have taken that shot himself?

F Luis Solignac (5.5) - He's added a missing dimension up top and seems to work well with de Leeuw and Accam. Drew a penalty kick against Van Damme in the 38th but that missed open net shot in the 53rd loom large. He seemed to wait to long after trying to get the ball on his right foot instead of one-timing with his left.

M John Goossens (5.5) - Came on in the 73rd for Alvarez. His best moment came in the 78th when his pass from the right side found Accam for a good chance.

M Michael Stephens (5) - Completed 15 of his 17 passes after coming into the game for Thiam in the 81st. Slight hesitation in cross attempt in the 90th minute resulted in a block.

M Joey Calistri (5) - Replaced Solignac in the 86th.


David Arshakyan has received his visa and is in town. He will be evaluated on Thursday morning and could be available for the DC game on Saturday.

Filed under: 2016 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • GR, any idea what's going on with Ramos? I thought he was just getting a one game breather, but that was several games ago and it seems like Kappelhoff is entrenched in the right back spot now.

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    In reply to Shinny:

    My guess is they are making him the scapegoat for the bow out of the US open cup. The kid is young and hence is going to make dumb mistakes so I think this is a little extreme and I hope they don't try to use that blunder as an excuse not to make his move permanent as I think he has a tremendous upside.

  • In reply to Carl Miller:

    That's dumb. Obviously, that penalty wasn't great. But he's a young kid who is solid in defense and (I think) our best defensive distributor from the wing when he goes forward. I'd love to see him stick around.

    Having said that, Kap does look pretty solid at RB as well....

  • In reply to Shinny:

    Word is that they're not real happy with his off-field schedule and performance in training right now.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Interesting...well the DCU game will be telling since I'm guessing we'll see heavy turnover in the XI for the third game in a week. If Harrington gets the nod instead of him, I'd say his time in Chicago might be up.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    "Off field schedule" meaning he parties too much?

  • GR summarized it perfectly. They actually played decent looking soccer for change. Solignac seems to a great addition so far, showing good ability to hold-up with the ball at his feet and playing with some passion. Lots of missed chances loom large, but at least it was fun to watch.

  • In reply to schematic1929:

    S1929 couldn't agree more. I went last night and it was a blast. Kappelhof and Polster are no joke. Should be a fun ride the rest of the season.

  • Really fun game and gut wrenching at the same time. The open net missed opportunity was painful. The fact that there was an opportunity was enjoyable. My seats are surrounded by a number of doom and gloomers so it was nice to see even those guys jumping for joy. The second LA goal was a bummer because Meira should have stopped Gordon. I was surprised to see how well Gordon moved. He has surprisingly more left in his tank than I thought. Solignac is a terrific addition. I think the center mids (Polster and Thiam) will have a lot more opportunity to go forward. He has a great flick technique that the CMs did not anticipate but with more experience they will make those runs and have a lot of space in attack in front of goal.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    The confident/unconfident Fire are night and day different. I think the missed open net took a lot of steam out of them that they didn't recover all too well against a blase LA side. If the Fire had won, people would be talking "have they turned the corner? Will this hold up? Is the end of 5 years of poor performance finally coming to a close?
    Well, I think the questions can still be asked, but more evidence must be presented. I'm starting to believe that Pauno more and more. If the confidence continues to show itself, this will be a fun team to watch, which has been so ridiculously long since that's happened that...well, I don't know what. All I know is that having been given a taste of what this team can accomplish, I want to see more. Lots more.

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    Agreed! I've seen what I felt were clear signs of a successful Pauno plan all season long. Even when the season began with poor results (as bad as ever!) we could see that the defense had been greatly solidified. Granted they still gave up goals they shouldn't but the personnel was new & still learning to play as a unit. Because not much had been done yet with the offense, there was a lot of pressure on the defensive line.

    As the season has progressed and we've seen the additions of Goosens, Thiam, de Leeuw, & Solignac, the offense has picked up and opponents can no longer bring as much pressure against the defense. I can't wait to see what the addition of Arshakyan will add to this!

    Yes, the Fire have rounded a corner, turned the tide. As Pauno says, there is still a lot of hard work to do. But I, for one, have felt growing confidence in Pauno all season. I still want our sad-sack owner gone. But we now have a Fire on the field we can take pride in. The new midfield and forward personnel is still learning to play together so I expect further improvement, barring setbacks due to injury, with each game.

    I think they *may* squeek into the playoffs. Probably not much more than that. But I believe we will remember this season fondly as the year the FIRE returned to Toyota Park. My only dark fear: US Men's National Team sacks Klinsmann and steals Pauno away from us.

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    In reply to Arklow:

    My 2 cents is that I really think what we are seeing is the NR plan coming together not really Pauno's. NR is the guy bringing in these players and I think he found the right guys for the back line and some decent attacking talent for the $ they were willing to spend. Pauno is in charge of the on-field product and until the last couple games, chicago was embarrassingly dominated in possession by opponents, they were not good at keeping their shape (except for the defense), and the most basic parts of the game, clean passing and first touches, were astoundingly bad for a professional soccer team. In other words, while he seems like a likable character, I am still not convinced on Pauno. I think the next few games should reveal a lot more since he finally seems to know which players are his core and is starting to keep the starting XI more consistent. I think they are rounding the corner to be a middle table team which is a substantial improvement but there is still a long way to go.
    The players you mentioned and others have definitely brought a new spark but Thiam to me is one player they should not hold onto, he is young but he has made far too many mistakes but beyond that, his passing is horrendous. Against LA, go back and watch his first 10-15 passes...10 foot back passes were bouncing so bad they looked like he was trying to chip the ball. You can't play good attacking soccer when it takes players 2-3 touches to get the ball under control since its bouncing to them.

  • In reply to Carl Miller:

    Thiam is certainly the lessor of the players I named. I'm undecided but unimpressed with him thus far. I would still like to see him play a little longer before giving up on him. At present I wouldn't miss him were he gone. And, yes, I probably should have given Nelson some credit for securing these players. But I believe Pauno has a lot to say about for whom Nelson bargains.

  • In reply to Carl Miller:

    Oh, I can think of at least two players Pauno exclusively wanted in the fold: Ramos, whose U20 team played Serbia in their world cup, and Arshakyan, who even NR said Pauno hipped him to through his own viewing/observing of int'l. matches in his free time. I think he brought Thiam too, but I agree, Thiam doesn't do much for me - he's just...there. Actually, apparently Ramos is slipping too...

  • Do you think the core or base of the team that NR and Pauno have referred to in the past is pretty much established? I would assume we are about 2/3 depth players away from having that core established, but ever since GR brought up the idea of Bastian Schweinsteiger, I can't stop thinking about that possibility. He would be the perfect "final piece" DP in my opinion. His current coach doesn't want him, they might buy out his contract by the end of the year, he doesn't want to stay in Europe, CM is arguably the Fire's biggest need right now...sounds like the stars might be aligning for Chicago to finally get another star power player...just need to be willing to pay for him

  • Luis Solignac received AT&T Goal-of-the-Week honors! Congrats!!

  • Grant Wahl claims Fire interested in Schweinsteiger....

    Maybe so, but there are other names higher on their wish list for January.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    What do you mean by higher? Better than bastian?

  • In reply to Firefan5819:

    By higher, I mean there is at least one other they would rather have.

    The January window should be interesting.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Is it guardado?

  • In reply to Firefan5819:

    I think he'd be the first choice on the wish list.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    I would have gotten guardado instead of Bastian. Guardado is younger and probably will get injured less often than Bastian. If we do get guardado will we get him on the free or will be have to give away our funny money?

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Could you imagine how much Polster would learn from having Bastian playing next to him. Polster does enough running for two people so we could just have him as a deep playmaker, similar to a Pirlo. It would be a great signing. Guardado might bring in more fans but what is his real position?

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    Would rather they go the seattle route and look to south america to find a Grazzini type player.

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