Fire 2 Orlando City 2- recap and ratings

The opportunity to stay mathematically in the race for an Eastern Conference playoff spot will exist for a while. There are 12 games left in the season following the Fire's 2-2 draw against another team struggling to stay alive in the weaker of MLS' two conferences. The Fire are within eight points of the "red line" with one game in hand on sixth-place DC United but yet another home game is by the boards with only one point to show for it.

Realistically speaking, playoff hopes are dashed but this game did at least provide some flashes of entertainment with two goals scored, and a small improvement in possession particularly in the second half. There is enough time left in the season that the Fire just can't throw up the white flag and "play the kids" since there are evaluations to be made for next season and there should be some attempt to see how the attacking line of John Goossens, Michael de Leeuw, David Accam, and eventually David Arshakyan look before completely closing the book on 2016.

The Fire were weak again in possession in the first half and allowed a goal within minutes of taking the lead early once again. Orlando clearly had the better of the play, taking a 2-1 advantage into half-time. Chicago responded with an equalizer in the 78th and pressed for more but couldn't break through. Following the game, the team seemed relieved to salvage something at home. Veljko Paunovic cited the improvement as a positive in his post-game comments but the effort still wasn't good enough to beat an ordinary Orlando City side that has also struggled on the road this year.

The small steps have been just that this season.

Player ratings

GK Sean Johnson (5.5) - Five saves and a bit better command of the box. The Fire still seem to be working through some communication issues in back though.

D Eric Gehrig (4.5) - Paunovic needed to make a formation change as Kaka threatened to make child's play of Fire's right side early on. Kaka was never a track runner but he whizzed by Gehrig three times in one run in the 54th minute. Did provide a well placed ball over the top in the 43rd that led to a chance for Goossens. A botch almost led to a goal or PK in the 62nd.

D Jonathan Campbell (4.5) - Muscled off the ball and beaten by Larin for Orlando's first goal. Better after the shift to a four-man back line.

D Johan Kappelhof (5) - Moved to the right side of the back line midway through the first half and settled it somewhat. Kaka was less effective from there on.

D Brandon Vincent (6) - Found Cocis for the equalizer in the 78th. More involved and added an improved 76% pass completion rate.

M Matt Polster (5) - The Fire still lost the overall possession battle (56-44) but midfield wasn't as lopsided as it has been in games past. The second half showed some improvement in that category. Polster started out wide and moved into a more customary central role with the formation change. Also improved passing at 78%.

M Khaly Thiam (4.5) - Subbed out at the half. The Fire's attack improved with one less uninvolved midfielder and one more forward.

M Razvan Cocis (6) - Scored the tying goal on a header in the 78th. Also close on another feed from Vincent in the 30th.

F/M John Goossens (5) - Didn't complete passess at a high rate (56%) but Fire front runners don't have much help in receiving the ball in good positions from midfield. Involved but not particularly dangerous.

F Michael de Leeuw (5.5) - Not many touches in the final third but helped push the attack in the second half. Completed 78% of passes and placed his one of his two shot attempts on target in the 39th.

F/M David Accam (5) - Dangerous when running at players but Orlando City was able to gain control of it not allow him to to face just one defender. Has to resist the tendency to try going 1v3 at all times. Did complete a pass to a teammate going forward in the 92nd though.

F Luis Solignac (5) - Replaced Thiam after the half. Involved somewhat but missed a clear look on net after drawing Bendik out in the 78th.

M Arturo Alvarez (5) - Replaced Goossens in the 71st. Tried to get a penalty call in the 90th but none was given.




Filed under: 2016 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • The Fire were sure Kaka'd yesterday. Kappelhof was the only one that stood a chance against the Brazilian DP. I hope N-Rod took notes on what an impact DP looks like on the field.

  • I was frustrated with Vincent's play. He did not seem to hustle and was at times lackadaisical when quick work was needed. He should have gone forward more without the ball. He never made an overlapping run. He never pushed forward to receive a cross or other pass from the opposite side. Because he did not go forward, Orlando was able to play attacking defense on the right side which forced bad pass after bad pass. If he went forward, it would have cause Orlando to back off slightly giving our right side attack more space. You can say the same on the other side. But Kappelhof was better at going forward when the ball was on the right.

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    I can actually see the team progressing, and with a couple of more players we will be better. Also nice to see the Hauptman Out banner. But then it disappeared . Question Guillermo, who is the young doogie houser look alike in the Fire sportjacket?

  • In reply to Keith Woller:

    You might be referring to Manager of Team Operations, Alex Boler.

  • I was up in the Skydeck. I could plainly see the Hauptman Out banner. But there was someone holding a smaller white sign with black lettering. I couldn't read it from where I was but it looked like it said "in ...... we trust". Can anyone tell me the full text of the sign?

  • In reply to Doug:

    That was Don counter-protesting. The sign was likely "In hauptman we trust."


  • In reply to BrianC.:

    The sign actually reads "In Hauptman I Trust". It's the same guy that tweeted "Hauptman is God".

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    Agree that Vincent was a standout this game. Very good to see, and his service into the box is only getting better. de Leuuw is quickly going to go the route of Ibgo and Gilberto if he doesnt get any service. Poor guy, I think I saw him get two touches without having to come back and get the ball. The lack of service to both him and Accam (and Gilberto before them) is just such a glaring problem. Solignac seems to have been an intelegent pick up. Missed his chances in this game, but he created a good amount of them. Looks to be a clever and crafty player. Chicago looked less one dimensional this game when they spread out the middle three and actually played on the wings.

  • In reply to Carl Miller:

    I think Vincent needs to be "freed up" to play his game. He does not seem to know what he is allowed to do as far as going forward is concerned. If he moves forward and works to get back quickly in transition, he will become an excellent player. Think of how many times you saw Gonzo going forward and then getting the ball deep in attack. If Vincent were allowed to go forward he would be able to send in even better crosses because he would not be sending through or around two defenders but possibly from open space. GO FORWARD YOUNG MAN!!

  • Midfield. Midfield. Midfield. Seriously, we haven't had a #10 playmaker or someone to control the flow and overall, our mid as a whole hasn't been great. I'm sick of the long balls to Accam or no one. It's another reason our possession stats suck. There are signs of hope with some of these players but it amazes me we continue to ignore this critical part of the field.

  • In reply to pezkoreaddict:

    Your spot on with this. If we have a real #10 (and I don't mean Shipp - he was a nice piece, but not the answer), this would be a completely different team. Our defense is getting stretched because there is no one in front of them that can hold the ball, and our offense is lethargic because there is no one from behind acting as a play-maker. Get us a solid #10 and this team becomes a playoff contender (at least in the east). If we don't get one in January, 2018 will be lost as well.

  • Yesterday was pretty fun game I thought..but Sean Johnson blasting long balls to triple covered forwards was our primary method of attack. I'm a Goosens fan, but we need some true distributing middies badly

  • GR - I know there are several interested teams looking at signing Yedlin, any outside chance he would be interested in moving back to mls? I know it's too early to say he's done in Europe, but is the competition he'd see in the Championship that much better than mls?

  • In reply to AJties:

    That....would be amazing.

  • In reply to AJties:

    I haven't heard anything to that effect. I would doubt he's back in MLS at this point.

  • I think I have reached my threshold of watching this team play anymore. It was the first time in my supporting of this club that I left at halftime. I sat there and watched professional soccer players kick the ball as far as they can and run after it. That is not something that I want/care to watch. Seeing Matt Polster starting at right back was the most disappointing thing that I have seen this season. It just doesnt make any sense. I dont care that he changed it midway through the first half. The fact that Pauno went through a week of practice and game-planning and decided to move our best central midfielder to right back to play alongside Eric Gehrig is pathetic. Eric Gehrig cannot be a starting player on a team that wants to win many games. He is the Bakary Soumare of this team. He gets the ball and immediately looks to kick the ball as far as he can. It is so frustrating to watch. I have season tickets but wonder why I go to these games. They never make me happy. I don't enjoy watching them play. There are a few players that I think are decent enough players but they are not enough to make me happy. The players cant pass, trap, shoot, or defend.

    The moment Frank Yallop became the worst manager we have had was when he put Polster at right back. I have zero faith in Pauno.

  • I can see the benefit of a 3-5-2 formation but your two outside guys at the back need to be studs; Kaka was exposing Polster because Polster had no one behind him. Ramos instead of Gehrig would have allowed us to stay in the 3-5-2. However, what I thought was interesting was when Thiam was subbed out, it was more of a 4-1-3-2 or 4-1-4-1 and our possession improved in the mid-field (Polster), we were on the attack more with Accam, de Leeuw, Goosens and Solignac. The 4-1-4-1 forces the opponent to defend and prevents them from pressing high, which allows Polster space to get the ball and distribute to the front '5' - which he did last year. Cocis should be part of the front '5' - just has a knack for scoring late.

    Vincent - Campbell - Kappelhof - Ramos
    Accam - Cocis - Goosens
    de Leeuw - Solignac

    Or de Leeuw next to Goosens and Solignac alone up top

  • In reply to Jojoy:

    I agree completely, even with this formation, Ramos and Vincent will need to go forward, not totally, but forward enough to release pressure on the opposite side. Polster, will find them and make the connection which will force teams to back off the high pressure.

  • In reply to Jojoy:

    What about David Arshakyan, aka The Great Armenian Hope?

    But yes, this is def. the best XI for Fire (with Milkman in goal)

  • The only trophy won this year comes from JD Power...looks like we need to start being sponsored by Chevy.

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