Fire 2 DC United 2 - recap and ratings

There were reasons for optimism in this one. The Fire held possession in the first half (53-47), created scoring chances, came from behind, and generally played an entertaining match for a good portion of it. There was also a repeat of the recurring themes of failure that have been maddeningly prevalent for some time now regardless of who the coach or the players are.

A retreat late in the second half from what led to success resulted in the visiting team holding the overall possession in the match (53-47), only three shots were on target in 17 attempts, and sloppy defending led to clean looks and the inevitable late game equalizer.

This year's team has shown a small amount of incremental success and that has been evident in the pair of 3-0 wins that have been the highlights so far. The measure of success for the remaining six games of the year probably shouldn't be placed solely on results but how individuals can prove that they should be a part of the 2017 version of the Fire.

There are some pieces in place and a more attractive style of play beginning to become evident, but for now the story on the scoreboard remains the same.

Player ratings

GK Sean Johnson (5.5) - There were not glaring errors like last week's gaffe which led to TFC's second goal but perhaps he could have challenged more aggressively on the first DC goal. The Fire decided to play all defenders on the line to stop an indirect free kick and that left Rob Vincent completely unmarked to pick out the top of the net. Johnson did well to keep the ball out of his own net to set up the indirect free kick in the first place and made two good stops in the second half to temporarily keep the Fire ahead.

D Johan Kappelhof (5.5) - Did well to contain Nyarko, who torched the Fire in the previous match-up between these two teams but his questionable back-pass led almost ended up in the net and led to the ill-fated indirect free kick.

D Jonathan Campbell (5) - Led all players in blocks with 3. Caught in the scramble for DC's second goal.

D Joao Meira (5) - Led all players in clearances with 10 total but was also caught watching the ball ping around in the Fire's penalty area before the DC equalizer.

D Michael Harrington (5) - Started the play that led to the Fire's second goal with a good ball forward but clearly missed his mark on numerous occasions leading to chances.

M Razvan Cocis (6) - Active on both ends but the Fire midfield wasn't quite as good in the second half as it was in the second. Completed 29 of 37 passes. Scored the Fire's first goal on a header from a free kick in the 21st.

M Matt Polster (5.5) - Led all players with 42 passes completed (42 of 56). Had a good look on a header go high in the 78th.

M Arturo Alvarez (5.5) - Very active in the first half and not so much in the second. His free kick attempt was knocked in by Cocis for the first Fire goal.

M Luis Solignac (5) - Started in the underneath role but wasn't as influential as he has been previously. Decent in combination but did not manage one shot attempt.

M David Accam (5.5) - Scored the Fire's second goal on an impressive run through midfield and a shot from outside of the box. That was his only attempt on frame in seven attempts. Did find Arshakyan for a few tries in the second half.

F David Arshakyan (5) - In his first start for the Fire the big man one shot on target in four tries. Clearly still working his way in.

M Khaly Thiam (5) - Subbed in for Arshakyan in the 70th minute. One shot attempt was blocked just outside of the 18 resulting in a handball and free kick for the Fire.

D Brandon Vincent (5) - Replaced Harrington in the 76th. Completed one pass in four tries.

M Joey Calistri (5) - Came on for Alvarez in the 87th but it was too late to provide much difference. DC scored in the the 92nd.


  • Patrick Doody started and played 90 minutes in Saint Louis FC's 5-1 loss this weekend. Collin Fernandez played 27 minutes as a sub. Saint Louis FC has failed to qualify for the USL playoffs and has one game remaining in their season.
  • The Fire's draw combined with Columbus' win in Orlando City, and Houston's win at RSL has placed Chicago back at the bottom of the MLS standings.

Filed under: 2016 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • There were a couple moments where the team strung together some very nice passing in the first half - they looked like they were playing with purpose and confidence. They managed to recover well from DC's first goal.

    But the late collapse - just not acceptable. What a letdown.

  • I hope Arshakyan is still getting used to the team and everything...because he was such a non-factor. He looks completely incapable of making any type of creative run and wasn't even winning jump balls.

  • Polster made's 24 Under 24 list at #20. A nice honor for him, but some of the technical comments were faint praise - hard-working, good engine, physical - though some noted his passing ability and tactical maturity.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    He was #21 last year.

  • Thoughts on the game....

    I thought Harrington was atrocious. Unable to close his defender down and allowed a number of dangerous chances to be created in the first half. Gave away to much space and looked like he was unsure of his positioning on multiple occasions.

    I was impressed by Polsters ability to shepherd the ball in Saturdays game. Multiple times the Fire were under pressure in the back and Polster provided an outlet. A couple of moves on the ensuing defenders and he had the ball out of danger, able to stop the high press and restart the attack. He was also constantly an outlet back for the attack and vocal in directing the flow of the game as a defending mid.

    Alvarez continues to impress me with his creativity and placement of the ball. Had a great back heel pass in the box in the first half. Pass of the week if you ask me. Would have been goal of the week if it was converted. Was less involved in the second half as stated, but when he was able to get involved he was dangerous.

    I wasn't impressed with Arshakyan at all. His ability with the ball at his feet is grade school at best. A lot of people have complained about Igbo's control... Arshakyan is worse by a couple orders of magnitude. It seems that he can be very capable with the ball in the air as illustrated by some really nice flicks of the ball into space that he made (unfortunately with no one making the run). But as of now, the Fire isn't playing that type of soccer. No one understands yet how to serve him the ball in dangerous places. Either his footwork needs to greatly improve (not falling all over the ball would be a start) or the team needs to learn better how to use his height and ability to head the ball. Brian McBride had the same problem when he end his career with the Fire and he was worlds better then Arshakyan in all aspects. From what i've seen so far I'm not impressed. Lets hope Pauno sees something better in him and capitalizes on it or cuts him quick.

    Accam was much more effective then last game and didn't crowd the box like he did last week. I think if De Leeuw was in, he would have capitalized on that cross that Arshakyan completely bungled over the crossbar...If Accam keeps improving his crossing skills, his ability to get defenders to fall over them selves will be a huge weapon in years to come.

    I felt by playing Luis Solignac in the underneath role it will do the same thing to him that it did to Mike Magee. Not his best position and takes him out of the game. would rather see De Leeuw continue in that role. Much better suited for him. Or flip Solignac and Arshakyan. Allow Arshakyan's height to help push the ball forward in the air to Solignac and also be a target in the box.

  • In reply to edubs:

    Solignac seemed to have a pretty flat night overall.

  • Guillermo,

    Doesn't Atlanta United pop to the top of the Allocation list as an exhibition team? I thought we lose our top spot when they come in. If thats the case, wouldn't we not be able to get any funny money from AU for Guardado? Or do the expansion teams pop to the bottom of the Allocation list?

  • In reply to edubs:

    That's a good question. The expansion teams will get priority in the allocation process but a player like Guardado isn't entering the league via allocation. How MLS deals with the Discovery lists that exist (Guardado is on the Fire's list) is yet to be seen. The Discovery lists change often based on what teams are looking for. As of now, the Fire would get first crack via Discovery claim. I'd imagine that Atlanta has a list of their own at the moment since they have been active in pursuing players.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Do the fire have a claim on Bastian too? It would stink to miss out on Guardado, but it'd be easier to swallow if they sign Schweinsteiger. If they get neither, there better be a great name on that list of 6. I am tired of no names that dont produce. I think de leewu has been great so far, but the fan base needs a star to rally behind.

  • In reply to AJties:

    From my understanding I believe the Fire have a claim on Schweinsteiger as well. The whole man U scenario is interesting... It seems that Schweinsteiger really wants to stay, but Man U really wants him to go... He's not making the bench and I don't know whats going on in training but very interesting how Man U wants nothing to do with him and he refuses to leave. Maybe ultimately its about the money... Don't know.

  • In reply to AJties:

    I agree with you 100%, but based on the hints we've had that we didn't have the $$ to pick up Bedoya, I would be ready to be disappointed.

    If Schweinie is sticking with ManU for $$, he isn't going to be excited to take a pay cut and play under a tightwad.

    Frankly, after so many seasons of promises, I would be suprised if the Fire brought in a brand name player who lives up to the original DP tag, like David Beckham, Thierry Henry, or Robbie Keane. Or Bastian or Guardado. Go ahead AH - surprise me.

  • In reply to AJties:

    Yes. Yes. and Yes.

  • I may have missed this but why were De Leeuw and Goosens out?

  • In reply to Krasov:


  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:


  • In reply to Arklow:

    Pauno said yesterday that DeLeeuw's ankle was injured, but that he was training with the ball on his own. Goosens has a back issue.

  • Any more updates on transfers. I just want the season to end and see what they do. When is that shortlist about transfer targets or your suggestions coming?

  • In reply to Firefan5819:

    After the season.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Ok do you know anything that we don't? You don't have to say now but was there something mentioned to you?

  • In reply to Firefan5819:

    As always, stay tuned to Fire Confidential. ;)

  • Guillermo

    If the season keeps going as it is and the Fire remain in last place will old andy fire NR and Pauno or do we have to continue on as the laughing stock of the league. What are the chances of the team being sold. I was all excited a couple of weeks ago when you came out with the information about the sale. I was watching the last news conference that NR held and noticed that when you asked a question he sort of made a face. Personally I loved it at least he is aware of people knowing that the team is not all he has said and that indeed there are troubled waters on south Harlem street. I am super tired of reading Paunos news conferences about everyone trying hard and how well the players are performing. In my business If you are in last place you are driving a cab. I hope that the first change of business in the off season is a new owner followed by a new GM and a new experience coach. Until that happens my season tickets will go un-purchased . Honestly Chicago is one of the best sports towns in the world its a shame that the MLS allows Hauptman present this charade of a team to continue.
    Last topic why in the earth would a super talented player like Accam waste his youth on a losing team in Chicago. I do wath the games if only to see his super exciting play. Can anyone imagine what the team would be like without his talent.

  • In reply to Brokerman:

    I'd be shocked if Rodriguez and Paunovic are fired at the end of the season. They can't continue to change regimes.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    I was thinking that too. I would maybe get rid of Nelson but Pauno should and I see him progressing and bring one of the best managers in mls by 2019 if he obviously does the right choices year after year. I just want a least one more away win (maybe in Columbus) and just hope winter will be successful and several of good players, young and players with experience come in. I fricken hope Guardado comes in. I would go to each Fire game just to see him play.

  • In reply to Firefan5819:

    Pauno should stay**

  • In reply to Firefan5819:

    Pauno is never going to win us any trophies. He has showed this season, that he doesnt really know what hes doing. We still dont have an identity. We are still trotting out mediocre players week in and week out. There is no way Accam will sign another contract with this club. He would only being doing it for the money, which you cant blame him. If he wants to actually play some sort of decent looking soccer, he will leave as soon as possible. We are not close to being a winning team. We may win a game here and there, we may have some exciting games, but we are not a winning team. We wont make the playoffs for at least 2-3 more years. We need about 10 new players total. And that is if all of our "good" players stay. I have lost interest in this team and do not care if I watch the game or don't. I can't relate to any of the players and I don't understand where the team is trying to go. Nothing at the club makes sense and it has become so strange to see just how far they have fallen. I love this club, but hate this team.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Agreed! Paunovic stays. NR goes only if they find someone else who is known to be at least as astute as NR at cutting deals and possesses Hauptman's secret sex tapes for spending leverage.

  • In reply to Arklow:

    Well said Arklow. He needs to stop using big words in conferences and instead use his mouth to talk to other clubs about transfers. So annoying

  • In reply to Brokerman:

    " In my business If you are in last place you are driving a cab."

    AH is in a single-entity league for a reason.

  • 10 points in 6 games to achieve my guess of reaching 37 points. I think I'm going to be on the losing side of that bet.

    PS- check #17 on this week's MLS power rankings. A Fire Alum who's fallen off everyone's radar just got full mention.

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