Toronto FC 2 Fire 1 - recap and ratings

Toronto FC showed why they're at the top of the Eastern Conference in a professional win on the road without their best player. The Fire's 12 game unbeaten run at home was snapped but the loss wasn't without some positives. They were able to generate numerous chances and easily had their best run of possession over 45 minutes this year with a 63-37 advantage in the second half.

The Fire are clearly better than they were during the early going this season but not good enough to beat the best teams in the league, even at home. They will get chances and provide a more entertaining brand of soccer over the last seven games of the year. The playoffs have realistically been out of the picture for a while now and this loss probably cemented that but they're not doing trying. So there's that.

Player ratings

GK Sean Johnson (4.5) - Slipped and seemed to lose his footing as he was attempting to get the ball forward but that doesn't excuse the terrible give away in the 52nd minute that resulted in Toronto's second goal. It seemed that he didn' see Altidore moving into the space he was aiming for. They didn't lose the game because of it....there were plenty of chances to equalize but the play was crucial. Made a good save late on Cooper in a 1v1 situation.

D Brandon Vincent (5.5) - Decent work in combination on the left side and a few good moments in 1v1 defending.

D Joao Meira (5.5) - He and Campbell were drawn in by Ricketts; run in 33rd which allowed the space for Altidore to get a clear look and the first goal. Otherwise did well to limit Toronto chances.

D Jonathan Campbell (5.5) - Altidore didn't have many looks and Toronto only had three shots on target on the night. Cross delivered a chance for Cocis in the 85th.

D Johan Kappelhof (6) - Completed 88% of his passes from right back and was the Fire's best defender on the night.

M  Matt Polster (6) - The Fire's central midfield was at the very least even with Toronto's Bradley and Johnson combination. Polster completed 87% of his passes before being removed for an attacker. Did miss a clear look in first half stoppage time that could have tied the match.

M Razvan Cocis (6) - Like Polster, effective in keeping the ball. 88% passing success helped that along. Headed chance in the 85th was just wide. The Fire had their best possession game of the season at 57-43 overall.

Arturo Alvarez (5.5) - Active first half and involved in the play for several chances in the first twenty minutes. Put in a good ball for Accam in the 80th which led to a chance.

Michael de Leeuw (6) - Scored the Fire's only goal and forced Bono into a difficult save with a shot in the 70th minute. Always dangerous around the box.

John Goossens (5.5) - Assisted on the lone goal. Two shot long shot attempts with one on target. More involved in the first twenty minutes.

F Luis Solignac (5.5) - Probably the Fire's most active attacker to start the match. Only shot attempt was a long distance try in the 64th that was easily saved.

M David Accam (6) - Set up the Fire's only goal with a run through Toronto's midfield one minute after entering the match for Polster in the 56th. Had a chance in the 80th minute but mishit the shot on a clear look.

F David Arshakyan (5) - Came on in the 78th minute for Vincent. Didn't see much of the ball.

Filed under: 2016 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire

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  • THE REFS WERE TRASH!!

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    In reply to Firefan5819:

    I'll second this. No outright terrible calls but they just refused to call a foul for Chicago including two just outside the box. How Bradley never saw a card is stupefying.

  • In reply to Firefan5819:

    100% Agree

  • In reply to Firefan5819:

    That's a polite way to put it. If one of the players had gotten a red for giving the ref lip, I would have thought it well worth it.

    It's going to be interesting to see who they bring in during the offseason to upgrade the roster.

  • Mistakes continue to cost the Fire. This should have been a draw or, possibly, even a win. Toronto played better at times but the Fire had the most chances. I would have to lay heavy blame on SJ's gaff in the 52nd minute. They are certainly worth watching now and it felt like they had a chance until the time was running out.

  • Nothing about the N-Rod speak in the club before the game?

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    In reply to penapirata:

    do elaborate please

  • In reply to Carl Miller:

    All I know is that he spoke to the club ticket holders before the game.

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    A game where they left it all on the field. Just a few mistakes and it cost them the game in classic Fire fashion. Ratings are about spot on although I would bump Vincent down to 5.0 as he was beat several times. He recoverd well on some but needed to be bailed out on others. COuld be lower but I think this was mainly a result of Pauno wanting his fullbacks to play as almost wingers in this game. I would also bump Alverez up to a 6 as he put sevreal long balls right on a teamates foot and the dink pass to de Leeuw was nice as well. Very involved in creating from the midfield. I have been pleasantly surprised with him since the first game and now that he has more quality around him, he's playing even better. You could see before that he had the potential, but teammates just weren't finding him. I cant count how many times I would see him open in the box waving his hands only for someone to try a shot themselves.

  • I agree that the team is fun to watch. I think Solignac is worth every penny. His first touch and ability to distribute up top is excellent.

    SJ's distribution is horrendous. He hangs on to the ball too long. Counterattacks often start with excellent distribution from the keeper, but with SJ it is almost impossible to counter. His saves at times are amazing, but there is much more to keeping than the incredible save. He needs to improve. Here is the question for SJ, would you rather send the ball to midfield where the opponent controls or quickly distribute to Kappelhof, Polster, Cocis Vincent (or anyone else) who can push forward? Get rid of the ball quickly, take advantage of the developing cohesion between the mids and the attack and watch the counter unfold.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    Would you rather have Lampson in net? Johnson's distribution is light years better than Lampson's. I'd still rather have Johnson in net. Its crazy that people are jumping all over him for one error when Lampson would have giveaways almost every game.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    Lampson is truly awful because he cannot make any of the saves SJ makes. My point is that the SJ needs to improve his distribution. The mistake was just that a one off mistake. His problem is when he is not making a mistake his choices are not good. Long punts to no one does not help the team when they have the skills to play the ball out of the back. He should limit his punts and use it more strategically as the team does not need him to punt for safety. Just my opinion. He has all the tools but I think he needs to trust his backline and mids to be able to play from the back more than he does.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    I would agree on the GKs. SJ seems to have a bit more rapid agility for the saves that he makes. That said, the GK situation will be another interesting things to see in the offseason.

  • I enjoyed watching this match and can see an identity starting to form. Hopefully we can hold onto all these key guys (De Leeuw, Solignac, Alvarez, etc.) and add a difference maker in the January window. Do that, and I might actually attend a match for the first time in two years.

  • While the game was entertaining towards the end, this team is still far away from being good. Didn't Pauno want to build out of the back and play a possession type of soccer? There was a clear difference in the ability, skill, and organization of the two team on Saturday. While watching Bradley and Johnson Saturday, you could see how they dictated the game. They were always within 15 yards of the ball. Always an option for a teammate. They would check back and get the ball from a defender and then play a pass that got the game moving. Compare them to our two, Polster and Cocis, and you have a completely different story. There were times when Polster and Cocis were 40 yards away from each other. Not coming back and getting the ball which caused the defenders to be left with no option but to kick the ball as far as they can. It can be a very frustrating brand of soccer to watch. Every run by the midfielders and forwards is towards the oppositions goal.

    I was hoping to see more of a better brand of soccer at some point this season. The "three year" process that was shoved down our throats hasn't been seen this season. We have been playing for right now, which is understandable considering we have been a hot pile of garbage for 5+ years, but I would just like some honesty and transparency in the future.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    I think you're letting your hopes make you emotional and despair has become a habit. If this was promised to be a 3 year process, the Fire have improved convincingly over this point last season. Look at the record at the end of last year and you'll see they had only one win and one draw over their last 9 games. Unless they lose somebody key because of an injury, I don't see any way they have such a poor finish this year. They were almost unbearable to watch towards the end of last season. They are considerably improved this year. Whether they are "good" is debatable. But I think they are at least flirting with good. They're gaining confidence and, don't forget, these guys are still getting used to one another. While they still have flashes of the bad old Fire, it IS mostly a better brand of soccer.

    Sure, more work needs to be done. And we still haven't seen the Fire pay big money for anyone. But I can't fault the process up to this point. Let's see what they do over these last 7 games and then watch what they do personnel-wise over the Winter break. Stay calm and see what happens.

  • Speaking of the process, I'd like to hear some analysis on how the new guys are doing in relation to the players that were let go. I'm thinking specifically of Nyarko, Shipp, and Jones. I don't think anyone was bothered by Big Red going and Magee was never going to fit in so they're better off at Chicago Fire West out there in Carson (with Baggio). Nyarko looked good in the humiliation game. But, I don't think Shipp or Jones have lit things up with their teams. I'm still clinging (barely) to the hope that Pauno is a scouting/coaching savant and after, struggling initially, we'll be the MLS version of Hickory H.S. from "Hoosiers" and start gellin like felons.

  • In reply to Doug:

    JJ has been getting consistent playing time at Seattle if I'm not mistaken. I think Shipp had been struggling at Montreal. That might not be the right place for him. Which is disappointing because I felt he played well for us and still had a bunch of potential that with the correct coach, he could have become something special. His young in his career, so he still can. But it might not be at Montreal.

  • In reply to Doug:

    It's funny you should ask this. I just happened to check USL standings, and yup, AZ United is tied for 2nd to last in the Western Conference (but roughly middle of the table in all of USL.) And surprise, surprise he signed some English players after he came on board. (though to his credit, one of those, a striker, isn't doing too shabby, but he came from QPR, so...)

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    Sorry. Forgot to throw Yallop's name in there. =)

  • In reply to Doug:

    I don't think this is all on Pauno, first of all - NR is the MLS guy and knows the ins and outs of most of those moves in terms of funny money. Remember that NR called Pauno his "soccer soulmate" in that preseason video for MLS.com?

    Anyways, I think the management response to any analysis like this would be that they were also after cap space and rhthym money (TAM GAM SPAM BAM whatever) and that these moves helped in that regard, and so you can't necessarily make a one-to-one comparison with a big-picture plan.

    You can look at the team's record, though, if there was a big-picture plan. Though I think there NR has already made his point - that results haven't been good enough yet, and they're still building - whether you agree with him or not. Personally, I'm not at all happy with getting killed at DC and losing out to Toronto last weekend, but the two 3-0 wins give me hope that there's a method to the on-field madness. Not fully convinced yet, however.

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    GR, was it me or did I miss something,...Accam kept "crowding the middle and dragging defenders with him making things tough for de Leuw. He should have stayed on the left flank but didn't have the patience to wait for the ball to be delivered to him. The Fire's pace and flow was ruined when he came on, I know in the first minute of coming on he helped create the goal, but watch the rest of his contributions that game. If he doesn't want to "fit in" to the system, he will hurt more than help. Also please look up and think pass before you try to dribble 3 or 4 guys David, just a suggestion. If not better brush up on your French and get some city maps of Nantes. Take the money and get a creative mid/forward who can fit the system.

  • In reply to Bob Bilocerkowycz:

    Accam can create on his own and he is a very dangerous player. There is something to your thought about his crowding the middle but he also forced Toronto to change how they defended. Vanney admitted as much in post game comments.

  • Hey GR,

    Any chance all of these backroom rumors involving leadership will come to light any time soon? Off-season? Selling, AK on the outs, AH being broke, NR cutting costs because there is no $$, etc. Expect to see any huge information not regarding player personal to drop in the next 6 months?

    Im fishing, I know. But I cant help myself lol. Thanks

  • In reply to KChance:

    As always some of that can be taken with a grain of salt, but as always stay tuned here for more. ;)

  • WHY DIDN'T SOMEONE TELL ME SOONER THAT IT IS $2 HOTDOG NIGHT AGAINST DC?!?

    I hope that is a central topic in the weekly preview. I want to know how many of the players brought in this year know what the proper condiments of a dog in Chi are. I bet DeLeeuw knows already, but Khaly Thiam will never ever figure that out.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    just don't forget my sport peppers... emmmmm yummy

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