Fire 2 Crew 2 - recap and ratings

Time has run out on both of these clubs this season. The Columbus Crew essentially needed to win out and pray for other results to have a chance at playoff qualification. The Fire have long since been playing for nothing more than pride.

Chicago did manage to knock their rivals out of playoff contention by virtue of this 2-2 draw, but that's small consolation for the disappointment of this season. The Fire, at 6-16-10 are actually two points off the pace for equalling last season's franchise worst point total of 30. They'll also have to win their last two games in order to equal last year's eight wins.

While Crew SC coach Gregg Berhalter said he would use their last two games to play some of the players who haven't gotten many minutes this season, Fire coach Veljko Paunovic bristled at the thought of playing a less than first choice eleven in Chicago's final two contests.

"We have one more game left at home, and I just said that to the guys in the locker room," said Paunovic following the match. "We just have three days left to prepare for the game on Sunday, recover and do everything to win that game."

Winning that game will ensure that the Fire don't suffer a third consecutive "worst" season in club history but there's little else to be gleaned from beating the Revolution on Sunday. Perhaps some satisfaction could come from denying a playoff berth for another rival in New England but one more win doesn't change the fact that the Fire will need several significant additions in order to avoid a fourth consecutive "worst" season in club history in 2017.

Player ratings

GK Sean Johnson (5.5) - A big double save sequence to deny Jahn and Casey in the 88th kept the game tied. Got a piece of the ball on the first Columbus goal....a clear 1v1 for Jahn in the 13th minute.

D Brandon Vincent (5) - Decent on both ends in this match although he was nowhere to be found on the first goal.

D Jonathan Campbell (5) - Missed a clearance try in the 80th minute which led to the second goal.

D Joao Meira (5) - Unnecessarily left Jahn open on the left side during the counter attack that led to the first Crew goal. Charged toward Meram although three other teammates were near him.

D Johan Kappelhof (5) - Led the team in tackles (6) but passing efficiency wasn't equal to the overall team's total. Completed 70% while the team total was at 79%.

M Matt Polster (5) - The Crew weren't exactly sharp in this game although possession was mostly even at 51-49 to Columbus. Decent enough passing numbers for Polster at 85%.

M Razvan Cocis (5.5) - Still fighting and playing hard and had a few near misses in attack.

M Arturo Alvarez (5.5) - Continues to add numbers to his stat total while the team continues to flounder. His pass in the 58th found de Leeuw for a goal but his giveaway in the 13th led to the Crew's first score. Very active in the second half.

M John Goossens (5) - A couple of long passes over the top of the Crew defense almost led to chances in the first half. Played 45 minutes.

M Luis Solignac (5) - Had a god chance in the 49th and dribbled himself into trouble. Header from a corner kick in the 50th was just wide. 68% passing accuracy was a team low.

M Michael de Leeuw (5.5) - Scored the go-ahead goal at the time in the 58th with a good run in the box to get on the end of Alvarez's pass.

F David Arshakyan (5) - Replaced Goossens to start the second half. Was near Parkhurst in the 53rd as the Crew defender directed the ball into his own net. Didn't do much with the ball at his feet but Berhalter credited him with changing the way his side defended in the final 45 minutes. Had a chance to find a teammate in stoppage time with Crew 'keeper Steve Clark caught about 60 yards from goal but couldn't complete a pass.

M Michael Stephens (5) - Replaced de Leeuw in the 87th. Completed both of his pass attempts.

Filed under: 2016 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • Disappointing result. How do they not score in the final 10 minutes?
    Check out my Chicago Fire blog at

  • I feel like we've been reaching for the proverbial carrot.

    On a different note, it's nice to see at least one positive sign on Arshakyan.

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    What was positive? I have yet to see a scrap of the spark he showed in the Lithuanian league...which I assume is because this isn't the Lithuanian league.

    He looks so uncomfortable with the ball at his feet. That may be forgivable if he dominated in the air, but he seems to be nonexistent on set pieces or any time the ball comes in on a cross.

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    I'll say that I didn't absolutely hate Arshakyan on the field this game. I still don't think he has what it takes, but he wasn't completely atrocious. He still needs a lot of work with his footwork, but he should better control in this game then he has in any other. Still sloppy a lot of the time, but had a couple nice sequences.

  • Given they had zero to play for, the stands were empty, the star player was not in the line-up, and the fact that they sort of are really bad, I thought they played OK. They took advantage of what was given to them. Does someone else have a blog? I would have never guessed.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    I do

  • One of the big things that bugged me in this game is that in 70th minute it seemed like the offensive minded players of the fire and the defensive minded players decided to close out the game in completely different ways. At one point I looked out on the field and 4 players were in columbus' half and the rest were at the 18. The midfield completely disappeared from the game. its like some players wanted to bunker in and the others wanted to get another goal. Its no wonder Columbus equalized when the communication on the field appeared to completely break down.

  • In reply to edubs:

    Yea I felt like I was watching hockey. It was embarrassing how Cocis went all the way up and was playing striker while Miley Stephens wa style only guy in the midfield. Also IF YOUR GOING TO A FIRE GAME PLEASE SIT IN THE HARLEM END. People were just sitting around on their phones. Your not going to have an impact on the game sitting their. It's general admission for a reason.

    Oh well in the brighter days this game would've been full. I'm happy that I didn't go and just went to soccer practice. I wonder how empty that Revs game is going to be...

  • . The night started in an unsettling way as Andy Hauptman pulled a page from Theo Epsteins book and donned a disguise to mingle with the crowd and maybe sell some of the many many unsold tickets. Unfortunately he went with the Ken Bone in red cowboy hat costume and continued a very creepy lifeless stare into the camera from behind Dan and Frank during the pregame show, occasionally flashing us his hand full of tickets. (Did anyone else see that or was I hallucinating after a very long week?)
    As for the game, this was the first time I saw enough of Arkashian to draw an opinion. "Uncomfortable with the ball at his feet" is quite ironic that a professional footballer cant do anything with his foot on the ball. His skills are , well, just bad. His size is no advantage as he is slow and looks very uncoordinated. Berhalter commented his size/ presence coming in in the 2nd half forced them to re-evalute the defense, so he put 5'5'' Ashe on him, who beat Arkashian all over the pitch.

  • In reply to Fireman1:

    The "he affected our defensive play" was the lone improvement, versus Berhalter just saying, "Who?" I can't by any means say that I'm impressed in a positive way with his play. He's just not fitting into things well.

    I dunno. After the January window, how much slack does NR VP get? The first third ofd the season? The first 10 games? The first five? I think anything less than 10 points in five games is a sign that things have not turned around and are mediocre at best.

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    I gave them slack through the first 17 games this season before I started to criticize them. But with the changes made to the roster and how awful the performances have been I think N-Rod is way over his head. The fact that the only other time that he was in charge of a professional team, he led them to the worst record in MLS history speaks volumes. He already has put his stamp on this team by changing the roster so much this season that I'm afraid he is going to get it horribly wrong this off season and we are going to be in that 2 year recycling of technical staffs that Chairman Andrew loves to do so much.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    Well Taylor Twellman said a few weeks ago that NR has done a great job in building this Fire team. And I must say he is partially right. Nelson has done a great job in signing players who can play. But he has made a few mistakes.
    1. Trading Jack Harrison. Jack Harrison is doing such a good job in NYFC and him and King David on opposite sides should've been nice. He is only 19 and he was also in the Manchester United Academy. Harrison was a promising player.
    2. Signing Khaly Thiam. Is just me or is Khaly Thiam completely useless on the field. Might as well but a scare crow in the middle of the field since I feel that will do a better job than Khaly Thiam will ever do.
    3. Not signing Bedoya. Do you know how many more fans and how much better of a team we would've been. Think about this. Standard back 4, Polster and Bedoya in the middle, and Harrison and Accam outwide. Solignac and de Leeuw. I don't know about you but that's a start to a playoff team. Maybe get rid of Khaly Thiam and then boom! You have your 2017 Chicago Fire playoff team.
    This transfer window we'll be interesting time. It embarrssing how we have became irrelevant in Chicago Sports. For example I walk into a Chicago Sports store. I ask any Fire stuff? No they say we don't carry Fire stuff. Why? Because we haven't made the playoffs for more than five years.

  • In reply to Fireman1:

    Wait a sec. Hampton is in Chicago!!!! Looks like aganist revs it's time to make some anti-Haumpton posters so we can hear the editorial part two. Soon espn will be able to make a thirty for thirty documentary with no happy endings about our club.

  • Rear-view analysis question: If we'd had at least qualified for the playoffs in 2013 (the last year we had something resembling success,) would Klopas have still been coach in 2014?

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    Probably not. I am basing this on the aftermath of 2009. Recall that season, which coincidentally was the point the wheels started to come off of this full blown trainwreck. Juan Carlos Osario quits, assistant Dennis Hamlett takes over head coaching duties. The team finishes in 2nd place in the conf. Goes on to lose in PKs in the conf finals to RSL. One goal away from another MLS Cup berth ( I still recall Busch screaming into his gloves after Grabavoy sealed the deal). The off season Hamlett is fired, and 5 or 6 starting/impact players are let go. Carlos Cobos is brought in and the team finishes in 10th place in 2010. The rebuilding by digging a huge hole process has begun,
    So no. If Hamlett can get fired for getting the team 1 goal away from MLS Cup, Klopas would have been fired too for getting the team to the playoffs. IMHO Hamlett, and if Klopas could have produced, both coaches would have wanted more $$ for getting results, and tightwad AH wont have any of that.

  • In reply to Fireman1:

    Klopas was a great coach in my opinion.
    Want we lack is that Clinical Stricker who can finish and someone you can play on top of de Leeuw. And that's exactly what Chris Rolfe brought to the table. A clinical striker. And that's would made him so good and also what made the Fire so good. Fans knew that if someone was going to finish a chance its the Rolfster. Solignac and de Leeuw isn't really that type. De Leeuw is a playmaking striker who creates chances.
    Fire off-season needs:
    A center midfielder who can combine out of the back with keeping POSSESSION. Someone you can play combination in the channels and someone who can build out of the back and start a proper attack WHILE KEEPING POSSESSION.
    A clinical striker who can finish off chances. For example a player like Drogba or a guy like Rolfe. Someone who can finish.

  • All I had to work with was the Columbus audio feed via their website, and when our fans fell silent in the 80th minute, I's happened again. As for the Fire's site, deja vu..."Fire earn 2-2 draw" I said, giving up the tying goal does NOT earn you SHIT! The Crew earned the draw but whoopty-phookin'-doo for them!
    And the 'sigh'light reel - those two gimme goals by Jahn...we were like the Keystone Kops running after him at 13'. Our goals were nice, tho. Shoulda gotten at least one more toward the end.

  • The team assembled this year is certainly better from a quality of play and competitiveness, but still mostly journeymen players and cast offs. The whole league continues to improve, with bigger name players coming into MLS, so the Fire continues to lag, in spending and in class. 1-2 stars can make all the difference in this game, and I just don't see that happening with this owner. It's a credit to the guys and coach to keep fighting hard with no one in the stands and knowing they're playing for a crap owner.

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