Fire 3 Rapids 0 - recap and ratings

The Fire resoundly defeated a Colorado Rapids team that currently sits at the bottom of MLS. The result was expected but what makes the win impressive is that it comes on the heels of the 4-1 win over Seattle just four days before. Chicago's form at home (5-0-1) has been convincing enough to allow even the most cynical of supporters to believe that this team will seriously challenge for a playoff spot in the East.

Chicago had control from the start and continued to press throughout the match with little challenge from a struggling Colorado side. Perhaps the biggest indicator of change for the Fire these days is that wins are now expected at home. Winning on the road is another story, however. They'll get a chance to really raise some eyebrows at DC United this weekend.

They'll need wins on the road at some point even if they manage to come away with 13 or so victories at Toyota Park this season. That may not be enough to get them in to post season. Following the DC match away, there's another good test on the horizon with FC Dallas coming to Bridgeview near the end the month.

Supporters can now, at the very least expect a challenge.

Player ratings

Matt Lampson (6) - He wasn't tested often since Colorado only mustered 3 shots on target but he was sharp when he needed to be. Did well to deny Gashi of a chance in the 72nd and stopped a potential own goal clearance from finding the back of the net in the 81st. Distribution was also better.

D Brandon Vincent (6.5) - Continues to provide good service as seen in his pinpoint cross to Nikolic for the first Fire goal. Solid on both ends of the field. Only negative was the clearance that nearly ruined the clean sheet in the 81st.

D Joao Meira (6.5) - Both Fire centerbacks have done very well to limit clean looks in the last two home games. 8 recoveries and 7 clearances is a good night.

D Johan Kappelhof (6.5) - Committed team defending kept Badji and Gordon from getting anywhere close to a good chance. Kappelhof and Meira have played very well at home. 4 recoveries and 5 clearances aren't big numbers but he's the key in the middle of the defense.

D Matt Polster (7) - Save for one errant cross near the end of the first half, Polster added another dimension to the Fire attack with his ability to get forward from the right side. He was key in another perfect passing sequence in the 59th that resulted in the Fire's second goal. He was also in good form defensively with 3 clearances and 10 recoveries, all while completing 51 of 57 passes and adding 3 key passes....from right back.

M Dax McCarty (6.5) - A look at McCarty's Opta sheet shows that he was all over midfield. He completed over 90% of his passes and teamed with Schweinsteiger to thoroughly dominate Colorado on the ball. Possession ended up 57-43 in favor of Chicago but it seemed even more tilted toward the home side when it counted.

M Bastian Schweinsteiger (6.5) - His heat map looks similar to McCarty's with positive activity all over the pitch. Sitting ahead of the back line in a 4-2-3-1 with freedom to get forward suits his style and the pairing with McCarty provides the Fire with potentially the best CM duo in the league. Colorado had no answers in the middle of the field.

M David Accam (6.5) - Cleaned up the final ball in the 59th for the second goal but Accam also contributed with another good overall field game. Seems to work very well in this alignment with this combination of players on the field. One botched 2v2 where he should have passed in the 51st was the only real negative play.

M Michael de Leeuw (6.5) - With Nikolic, Accam, Schweinsteiger and others picking up the plaudits someone has to do the non-highlight work. de Leeuw and Solignac have done that when the Fire are successful. He missed at a chance for his first goal of the year when he whiffed in front of the net in the 59th but made up for it with a hard run up the right side and a perfect pass to Nikolic for the third goal in the 74th.

M Luis Solignac (6.5) - Played a part  in the second goal with a return pass to Polster to keep the playing moving quickly. Didn't have a ton of touches against his former team but the Fire had control of midfield through the middle. Good support game.

F Nemanja Nikolic (7.5) - Continued his hot run with another brace and was also involved in the third goal sequence. His ability to put away chances has turned the Fire into a playoff contender. Clinical in the final third.

M Juninho (5.5) - Replaced Accam in the 60th minute with Fire leading 2-0. Completed passes at a high rate and drew a yellow card but it may be difficult for him to get back into the regular starting eleven if the starters can continue on this pace.

M Jonathan Campbell (5.5) - Came on in the 70th for Solignac as the Fire looked to seal the game and rest some players for Saturday. One ball trickled by him in the 72nd, setting up Colorado's best chance of the night.

M Djordje Mihailovic (5.5) - Subbed in for Schweinsteiger in the 76th. His one shot attempt from the top of the penalty area sailed high in stoppage time.

Filed under: 2017 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire

Comments

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  • Calling Vincent's shot on goal in the 81st a "clearance" is generous. Attempted murder of Lampson is closer. Lampson's face afterwards was priceless.

  • Satursday's game will speak volumes about this team. I will be curious to see who makes the 18. I hope the same 11 start, but I would like to see Alvarez get some minutes as I think his ability to possess the ball and kill a game might come in handy on the road.

    GR, are there any known targets for the summer transfer window?

  • In reply to Krasov:

    I don't know if my roller coaster of emotions can handle Saturdays game... I'm getting very excited about this team as they play at home, but extremely worried as we play on the road...

  • In reply to edubs:

    I'm feeling that myself as I suspect a lot of us are. But this team is still growing together as they gather game experience. They have been playing better on the road and better results are surely coming. And when that happens...

    We'll know those years of misery are finally behind us!

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    In reply to edubs:

    > I'm getting very excited about this team as they play at home, but extremely worried as we play on the road...

    That's a big improvement over the past few years, where I've been extremely worried before *every* game.

  • Just caught the last 10 minutes but was so great to see those beaming smiles on everyone's face as they walked off the field. The transformation is exciting.

    We're gonna win the World Cup for sure!

  • In reply to Doug:

    Hilarious!

  • Very satisfying. Nikolic is the real deal, but as he rightly said, the team is built with a real offense that provides him service.

    Polster is so confident and steady on the ball. In the last goal sequence he showed that - he sometimes looks awkward on the ball, but he keeps it close and manages to slalom through spaces that it seems like he shouldn't. Glad to see him back on the field. No need to compare him to anyone who played that position earlier in the season, but...

    Looking forward to an exciting game on Saturday - I'll be in RFK and hoping for 3 points.

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    In reply to Modibo:

    Yes, Polster killed it. So many positives from this match but my favorite was seeing him out on the field again. Somehow even after missing a decent amount of time, he looks even better. In years past he has always been the one fire player that looked calm and comfortable on the ball and just makes the cleanest passes. I was very against him being a permanent RB, but a. if he continues this kind of form there, he will get looks from the NT and b. he still managed to get into the attack and even central at times. He is a player that finds the game no matter where you put him and he filled a massive week spot for the team so I think its a win win.

  • This was the best performance by the Fire in years. We controlled the match from start to finish. There wasn't a time during the match where we looked flustered or in danger. We kept the ball well and were able to do whatever we wanted whenever we wanted to do it. What I thought was even better than our possession was when we lost the ball. It seemed like every time we lost it, we won it back within 6 passes. The whole team was pressing together as a unit, which was fantastic to see. This team has all the pieces to be very dangerous. Figure it out on the road and nobody will want to play us.

    As for Polster, I absolutely love him as a player. He has a bright future. There isn't a second during the match when he does not want the ball. I still don't like the idea of him as a right back for anything longer than this season but he sure looked good out there last night. We no longer have a black hole on the right side when trying to keep possession. I still think he needs to work on his defensive skills if he is going to stay there but he is a huge asset when we have the ball.

    Being a supporter is fun again!

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    I think I would give Solignac a 6. Accam, de Leeuw, and Nico all look very comfortable switching around on the front line, but at times he looked a little lost and ended up right next to other players. I think he has had some great performances this season but if Juninho does regain his starting role, I hope its at the expense of solignac and not de Leeuw. Both have scuffed a few opportunities in recent games but de Leeuw has a better read of the game, is more dangerous near goal, and is better at high press and recoveries. Overall, I just love his work rate and its easy to see how he got his nickname. All this while he is playing out of his favored position (which I suppose could be argued for Solignac too).

  • In reply to Carl Miller:

    I don't see Juninho replacing either DeLeeuw or Solignac. I think Juninho doesn't seem to fit into a role on this team at this point. Maybe he has a role in the 5-3-2 formation, but not in the 4-3-3 / 4-2-3-1 that they have been playing these last couple games.

  • I wish they would just play the USOC final today. We would have a great chance. That said, can they keep up this good run? I'm not convinced, but my interest has been woken, ever since this transfer season. Lets hope this continues.

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