Dynamo 4 Fire 3 - Game Recap and Player Ratings

A furious late comeback from two goals down is wasted as the Fire surrendered a deluge of corner kicks and practically unchallenged header opportunities.  The last corner kick chance was the deciding factor as CJ Brown failed to mark Brian Ching in the 85th minute.  An insane second half which saw six combined goals provided some entertainment but little in terms of redemption for an awful defensive performance.

Ching scored a hat trick, thereby doubling his goal output for the season.  Houston had previously been a side which was having a nightmare of a time finding the net….until tonight.  The first half goal can be excused as a bit of a “garbage’ goal as Ching and CJ Brown undercut Sean Johnson causing the ball to some loose. 

The second half defending, particularly on set pieces was a sham.  Lovell Palmer scored as a result of a free kick set up by a foul on Conde just oustide the box.  Segares came out to challenge the shot but noone followed and Palmer found the lower corner of the net.  After a questionable corner kick call in the 59th minute, more terrible defending allowed Boswell to bounce a header off the crossbar.  Ching scored on the loose ball as he converted a spectacular bicycle kick for the third Houston score.  The winning play found an international player known for his ability in the air completely unmarked in front of the net. 

The Fire did appear to be energized by the insertion of Calen Carr (yes that Calen Carr) and Patrick Nyarko in the 60th minute.  Nyarko’s return is a welcome sight for a team that sorely needs his creative ability to counter any over reliance on Ljungberg. 

It’s difficult to rate any defenders highly after this match.

Player Ratings

GK Sean Johnson (5) – Allowed four goals but had a few nice saves early to keep Houston off the board.  I thought he could have done better on Palmer’s shot but it’s a tall order order to ask your goalkeeper to continually stop uncontested headers and clean looks on net. 

D Wilman Conde (4) – Scored on a header to tie the match at 3-3 but committed several silly fouls.  One leading to Palmer’s goal and another leading to a yellow card which will cause him to miss the Seattle match next Saturday. 

D CJ Brown (3) – Ching roamed free in the box along with the entire Houston team for the entire match.  Brown was a step slow today possibly due to playing a full 90 on Wednesday.  The winning goal was inexcusable.

D Dasan Robinson (4) – Several give aways before being substituted due to an apparent injury in the 42nd minute. 

D Gonzalo Segares (4) – The entire defense struggled mightily.  Segares gave up too much space to Danny Cruz one too many times. 

M Logan Pause (4) – Houston controlled possession for long stretches of the first half.  The Fire’s midfield was powerless to counter them for the most part until Nyarko entered the match. 

M Baggio Husidic (4) – Husidic struggled to maintain possession and gave up several uncontested turnovers in the first half.  The second half was better but not by much.

M Marco Pappa (4) – Fairly invisible for most of the match.  The addition of Ljungberg is limiting his touches and he seems to be having a hard time adjusting to it. 

M Nery Castillo (3) – He’s not a left midfielder right now.  Castillo would have been better served to enter the match as a second half sub in light of the fact that he is still in pre-season form. 

M/F – Freddie Ljungberg (6) – Continued to be the best player on the pitch for the Fire.  Absent early as Houston controlled the ball in the first half, but the thought of him combining with a healthy Nyarko is promising.  Came alive in the second half. 

F Brian McBride (4) – Very little from McBride tonight as Houston rendered him silent.  Resorted to chasing the ball in the midfield due to the ineffectiveness of the team in the first half.

D Steve Kinney (5) – An improvement over Robinson after coming in for him in the 42nd minute but was still on the pitch for three goals allowed.

M Calen Carr (6) – Entered the game after half time for Castillo and was actually more impressive than the Fire’s DP.  Carr scored a goal for the second consecutive week and almost had another in the 72nd minute as his one v one shot with Onstad just went wide. 

F Patrick Nyarko (6) – The Fire has sorely missed his playmaking ability and his impact was clearly noticeable after coming on in the 60th minute for McBride.  De Los Cobos’ line up decisions next week will be interesting since Nyarko needs to be on the field as much as possible as soon as possible.

Next Match

The Fire travel to Seattle next Saturday for the first leg of the Ljungberg cup.  The Sounders come to Chicago for the rematch on September 25. 

On a positive note, there was an excellent turnout at The Pitch. On the pitch was not so good. 


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  • I thought it was insane to use the same starting 11 on 2 days rest, it showed on D as tired legs kept guys from marking and having the legs to chase, that last Ching goal was simply the result of guys not having enough energy to defend.

  • In reply to milicz:

    Good point. Brown was gassed and Castillo should not have started.

  • In reply to milicz:

    For my money, Conde was the worst player on the field for us for the vast majority of the match. I can see how the goal bumps him up a bit, but I'm glad he's got a suspension. He needs to cool his heels.

  • In reply to milicz:

    For the second year in a row the Fire makes a second half comeback in the second half only to have a cheap goal beat them. Houston i truly the house of horrors for the Fire. Houston has not won in a very long time and they can not score goals , this was an embarassing loss. When a team outplays you and you still tie the game , you must find a way to get out of there with the tie.

  • In reply to milicz:

    disappointing result but i'd rather see a 4-3 loss than a 1-0 loss, or anything resembling that putrid 1st half the Fire played

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    That first half may have been the worst 45 minutes of the season.

  • In reply to cesba:

    possible bright side:
    was one of the only games all year when we played a better 2nd half than 1st...but mainly because the 1st 45 were so pitiful.

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    I seem to remember that the corner kick leading to Ching's bicycle kick goal never should have happened. Houston's shot was off-frame and never touched a defender or Sean Johnson. My table was screaming about that at the Pitch

  • In reply to cweimers:

    You are correct. That goal was a result of a bad corner kick call awarded to Houston.

  • In reply to cesba:

    I just watched the replay last night - I can't believe I suggested Johnson touched that ball on Cameron's attempt at goal. I'm an idiot. Though it appears Kinney stretches to poke that ball out from under Cameron, Cameron does a great job of selling the call to the ref.

  • In reply to ChrisDoran:

    We are all miffed by the call while watching here. I was surprised there wasn't more protest from the Fire.

  • In reply to cweimers:

    Carr is not an MLS player, 2 soft goals notwithstanding. Krol should have played rather than a tired Segares. John looks to be toast and the Chicago bench is very poor indeed. Castillo may not get into game shape before the season ends. There is just too much salary tied up in unproductive players. Next year we need to replace McBride, Brown, Carr, Thor who is too fragile, and perhaps a few more players. I suspect Conde will mone on. That should provide a chunk on money going forward. I also think Argentinians seem to provide the best bang for the buck, or Colombians. We have one, for the moment.

  • In reply to Celt:

    Carr has used his injury time off wisely. He's added muscle weight and doesn't appear to be the same player he was two years ago. Give the guy a shot. Two goals in two weeks off the bench is still impressive no matter what the pre conceived expectations for Carr are.

  • In reply to cesba:

    I might be one of the biggest Carr critics out there and he did nothing but impress me on Wednesday. Looked stronger and was willing to win the head balls that a target or lone striker needs to win. He is better than Banner right now. I never thought I would say that Carr was better than any person.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Well said. I was a Carr hater too. He has improved his game immensely. He wants the ball and he wants to score. Great progress.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    lol at the people complaining about Carr's goals. Oh ya he scored but they weren't great goals so he sucks?? Give me a break some people will find anything to complain about, what is this Big Soccer?

  • In reply to Chow:

    "what is this Big Soccer?"

    LOL......let's hope not!

  • In reply to cesba:

    Happy to see Patrick back in the lineup. He brought something. Also, the team seems to have attractive soccer on its mind and I echo the Count that this is the type of game that will bring people to MLS. I can imagine some newbie Dynamo fans definitely wanting to come back for more. It's a shame that, despite broadcasting the game and having 7 goals to choose from, CSN's SportsRise only saw fit to give a cursory report and a replay of the game winning goal. Especially since Ching may have hit the goal of the year. I think we saw more of Derek Rose's eye injury v. Lithuania.

  • In reply to oliotya:

    I noticed that on SportsRise too. I'm not sure how much that has to do with the anchor, but Dan Jiggetts was back on Comcast after the train wreck that was "Monsters and Money in Morning" was euthanized. Although the match was a Comcast broadcast they only showed the last goal and a fairly routine Juan Pierre running catch in center field was dubbed "Play of the Day".

  • In reply to cesba:

    This is the first Comcast broadcast I've seen in a few weeks and--man--is Dan Kelly getting worse or what? How many times can a guy say the word, "ricochet" in a minute?

    I need to learn Polish and listen to the radio broadcasts, because Kelly is awful. I was not a big Fred Hubener fan, but he is 100 times better than Kelley

  • In reply to Roti2000:

    Kelly is much better then Huebner, IMO.

  • In reply to cesba:

    What was up with Kelly and Doran donning the Fire "jerseys" for the broadcast? I guess they were meant to be golf shirts, but they looked close enough to the actual game jerseys that they just looked dumb.

    I've never seen a broadcaster wear the team jersey--not even Hawk Harrelson would do that!

  • In reply to Roti2000:

    Roti, the club permitted us to wear the golf shirts because of the anticipated warm conditions - both on the field and in the press box.

    I'll grant you it's a bit unusual, but the FIRE writes the check on the regional broadcasts so if the club prefers the FIRE golf shirt over something I pull out of my closet, so be it.

  • In reply to cesba:

    How about a designated coach, Bob Bradley back, Sven Erikson, or Martin O'Neil. At this point though I would take almost anyone over DLC.

  • In reply to fire1020:

    That would be awesome if Coach Sweatpants returned and brought Junior with him. Michael Bradley for DP!

  • In reply to Roti2000:

    Tickets for USA v Poland at Soldier Field on October 9 go on sale August 28.

  • In reply to Roti2000:

    How many goals has Collins John scored this season?

    And how many goals has Carr scored?

  • In reply to giaco:

    That would be two apiece. Continued Carr bashing is a bit puzzling.

  • In reply to Roti2000:

    Is it just me or did Sean Johnson look awful on all the corner kicks? He's had a couple good games in a row, but had a nightmare the other day. "5" rating = way generous. 3 max. The kid let up 4 goals! Drops one for first goal, gets beat nearpost for second, whiffs on corner for third, whiffs on other corners. WTF. Hope he turns it back around bc Dykstra wasn't improving quickly enough even though he never had a howler like this one.

  • In reply to chicsforkicks:

    Sean didn't look any worse than any defenders, can;t pin the loss on him, first goal should be credited to Brown, not Johnson's fault. I'm not a Carr fan, but he has scored twice, seemingly playing more under control than in the past, not all of Messi's goals are rockets, when he scores a soft one they say he is clever, soft goals count as much as hard goals, it's a pretty much of a moronic comment.

  • In reply to chicsforkicks:

    I wouldn't call what happened on that first goal dropping it.

  • In reply to chicsforkicks:

    It wasn't all Johnson's fault; the defense was completely terrible. The corner kicks and the goal they allowed on free kick with a terrible wall they format killed them. CJ Brown played terrible and his age showed. He collided with Ching that allowed Johnson to bobble the ball and his defense on Ching on the go ahead goal was lousy.

  • In reply to Roti2000:

    So from one game we have people saying that they can't wait "to replace McBride, Brown, Carr, Thor who is too fragile, and perhaps a few more players."(Celt) That Johnson needs to watch out for Dykstra because "he never had a howler like this one." (exfirestarter) I wish some people that post on here knew something about what they are talking about. Next year when we do lose those players we are going to be hurting for sure. It was one game on 2 days rest against a pretty good side in Houston. Everyone needs to calm down...

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Overreaction is the essence of sports radio and big soccer-like forums. Sound the panic alarm! Maybe we need a Fire Confidential call in show.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    I will continue to play Johnson and he is only 21 years old; he is the future not Dykstra (aka career backup). Not only Sean John is a young player, he gives the Fire the best chance to win. Calen Carr has been a surprise for the past week and I like Carr coming off the bench. He has been more of an impact than Stefan Dimitrov and "Wanchope Jr." Collins John. Brown and McBride do need to be replace at seasons end due to their age and their skills. Thorrington has been killing this team with injuries and you can't rely on him. The youth academy player is a unknown and remains to be seen. "It was one game on 2 days rest against a pretty good side in Houston. Everyone needs to calm down..." See New England Revolution on 2 days rest....they got a beat down from Kansas City on Saturday alongside they are a bad team.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    The Fire if they have any realistic chance for the playoffs must win the next 3 out of four to be in contention, more than four losses, we can consider this a rebuilding year. I doubt that either Brown or McBride will be back next year, mainly due to age and salary, although McBride could play part-time
    it would be good to have someone of his stature in the club house, maybe he could replace de los moron.

  • In reply to Roti2000:

    I don't mind Dan Kelly and he is getting introduced to the of game soccer and doing a good job considering he has little to somewhat knowledge of the game. Remember, he used to due Blackhawks games for a little bit and his dad broadcast the St. Louis Blues games. Chris Doran is a very nice guy but his soccer analysis makes me cringe at times. Between Doran and Alexis LaLas, I will take Doran in a second. When I hear LaLas analyze in the studio, I want to either change the channel or put the mute button. Who is the guy who broadcast soccer games and he says "IT'S A GOOOAALLLL YEAHHHHHH!" Roti2000 says "How many times can a guy say the word, "ricochet" in a minute?" Try listening to Don Criqui on CBS football when he says "He throws a fastball to his wide reciever" by the minute.

  • In reply to longoria3:

    The "YEAH" guy is MAX Bretos. He's now the in studio guy for ESPN's EPL broadcasts.

  • In reply to cesba:

    I know that he is in the studio for the EPL broadcast but I keep forgetting his name every time I hear him say YEAH when somebody scores a goal. Ray Hudson overdoes it when a particular player appears on TV (i.e. Ronaldinho).

  • In reply to longoria3:

    Who is "Alexis LaLas"?

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Lalas or LaLas...same difference however you want to spell it. You get the idea.

  • In reply to longoria3:

    oh I see it is Alexi.....not ALEXIS...DUH on my part..little brainfart.

  • "... but was still on the pitch for three goals allowed."

    that is a little unfair... ...I thought he defended very well & shut down the left side, maintained posession when we desparately needed it, and created several opportunities from the back.

  • In reply to cbrooks:

    That's why I gave him a tick higher than the other defenders.

  • DJ,
    There's no been no lack of effort on Castillo's part. He's atually trained hard since arriving in an attempt to cram one month of pre season into two weeks. He came to Chicago in what would have been the end of his typical off season.

    Jordan came back after the first retirement after playing professional baseball, he wasn't sitting at home during the off season. MJ also was not in basketball shape when he came back. He was slower, bigger, and his vertical jump wasn't as good. It wasn't until the next year, that he came back in hoops shape. Anyhow....the comparison doesn't really apply.

  • happy about the goals but both were soft rollers. I would love to see him become a decent player but the goal he missed was representative of his game. He is a bit old to suddenly become a quality player. I have never understood how he is still in the league. I would love to be wrong and perhaps a quick flurry of goals will persuade someone to take him in the expansion draft

  • i think it's understandable that he's not match fit, but why is he starting? if he's only got 45 minutes in him, why not put him in during the second half, when everyone else is already getting tired?

  • In reply to manyou07:

    I was surprised to see him starting again on Saturday night.

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