Fire 2 Rapids 0 - Recap and Ratings

A second consecutive 2-0 victory and the team’s best all around performance all season against a quality side is enough to provide some optimism and much needed confidence as the MLS season winds down.  With eight games remaining the Fire currently stand five points away from the tenth and final playoff spot but Frank Klopas was cautious while looking ahead to the US Open Cup Semi-Final on Tuesday.

“The thing is, we played a great game for 90 minutes. Every time we train and play matches we get better. We just have to keep going. It’s one game. The guys are not satisfied and I know this is behind us. We have to look at this match and look at the good things and the things we need to improve upon. We have another game on Tuesday. It’s a great opportunity to put ourselves in a position to win a championship,” said Klopas.

Klopas was equally careful not to overlook the USL Pro side Richmond Kickers, “We’re playing at home. It’s the kind of tournament that you see big upsets like that all over the world. We can’t underestimate any opponent. I saw Richmond when they played Kansas City and they were very organized. We have to prepare to play for a full 90 minutes. It’s a good thing that we’re playing at home in front of our fans. This is a tournament that we take very seriously. It’s been one of our goals since the beginning of the season to put ourselves in the position to win the U.S. Open Cup. We have a great opportunity on Tuesday. We will focus and prepare over the next few days. This late in the season it’s all about recovery. This next match is not going to be easy.”

There’s no time for relaxation either before Tuesday.  The Fire will play the Colorado Rapids in Reserve League action on Sunday morning at 10am.  You can listen to the Klopas post game press conference here, or watch it (yes watch it) on Fire Confidential’s Facebook page.  Check out the right side of the page for access.

Player Ratings

GK Sean Johnson (6) – Kept a clean sheet while recording four saves and even improved his distribution on the ground and in the air.

D Dan Gargan (6) – Continues to be an excellent pick up and addition to the club.  Solid defensively tonight and does enough to get involved moving forward.

D Jalil Anibaba (6) – Has earned the right to continue starting at center back.  Very good in breaking up Colorado passes and an early 6th minute long ball to Nyarko nearly provided a scoring opportunity.

D Cory Gibbs (7) – Scored on a header to give the Fire a 2-0 lead and equally as effective on defense highlighted by a sliding interception of a dangerous Colorado cross in the 71st minute.

D Gonzalo Segares (6) – Had control of Wells Thompson and the right side of the Rapids attack for much of the match.

M Pavel Pardo (7) – Two fantastic passes led to both Fire tallies.  Also anchored the Fire’s transition game from the holding midfield spot masterfully.  Pardo is a pro.  He left the match at half time after feeling some tightness in his right calf.  His status for Tuesday is unknown.

M Logan Pause (5) – Playing a bit out of position on the outside but he’s doing exactly what the team needs at this point, dropping back to help Pardo in the middle while Pappa and Grazzini move forward.

M Marco Pappa (5) – Not as involved in the play with Grazzini, Pardo, and Nyarko on the pitch and seems to be feeling his way through trying to figure out how to best fit in.  Was not quite on the same page with Oduro on several passing opportunities which were missed.

M Sebastian Grazzini (6) – This guy appears to be the real deal.  His 36th minute cross before the ball reached the endline was class.  His shot selection tonight was a bit curious with three long distance bombs sailing over the cross bar but you can’t doubt the effort.

F Patrick Nyarko (6) – Placed a well taken shot on goal into Pickens’ hands in the 12th minute and continues to make the Fire difficult to defend in combination with Oduro and Grazzini.  Subbed out in the 76th.

F Dominic Oduro (7) – Say what you will about missed chances but nine goals on the season is nothing to sneeze at.  Put away his one clear chance by racing onto Pardo’s pass in the 17th and blasting by Colorado defenders to beat Pickens.

M Daniel Paladini (6) – Solid in relief of Pardo at the start of the second half but his biggest contribution was an 83rd minute goal line block that kept Colorado off the board.

F Orr Barouch (5) – Didn’t get much offensively since the Fire were in defensive mode by the time he entered the match in the 76th minute but he did contribute an important clearance from a Rapids corner kick.

M Baggio Husidic (5) – Came in for Oduro as time was winding down in the 90th minute.

C Frank Klopas (6) – A second consecutive win and an outstanding team effort against the defending champions is a job well done.  The Rapids may have been a bit road weary but the Fire took advantage of it and finally seem to be fitting the pieces into place.

Next Up

A chance to advance and play for a championship on Tuesday night against the Richmond Kickers, who were defeated 3-0 in the USL Pro playoff semi-finals by Orlando City.





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  • Next three MLS games: @Quakes, Chivas, Revs.


  • Gonzalo Segares will miss the San Jose game due to yellow card accumulation. Now the question is who starts at left back against the Quakes?

  • Another good effort, could have been 4-0 or 5-0 with a little sharper passing. Several times Grazinni held on to the ball too long and appeared to dribble a bit too much, he needs to stop his straw man act everytime he's knocked off the ball, he's starting to look like Busguets from Barca. If we could have won of of our previous two
    ties, the Fire would be in good shape. Now the worse they can go with having a chance at the playoffs are 5-0-3, 6-2-0, or 6-1-1.
    Still have a good shot, there would be ordinarily 4 sure to win games left in the schedule (we've been down that road before with minimal results) and only have to break even in the other 4 more difficult games. They at least have a 30% chance of making the playoffs.
    The MLS had the game 64/36 possession in favor of Colorado,
    thought the possession was more even than that.
    No reason the Fire shouldn't go full out against Richmond,
    really don't have to rest anyone since the next game isn't until Sept. 10th, they should be in great shape for the rest of the season if they don't get rusty during the 10 day layoff.
    Hope they start Orr against Richmond, see what he can do playing with Grazinnin and Pardo for more than a brief period of time.

  • I thought Cuesta had a really good game against the Quakes at TP earlier in the year. Maybe they can move Anibaba out wide on the left and put Cuesta in the middle. Is there anybody else that can play on the left? Maybe Palladini can drop in at left back?

  • In reply to Krasov:

    maybe put gibbs in at LB and cuesta in gibbs spot?

    having gargan at RB has been huge to this team. having a player in that position that actually plays the position is a big deal.

    i'm not hugely concerned if this team doesnt make the playoffs - it would be great if they did. but the improvement over the course of the season has been good. just need someone else up top who can score besides oduro. mite be barrouch with some more experience, or they may need to find one out there in south america.

  • Here's the line up for the Fire reserve match:

    Conway in goal.
    Back line has Cuesta on the right, Mikulic and Pantazopoulos at center, and Mike Banner on the left.

    Midfield has Bone on the right and Barouch on the right. Husidic and Vidiera are the center mids.

    Ferrari and Nazirit up top.

    In an interesting note, Eric Wynalda is in attendance and sitting with Mike Jeffries.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Wouldn't mind see the Bademeister as coach. I think he's intelligent, interested in attacking soccer and is photogenic.

    Media Watch:
    1. John Kass again carries the water for the Beautiful Game.,0,2444302.column

    2. Tom Marker on WXRT was commenting that all the Chicago teams were in action but all (B ears, Cubs, Sox) were on the road. Uggh.

  • In reply to Doug:

    Thank goodness I've never heard of Tom Marker.

  • Frank must have his head up his dumb ass, Barouch at midfield,
    he should be on top with Nazarit, damn coach doesn't know the abilities and strenghts of his own players.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    Pretty sure the reason for that was wanting to get a look at Ferrari up front.

  • Reserves lose 2-0. Be back later today with a recap and the reason Wynalda was at the game.

  • Just voted for today.

  • In reply to Doug:

    Thanks Doug!

  • no surprise with the starting lineup, was designed to be a loser.
    Ferrari needs to be in the USL to develop, he's too far down in the depth chart to get much p.t. Should loan him out.

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