Fire 3 Chivas USA 2 - Recap and Ratings

Perhaps this is a match that would have ended in a draw just a few months ago but the Fire showed some resiliency after blowing a two goal lead.  Faced with playing a man down for almost an hour the team did drop back and allowed Chivas USA to get back into the match before taking control of the game again late and keeping their faint playoff hopes on life support.  Despite an ugly loss in San Jose the team bounced back today and continues to battle.

Player Ratings

GK Sean Johnson (6) – The Fire allowed two goals but Johnson was outstanding again denying Juan Pablo Angel a chance at a multiple goal match.  Johnson denied Angel on a clear look in the 54th, again in the 72nd, and yet again in the 87th to preserve the victory.  Three of his four saves were not of the “easy” variety.

D Jalil Anibaba (6) – Solid game at right back before moving inside when Gibbs was red-carded and then back outside in the second half.

D Cory Gibbs (5) – Scored the Fire’s first goal on a header but was shown a straight red for his 38th minute challenge on Michael Lahoud whose jump and landing made the tackle look worse than it was.  I thought a straight red call was harsh since Jorge Gonzalez wasn’t consistent with the whistle particularly in the first half.  Gibbs will miss next Sunday’s match against his former New England team.

D Josip Mikulic (5) – Some pluses and minuses for Mikulic in this match.  His miss on a clearance in the 54th led to Angel’s chance on goal but we he was solid before Gibbs went out.  Angel’s goal on a one-timer was also within Mikulic’s area.  Subbed out in the 80th minute with apparent cramping issues.

D Gonzalo Segares (6) – Solid 1v1 against various Chivas outside players (Braun, LaBrocca).

M Pavel Pardo (5) – Beaten to the spot for LaBrocca’s goal but the play may have been more a result of a fortunate bounce than anything else.  Playing a man down for more than one half afforded Chivas the chance to get back in the match.  His free kick led to Chivas’ own goal.

M Logan Pause (6) – Not spectacular as usual but solidly kept the ball in motion when called upon.  Moved to right back in the second half.

M Marco Pappa (5) – Still seems to be finding his way offensively with the new dynamic in midfield.  Klopas mentioned after the game that he could be showing some effects of international travel.  Managed two shots on goal early although neither was particularly difficult for Kennedy to stop.

Sebastian Grazzini (6) – Provided an assist on the Fire’s second corner kick goal of the season and continues to show why he is the most important player in the team’s midfield.  Removing him from the match in the second half allowed Chivas to take control and tie the match.  Perhaps the coaching staff has now realized that Grazzini, not Pappa should be taking corner kicks from the left of goal.

F Patrick Nyarko (6) – Work rate continues to be impressive and his break into the penalty area led to Oduro’s tap in goal for the winner.

F Dominic Oduro (5) – Scored his tenth goal of the season becoming the first Fire player to tally in double digits since Damani Ralph did so in 2004.  Despite scoring the game winner he absolutely missed a chance to give the Fire the lead in the 75th when he failed to see a wide open Nyarko breaking toward the net on a 2v1 chance.  Also failed on a clearance that led to Chivas’ second goal.

D Yamith Cuesta (6) – Entered the match at half time for Grazzini and slotted into the middle next to Mikulic.  No mistakes is an improvement of late for Cuesta.

M Daniel Paladini (5) – Came into the match for Pappa in the 80th minute and held his spot in midfield as the Fire pressed for a winner.

F Diego Chaves (6) – It’s been a while since Chaves has been involved in significant regular season play but he was very active today and set up the Fire’s winning goal with a nice touch and lead pass for Nyarko into the penalty area.

C Frank Klopas (5) – Three points was a must and the Fire did get the win but it wasn’t easy.  The red card to Gibbs necessitated some shuffling and perhaps the correct substitution after the half would have been taking off Pappa instead of Grazzini.  Klopas addressed that decision in his post game press conference, which you can see here.  Finally made the move to place Grazzini on corner kick duty which resulted in a goal.  The game plan was solid and the match might have been an easy one if not for the red card.

Next Up

A home match against the struggling New England Revolution and another must win.


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  • fb_avatar

    Nice pick me up win at the end there. I was just looking at the standings... I don't know how the heck they are going to make it in. Too far behind now. Even 4 more wins may not do it.

  • 4 wins puts them at 42 points. Thought has been 44-46 needed to make the 10th spot. They would definitely need Portland, NY, DC, Chivas to fall apart above them. Chivas seems to have hit the skids, but Portland and NY wins this weekend didn't help.

  • fb_avatar

    6pts is not impossible to overcome. It's the 4-5 teams battling for those last couple spots that will be hard, especially with us having to leapfrog a few of them. Looking at the rest of our schedule, we would be overachieving if we were to win 4 more.

  • Agreed. Although I think probably FC Dallas and RSL are their toughest opponents coming up. Houston's on a good run right now, and they would obviously have a must-win against DC. They need to capitalize next week on a horrible Revolution squad, and hope for implosions with NYRB/Chivas/Portland/DC over the next few weeks. It's not impossible, but.....

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to DFBJeff:

    ... we should have just taken care of business earlier in the year. No excuses.

  • In reply to waam:

    Draws against Toronto and Vancouver will ultimately be the killers.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Agree, on both counts. Wins against Portland, Toronto (in Toronto), and Vancouver should've been a given. Sweep those games instead of losses/draws, and we're likely ahead of Portland, and in the playoffs. We should've taken care of business earlier this year, we had the skill to do so but couldn't find a way to win, but Grazzini and Pardo coming on board did much to move the team in the right direction. I'm not sure we look much different than earlier in the year without their insertion into the lineup.

  • Post game video with Sean Johnson, Dominic Oduro, and Logan Pause over at the Fire Confidential FB page........!/pages/Chicago-Fire-Confidential/187248404657570

  • What bothers me about this year 9as well as years past) is that the Fire seem to want to just get by until July and then try and get new players in in July. This worked only one time and that was with Blanco. That is not going to happen again. I just wish they would put together a team they want from the get go and quit with the "improvements are coming in July" crap that just isn't enough. This team dug itself into such a huge whole even Blanco may not have gotten them out of it. If the owner is all about nickle and diming the salary structure so they only have to pay half season wages, then I really wish the league would push Hauptman out. We have seen too many other teams that were in far worse shape build themselves up, lose a few stars, drop back a little, and then build up again. What we are seeing with the Fire is a management catastrophe that should not be allowed by the league to continue. If it is a single business entity, as the league professes, it should care how this franchise is being run.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    You're absolutely correct. Waiting until July to add important pieces to the puzzle does not work.....there simply isn't enough time to get everything to click while making up lost points. Blanco bailed them out in 2007 after a terrible start that season but continuing that tactic is nonsense.

  • Does anyone know what counts as a "stoppage" when stoppage time is calculated. I know injuries and goal celebrations as well as perceived time wasting. The 2 minutes added on to the first half surprised me. Each injury stoppage was at least 2 minutes. There were also 2 goal celebrations. Does anyone know if anyone has compared the actual stoppage time to that allotted? Sometimes, it seems very random.

  • In reply to Doug:

    I'm sure there have been comparisons/studies done somewhere but it's pretty much up to the discretion of the referee. It's not an exact science so it's difficult to really quantify.

  • Going over the stats this morning the Fire lead in Fouls commited @ 385 and Shots on Goal 143 not sure what this means for the team but kind of remember Frank saying lets go back to the days when teams didn't want to play against us... Cracks me up...

  • In reply to Adam25:

    I'd prefer the days when nobody wanted to play against the Fire because they simply had good players.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    MLS Payroll at 2.5m. How many good players can you really have with that kind of payroll?

  • In reply to waam:

    Gotta remember that 2.5m is a budget number that works as the basis for what is essentially a "soft cap". The best team in the league this year has a payroll close to $15 million. The $2.5 mill is what the league pays.....there are mechanisms for spending more and being succesful if the system is used wisely.

  • Too little too late for "The Conductor" Frank Klopas to make a playoff run. Losing points in May and getting swept by Portland doesn't help their own cause. The July transfer band aid method doesn't work in soccer period. July transfer only works with teams like LA that needs a player to strengthen a certain position that is necessary that will put them over the top (example Robbie Keane). Mostly, these kinds of acquistions need to be top priority during the offseason.

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