The Fire continued to show their improved form at home with a 3-2 win over the New England Revolution while keeping their slim playoff hopes alive. After taking a 3-0 lead against a sloppy and disorganized New England back line the Fire allowed two late goals that kept the score line close as the Revolution managed numerous chances on Sean Johnson’s goal. The first New England goal probably should have been waved off after Milton Caraglio bumped Johnson off the ball but the second was a result of lax late game defending of a New England throw-in. “We’ll talk tomorrow. The most important thing is we won the game but we’ll look at this game at we’ll look at the tape and we’ll talk to the guys because we’ve got to have a better finish to the game,” said Frank Klopas when asked about the two late goals allowed.
Klopas also discussed resting players ahead of the US Open Cup Final, Sebastian Grazzini’s injury, and Patrick Nyarko’s first goal of the season. “I was very happy for Patrick because I’ve told him at times he needs to be a little more selfish.” The entire press conference can be seen right here.
GK Sean Johnson (6) – Allowed two goals but registered eight saves. As mentioned before, the first goal may have been a result of a missed foul call and the second was an uncontested look but Johnson has been outstanding of late. Johnson talks about the match and late goals here.
D Dan Gargan (5) – The Fire’s back line was just okay for most of the match as New England managed to register 22 shots putting 11 of those on goal. Gargan wasn’t as involved today as he has been in previous matches after returning from a one game suspension.
D Josip Mikulic (5) – The Revolution had far too many touches in the box and on free kick opportunities as Mikulic replaced Cory Gibbs in the line up. Decent effort but not outstanding.
D Jalil Anibaba (6) -The best of the Fire’s defenders in this match. His cross in the 68th minute provided a scoring chance that forced Reis into a save.
D Gonzalo Segares (5) -The entire back line seemed to fall asleep during a throw-in on Ryan Guy’s second goal. The score came from the spot vacated by Segares as a quick re-start left the Fire scrambling to cover.
M Marco Pappa (5) – Continued improved play defensively while still trying to find a comfortable role in an offense that no longer runs through him. Some positives and negatives on the passing side but his best sequence came in the 65th minute when his well placed ball allowed a 1v1 chance for Nyarko.
M Pavel Pardo (6) – The more I see of Pardo the more I appreciate what he’s done for the team (along with Grazzini) in re-shaping the way the team plays. Solid as usual in the holding role.
M Sebastian Grazzini (7) – The Fire had control of the match while Grazzini was on the pitch but it was a good sign that things didn’t completely fall apart upon his exit in the 25th minute due to a tight left hamstring. Grazzini said after that the match that he felt fine but wasn’t sure if he would be available on Wednesday night. Besides converting the penalty kick, a great pass sprung Oduro for a 1v1 chance against Reis and a 2-0 advantage. Grazzini talks about his injury here.
M Logan Pause (7) -Tireless work in the first half set the tone and allowed Fire attackers to jump on New England. His pass to Nyarko led to the penalty kick and an interception led to the team’s second score.
F Patrick Nyarko (7) – Could have done better with a chance in the 65th minute but Nyarko continues to create countless opportunities for teammates with pace and passing ability. Finally got on the scoreboard himself in the 30th minute although Matt Reis’ effort helped it along. Catch Nyarko’s post game comments here.
F Dominic Oduro (6) – Scored his 11th goal of the season but could have had more. Reis foiled a chance in the 57th after a great pass from Nyarko and another one in the 74th. Finally returned the favor for his Ghanian teammate with a lead pass setting up Nyako for his score.
M Baggio Husidic (5) – Can’t be expected to provide the same type of play but chipped in with a decent game in relief of Grazzini. Produced a shot on goal with a header in the 68th.
F Diego Chaves (5) – Came in for Nyarko in the 66th but didn’t figure into much action offensively as the Fire were looking to ice the match.
F Orr Barouch (5) – Entered the match in the 77th in place of Oduro.
C Frank Klopas (6) – Another must win at home against a team that should be beaten is definitely a positive. Two sloppy late goals need to be addressed along with preventing 22 shots from the next opponent. The return of Cory Gibbs should help. Used subs wisely after Grazzini went out in an effort to rest the speedsters up top for Wednesday night.
A difficult road game at Rio Tinto Stadium. RSL will not be in a good mood after getting waxed 4-1 at DC.