Fire 3 Red Bulls 1 - Recap and Ratings

The Fire used their two week international break to recover from a busy stretch and three straight losses (including USOC) to bounce back with one of their best performances this season.  Another breakdown on a set piece temporarily allowed New York to get level but the club responded impressively with what should have been three consecutive goals.  The Fire appeared to take the lead in the 64th minute but assistant referee Ian Anderson somehow failed to see Dominic Oduro’s rolling shot cross the goal line before Wilman Conde cleared it from the net.  His vantage point may have been obscured by a sliding Conde but referee Baldomero Toledo was in position with a good look in front of the net and inexplicably blew the call as well.

Regardless of the missed opportunity, the Fire answered again minutes later when Gonzalo Segares hammered home a loose ball to officially provide the game winner.  An upcoming home game against the Crew will give the club a chance to respond to a loss in Columbus on May 26 and make a statement in the Eastern Conference race.

Player Ratings

GK Sean Johnson (6) – Good match for Johnson registering three saves.  Deflected away a difficult bouncing shot from Solli in the 40th and stopped Cooper with a diving effort in the 54th.

D Dan Gargan (5) – Had a good game up until losing his mark on Dax McCarty in the 55th minute resulting in New York’s only score.  Lindpere was fairly silent as well.

D Jalil Anibaba (6) – Other than the shot in the 54th which allowed Cooper a little too much space to turn and shoot the big forward had a quiet night and the Fire’s young center back tandem played a big part in that.

D Austin Berry (6) – Solid and composed in back.  Has earned the right to start next to Friedrich when he returns next week.

D Gonzalo Segares (6) – Usually shuts down Richards and he did so again in this match while scoring a goal to boot.  His 68th minute tally gave the Fire the lead for good.

M Pavel Pardo (5) – Not a bad game but missed an open look at goal in the 12th minute that probably should have at least been on net.

M Logan Pause (5) – New York wasn’t very dangerous from the middle of the park but they did enjoy a bit too much possession.

M Marco Pappa (7) – Solid game for Pappa after traveling from Guatemala on Thursday and resuming training with the team on Friday.  High effort, excellent passing, and several close call long distance shots that were taken within the flow of play rather than being forced.  Through ball to Segares set up the Fire’s second goal and a fantastic long distance switch of field led to the third score.

M Patrick Nyarko (7) – Scored the first goal on a header of all things and continued to show why he is one of the most dangerous wing players in MLS when he set up Rolfe for a tap in with a cross through the box to the front of the net.

M Sebastian Grazzini (6) – His perfect pass in the 4th minute set the tone early finding Nyarko to give the Fire the lead in a match for a change.  A well taken shot in the 25th forced Meara into a diving save, just missed Oduro with a through ball in the 35th, and subbed out in the 60th minute.  He didn’t appear too happy to leave the match as TV cameras caught him walking past the coaching staff on the bench.  Went directly into the locker room after the game ended and wasn’t available for reporters after the match.

F Dominic Oduro (6) – Looked more like the player that finished last season on a roll and started well this season with a couple of excellent chances.  He was robbed of a goal on the missed call in the 62nd and was denied by Meara in a 1v1 situation in the 72nd.

F Chris Rolfe (7) – Should have had a goal and an assist after entering the match for Grazzini in the 60th.  A fantastic ball through to Oduro in the 64th should have resulted in a goal and a smart run to the far post enabling him to get on the end of Nyarko’s cross for a tap in.  If Rolfe can stay healthy and produce like this the Fire will be extrememly dangerous in the East.  You can see Rolfe’s post game comments at the Fire Confidential Facebook page.

M Rafael Robayo (5) – Came in for Oduro in the 75th but a bad pass in the 79th led to a counter for New York.

M Hunter Jumper (5) – Entered the match for Pappa in the 85th and slotted into a left midfield position.

C Frank Klopas (6) – Clearly handled his side better than Hans Backe who started Heath Pearce at a holding mid spot next to McCarty.  Emphasized the need to score first and not fall behind all week and the club responded with one of their best games of the season after a two week break.



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  • We really needed the three points here. Next two are at KC and at Houston.

  • In reply to Ufficio:

    Columbus at Toyota Park, followed by trips to KC and Houston. All big games in terms of playoff positioning.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Ah, didn't see Columbus on the schedule. Absolutely need the three points from that one as well, to take a little pressure off while on the road trip.

  • Ongoing contract negotiations or not, Grazzini throwing a fit and leaving, then not talking to media after a WIN is inexcusable, and shows a touch of selfishness, in my opinion.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    It's also a bit out of character for him. He's usually pretty good with that. Could be a sign that things aren't going well or could just be a sign of frustration. July 1 will be interesting.

  • True. Not sure why he was surprised to come off though, he's gone a full 90 in a select few games, but mostly plays 70-80 mins. per match, it seems. Would have to re-check the stats on that one, but still.

  • I thought Rolfe did a great job of coming back to help start the attack at times at the end of the game. His decision making was excellent and so quick. The Fire were able to advance the ball through really tight spots because Rolfe engineered the movement. It was awesome. No one else on the team this year has been able to work the ball with others through those tight spaces as well as Rolfe engineered it. Having that plus Rolfe's knack for scoring is so great to have again. I'm psyched!!

  • In reply to Krasov:

    Me too but I'm trying hard not to be. I've got to stop being so up after each win so I don't get so down after every loss. So I'll leave you to get psyched on my behalf. :)

    Was a great win though. Perhaps the best this year. And always good to put the hurt on the Red Bulls. The day they do that to the Sounders, I'll get psyched!

  • i hope they get this grazzini decision over sooner rather then later. if the team decides to go in another direction then you can put a striker and a creative mid on the list of needs. if they keep grazzini then they need to go all out to find a striker that can play with their back to goal and who can finish. too bad drogba signed in china, we could have used him.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    Letting Grazzini go would be a big mistake and simply asking for trouble. Creative, playmaking numbers 10s with his ability are simply too difficult to find in MLS and his value shouldn't be underestimated. He's also been with the club for a year now and it's important to develop continuity within a side if you are to seriously challenge for anything. You're right.....if he goes there are now two important holes to fill instead of just one.

    Getting Drogba was a nice dream but it was never a realistic one.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Would Grazzini not being renewed be such a big mistake? If the Fire really believed that he was the go-to guy, the #10 that they really need, would they have not exercised their option before the season began? Waiting until the very end like this is just dumb if he is going to be part of the future for the team. I like what Grazzini brings to the team, but he is hardly the Fire's answer to Javier Morales or Guillermo Barros Schelotto. I see him as an expendable player.

    Replacing him, however, is not as simple as changing midfielders on a fantasy team, so I agree with you regarding the value he brings on the field. If they choose not to renew him, then Plan B had better be one heck of a plan.

  • In reply to StaryByk3:

    He may not be Schelotto but for $50k he's produced well above his pay rate. His option will be an increase that still isn't a huge sum. Pay the man.

    Think back to what the Fire looked like offensively before Grazzini got here last July. The hardest positions to fill with true quality in MLS are playmaker and striker. They've got one of the two already on the team and it seems nonsensical to let one go at this point in the season.

    To make matters more confounding it seems that Grazzini wants to be here and that Klopas wants him in the side. Puzzling.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    If the Fire thought he was the player you describe above, why would they have not exercised their option by now? I'm not arguing that Grazzini's presence didn't improve the quality of the Fire's attack. But are they looking for more quality than Grazzini can provide? If a club really wanted a player, then they wouldn't leave his contract situation hanging like this. I am speculating that someone among the Fire's decision makers regarding the roster doesn't want him around and they may have a better player lined up. And if that's the case, I sure hope they have their ducks in a row, because we could do a lot worse than Grazzini.

  • In reply to StaryByk3:

    If indeed they have another playmaker lined up that is an upgrade over Grazzini then this haggling over the contract option makes sense. If he walks and there is no replacement other than Alex then there should be some serious questions raised over at TP.

    I would hope those decision makers make a better choice than they did when they felt it was a good idea to pay a substantial transfer fee for Federico Puppo. July 1 will be here before we know it.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    The Fire also really wanted a TV schedule set, but waited till WITHIN the last week to hammer out a deal with the station.

  • I would also like to see Grazzini stay. The Fire is a much better
    team with Grazzini then without him. In my humble opinion I would
    try to trade or let go the following "Non Contirbutors."
    Mkhoheli Dube, Steven Kinney, Michael Videira , Feferico Puppo,
    and Rafael Roboyo. I would use the Roster Space and funds
    available by their departure to get that Proven Goal Scorer that the
    Fire still need. Great to have Chris Rolfe back and he is a great
    addition but that Proven Finisher should still be a Number One Priority!

  • In reply to Juergen:

    It would not surprise me if Dube, Puppo, and Robayo all were gone come July 1.

    They are pursuing a striker but it remains to be seen if they can land a big fish.

  • fb_avatar

    I think it's safe to say, there are no plans for any signings on the first day of the transfer window. lol. We probably would have heard about some serious links by now.

  • In reply to waam:

    July 1 isn't the first day for signings. It's the deadline date for players on your roster counting against the cap for the rest of the year. If a player is on the roster come July 1, the salary amount will count against the cap for the rest of the year. If that player is released by July 1 teams can get cap space from that players release.

    They are looking at players to bring on.....last week's "scouting" trip wasn't a vacation.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    was javier on that scouting trip with frank? because we all know how his latest acquisition is doing this season.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    HIs record hasn't been all bad...I believe he was involved in dealing with Pardo.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    i'll bring up 2 major blemishes on his record: 1.Chivas USA 2. DP money for Puppo.

  • Thank you, Guillermo
    Glad to hear that last weeks scouting trip was not a vacation.
    Hope we get that Proven Goal Scorer to can put into the back
    of the Net some of the chances created by Nyarko and company.
    I think we all have seen enough of the disappointing performances
    by Puppo and Robayo the candidates of prior scouting trips.

  • In reply to Juergen:

    They've got a small list of forwards in mind. One would be a legit threat in MLS with a proven scoring record at a big club. Now it remains to be seen if they'll throw enough cash at him to get him up here. This guy would not be the gamble that Puppo was.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Can you share who is on this list? :)

  • In reply to waam:

    I'm thinking south.

  • So who are the 3-4 members of Alex's family that follow this blog that voted for the option "Nobody but Alex" on the "During the transfer window the Fire need to add..." poll question. Not to knock the guy, but come on...

    Also, on Gazzini, in the words of Teddy KGB in "Rounders", "Pay that man his money!"

  • In reply to c0quito18:


    I think the same people that voted "No" for the City of Chicago flag jersey may have voted for "Nobody but Alex."

    The issue with Grazzini appears to be that he is asking for more money via extended years on his option. How much and how long I don't know.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    "I think the same people that voted "No" for the City of Chicago flag jersey may have voted for "Nobody but Alex.""

    This was me.

  • Is it a June 25th or July 25 transfer window opening?

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    Secondary window is open from June 27 to July 27.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Kinda had it! Can't wait to see what happens!

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    Upcoming dates of interest:

    June 27: transfer window opens
    June 29: Alex available for selection at KC
    June 30: Grazzini's contract expires
    July 1: roster deadline date for cap purposes

  • what are the chances pappa is sold? He is playing well, but we all know he will be gone at the end of the year, seems only smart to sell and recoup some money for the future rather than let him go free

  • In reply to lijien:

    If the were going to sell January would have been the time to do it. Now his transfer price is minimized because an interested club just needs to sign him to a pre-contract and they'll get him this coming January on a free transfer.

    Unless they can find an offer big enough to make it worthwhile it probably makes sense to play out the rest of the season with him while he's trying to impress. If he goes overseas and doesn't cut it the Fire will still hold his rights here.

    It doesn't sound like he's got a concrete offer right now although Feyenoord has apparently had scouts here looking at him.

  • Fire are not making Grazzini available to media today at practice.

    Not a good sign it seems.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Son of a B. I can't run my mouth becuase its impossible to know if he was being unreasonable with contract demands, but this one stings. If it wasnt going to be DP money Im not sure why you pass up on him. He clearly has a DP type impact on our team.

  • In reply to KChance:

    I agree with you. There should be some common sense used in this issue but it's difficult to really blast either side because we're not aware of what the hang up is at this point.

    His impact is clearly worth a substantial increase from his current salary and the club holds the option so it would seem to be a no-brainer on the surface. There has been some speculation that Grazzini is looking for more money and more years added to the option.

    There's still time to get it done and it's easy to see why players might take a negotiation personally but this should have been addressed long before it became an issue.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Wow!!!! The only player behind Grazzini the depth chart is Corben Bone. He isn't Grazzini in terms of experience and passing ability but he is younger player and has signs here and there when he has the opportunity. His last appearance was the US Open Cup and tallied a goal and an assist. Then again, if they want to make a playoff push, Grazzini is the guy and if they decide to go another direction in terms of playmaking abilty, Bone is another option.

  • In reply to longoria3:

    I wouldn't be in any hurry to put my eggs in the Corben Bone basket.....that's presumably why Alex was brought in.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Good point....this Alex player isn't a picnic either. You have your options.

  • so does the FO think that its really easy to put a new playmaker into the line up mid season and not have to worry about good cohesion and communication between the players?

  • In reply to penapirata:

    I hope not.

  • Knowing that Robayo could be out might explain why he's been put in as a sub- sort of a "last chance" to validate the investment. Would make sense.


    There goes that idea. And now Grazzini may be gone as well? Ugh..just UGH!

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    Hope you didn't think that was ever a realistic option.....dude is pulling down over $12 million per year over there. That's a bit more than "Keane" money.

  • G, I wont ask you to give up your intel becuase i understand that if you burn a source. You will lose it for good most likely. But this "proven goal scorer from a big league", is he the player that the fan base has been crying for? or just another low-end name that we hope turns to gold.

  • In reply to KChance:

    Trying to get confirmation on names but the top candidate is well above the Chaves, Puerari, Puppo types.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    So if we are talking Fifa 2012 ratings we are looking at about a 70-76 range? lol jkjk but seriously I just hope whoever they get helps the team win on a regular basis.

  • In reply to KChance:

    Ha! I need to play more FIFA. My 13 year old nephew beat me this past weekend in stoppage time.....but then again he had Real Madrid and I had the Fire.

  • well putting a striker well above puppo doesn't seem to be much of a difficult task. ;)

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