Fire 2 Red Bulls 0 - recap and ratings

A bit of redemption and a huge three points moved the Fire closer to clinching a playoff spot after an impressive 2-0 win over the Red Bulls in New York.  Chicago reclaimed sole possession of second place after DC United’s victory in Toronto earlier in the day temporarily pushed them ahead of the Fire in the Eastern Conference table.

Arne Friedrich and Sherjill MacDonald were stand out performers on the day as the visitors managed to deny New York’s talented attackers of very many clear scoring chances at the same time putting away two quality opportunities of their own.  The win sets up the Fire with some time to recover as they hope to have Pavel Pardo back in the side against New England on October 20.  That match along with the final home regular season game on October 27 against DC United will still be important matches in relation to the Fire’s final standing in the table.

The playoffs are getting closer.

Player Ratings

GK Sean Johnson (6) – The Fire’s first clean sheet since July 14 and the defense didn’t have to rely on Johnson to bail them out with any spectacular saves.  A good defensive performance all around and the goalkeeper handled everything that came his way.

D Jalil Anibaba (6) – Served in an excellent cross in the 44th minute finding Fernandez for a header attempt on goal.  A much better day than the last match.

D Austin Berry (7) – Should have cemented his Rookie of the Year award with an impressive performance against the dangerous Cooper/Henry attacking duo.  Berry and his central partner, Arne Friedrich allowed very little in terms of good looks at goal particularly after the Fire took the lead.

D Arne Friedrich (8) – An all-star performance against arguably the top offensive player in MLS.  Denied Henry with a huge block in the 27th minute that could have given NY the lead.  Chipped in offensively again with a shot in the 53rd that forced Robles into a tough save and started the play leading to the first goal.  Top notch effort from the German centerback after calling for better play following the loss on Wednesday night.

D Gonzalo Segares (6) – He was missed against the Union and played well in this match.  Picked his spots for getting forward.   Stopped Henry 1v1 at the edge of the box in the 55th.

M Logan Pause (6) – New York allowed the Fire midfield some space and the central combination looked much better.  Kept the ball moving when he had to and Tim Cahill was rarely heard from.

M Daniel Paladini (6) – Another big improvement from Wednesday night.  Made things uncomfortable for Red Bull attackers and provided an invaluable assist on the second goal to ice the game for the Fire.

M Patrick Nyarko (6) – Matched up against Wilman Conde in the first half and forced New York to drop Lindpere deeper in order to aid defensively.  Forced Conde out at half-time and continued to torment his replacement Conor Lade in the second half.  Played well although his work didn’t produce a score.  Subbed out in the 67th with what appeared to be cramps.

M Alvaro Fernandez (5) – A better game than the previous effort but there were still too many turnovers and his header attempt in the 44th minute could have given the Fire the lead.  The shot was hit just over the crossbar but he was unmarked and driving it down may have provided a more favorable outcome.

F Chris Rolfe (6) – A beautiful pass to MacDonald set up the first score.  More active in this match than the previous effort.

F Sherjill MacDonald (8) – A big time match.  Played very well with his back to goal in holding up the ball and put away two chances with skillful touches.  It was good to see him put away a 1v1 chance for the first goal and a soft touch with the outside of his boot neatly beat Robles for the second.  An outstanding day for MacDonald.

M Wells Thompson (5) – Subbed in for Fernandez in the 60th minute.  The move seemed odd at the time but he contributed with a pair of pass blocks late in the game.  Had one clear look at goal that he skied well over the net in the 70th minute.

M Dominic Oduro (5) – Came in for Nyarko in the 67th and played a part in key possession over the last ten minutes as the Fire looked to hold on to the two goal advantage.

M Mike Videira (5) – Entered the match for Paladini in the 81st as he also appeared to cramp up.  Like Oduro, he figured into some valuable clock killing in the final minutes.

C Frank Klopas (6) – Klopas wasn’t on the sideline on Wednesday night and it seems that the “fire” (pardon the pun) returned to the side with his presence on the bench.  A huge win of this nature, particularly after the dismal performance against Philadelphia shows why Klopas should garner some Coach of the Year votes.



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  • What is the playoff scenario for the Chicago Fire in terms of clinching a playoff birth?

  • In reply to longoria3:

    If Houston or Columbus lose the Fire are in. Of course a Crew win over KC would keep hope alive for first place.

  • In reply to longoria3:

    i'm pretty sure if columbus ties or loses tomorrow (skc at home) the fire clinch a spot in the post season. the fire are currently up 8 points, columbus has 3 games left, including their game tomorrow.

  • In reply to longoria3:

    One point against the Revs would do it as well (but really no excuse not to take all three against that lot).

  • I was unable to catch the first 55 minutes of the game as it was at the same time as my first chance to get an ice skating workout since last Wednesday. But it worked out well when I got home and broke out the beer & popcorn just in time for the MacDonald show. This performance was huge, coming after the two losses. The loss to SKC wasn't so bad but the home loss to Phili was really bad. This was the response we needed to see from our guys! No nonsense.

  • Thank you for your thoughtful analysis Guillermo. It is always a pleasure to read the blog. Great day for the team!!

  • In reply to pistolpete:

    indeed...especially after a win! :)

  • In reply to pistolpete:

    Thanks Pistol. It's more funt to write after wins as well.

  • TV broadcasts are fond of putting up the possession percentage stat. I find it to be almost useless. I know there are a couple of ways to compute it and I would guess it bears little correlation to the final result. NYRB had a tremendous advantage in % but I think the game was much more even than that.

  • In reply to Doug:

    Possession is the most misleading stat in soccer. It's calculated with an assigned value per event and is often useless when you look back at a game in real time.

  • Sherjill 9 minimum, Fernandez 3 maximum.

  • An important win to stop the slide. I had feared the Fire were doing a White Sox impersonation.

  • I was a critic of the Mackie signing, but I got to give him some props after yesterday's game.

    Nice job Mackie!

  • WOW nice win especially after the terrible home loss to the Union!

    Always nice to beat a team neck and neck with you at their home and with their huge $ roster with high profiled players! Way to go McD on your 2 goal performance and to the whole team to win 2-0 on the road again NY was amazing! Going from the worst performance of the year to one of the best performances (Union loss to us winning in NY) was a real nice now we can enjoy it with the break and hopefully get Pardo back!

  • I was not a MackDonald Fan from the beginning and on numerous prior occasions he passed the ball when he should have shot and missed
    badly when he did. Yesterday was his Day and he redeemed himself
    in my eyes. Fernandez should be a bench warmer for his very poor
    performance the last two games. If the Fire can only continue to play as
    they did yesterday they have a real chance to Win the MSL Cup.

  • fire clinch playoff spot! :)

  • rooting for a NYRB win over SKC next week!

    Chicago holds the tie-breaker over SKC with goals scored as of right now - and a fairly significant lead - nearly unsurmountable if KC loses to NY and Chicago wins vs revs to put them into the tie-breaker in the first place

    Chicago does have a big goal disadvantage vs NY and DC however

  • I might give Rolfe a higher score. I thought he possessed much better than he has done so far, and it seemed to me that he did a better job of keeping plays alive even if he didn't net this match. That can be really tiring for a defense. I remain impressed with his ease with the ball and ability to get out of positions in midfield that seem hopeless - only before he seemed to get out of a rock and a hard place only to make an errant pass; now he's making more solid passes. Maybe it's just me, though.

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