Union 3 Fire 1 - recap and ratings

After what was probably the club’s worst performance of the season, the Fire have seemingly lost the chance to catch Sporting Kansas City for the top spot in the East.  Rather than sitting two points behind with three matches remaining the Fire are now five points back of the lead and appear destined to battle for position with the other contenders in the conference.

A loss at home to a Philadelphia side which came into this match with two road victories is difficult to figure considering that the Fire were undefeated against Eastern Conference foes at Toyota Park.  Until tonight.  There weren’t many positives to pull from this one as Philadelphia enjoyed the better of the play right from the get go with the Fire looking disorganized and sloppy.  Disorganization led to the first goal and Fire defender Arne Friedrich wasn’t thrilled with the result after the match.  “I think the problem is, we saw today again that maybe every single player just for five percent maybe thinks that we’re already in the playoffs.  We forget to defend,” said Friedrich in the locker room after the loss.  “We were always very good when we kept a good shape and that is what we missed the last couple of weeks (games).  That’s the worst thing that can happen and we have to work on that.  Maybe it’s good for our heads that we know that we’re not all the way through and that we have to work to defend because in the end keeping defensive shape wins,” he said in assessing what has changed in the last two matches.

This game was a mess from the start and leaves the Fire facing the Red Bulls in New York on Saturday with the prospect of suffering three consecutive losses for the first time this season.  It was a game more reminiscent of the 2010 version of the Fire rather than the club that finished strong last season and looked like the best team in the East a little over a week ago.

Player Ratings

GK Sean Johnson (5) – It’s never a good night when you allow three goals to a club that you were expecting a clean sheet against.  To be fair the goals weren’t Johnson’s fault with a defensive break down resulting in the first goal, a well placed blast accounting for the second, and more awful defending late in the game making it three.

D Dan Gargan (5) – Returned to the starting eleven in place of Gonzalo Segares on the left side.  Didn’t really distinguish himself or make a strong case for replacing Anibaba on the right side.  A giveaway in the middle of the pitch in the 16th minute could have resulted in an early two goal deficit.

D Jalil Anibaba (4) – The first goal was a result of the holding mids being slightly out of position, Friedrich pushing up higher to cover for them, and Anibaba failing to cover the space that the German had vacated.  Some supporters would rather see Gargan at right back and Anibaba built a case for that move tonight.

D Arne Friedrich (5) – The back line was scrambling early.  Friedrich did manage to get on the end of a corner kick or two.

D Austin Berry (5) – Guilty of a give away and sloppy passing to stay in step with just about everyone else on this night.

M Logan Pause (5) – The Fire midfield failed to control the center of the pitch against a weakened and inexperienced Philadelphia team.  Watch Pause talk about the match, coming out flat, and missing Pavel Pardo at the Fire Confidential Facebook page.

M Daniel Paladini (5) – Had a free kick glance off the outside of the post in the 19th minute.  Pavel Pardo needs to get healthy in a hurry.

M Alvaro Fernandez (4) – Did he depart for Uruguay yesterday?  Turnovers and missed shots are not good combinations and seem to be mounting for Flaco.

M Patrick Nyarko (5) – The offense came alive a bit in the second half when the offense was funneled through Nyarko on the left side.  Assisted on the Fire’s only score.

F Chris Rolfe (5) – Forced MacMath into a tough save in the 34th minute but seemed a little bit off which was emblematic of the team as a whole.  Slotted into the playmaking role at the top of a diamond late in the match as the Fire pressed.

F Sherjill MacDonald (5) – Looked to shoot a little bit more when he had the chance but missed a wide open Alvarez during a shot attempt in the 21st.

F Dominic Oduro (5) – Scored for this first time since June and kept the Fire in the match briefly before more sloppy defending ended the contest.  Moved out to right mid when Franco entered the match.

F Guillermo Franco (4) – Entered the match in the 63rd for Fernandez and didn’t waste much time in picking up a straight red card 16 minutes later due to a studs up tackle on Brian Carroll.  Had a few decent sequences before that incident but the dismissal effectively ended any chance of a comeback.

M Alex (5) – Subbed in for Gargan in the 77th and forced MacMath into a save in the 84th that resulted in a corner kick.

C Coaching Staff (4) – The talk in training during the week was centered on taking the Union seriously and staying focused for this match.  Exactly the opposite happened.  May have waited to long to make substitutions forcing Philadelphia out of their shell.  The worst game of the year.  This is not the soccer.

This one is hard to explain.


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  • The club should offer a refund for that pathetic performance. Maybe that would embarrass the squad enough to show up in Red Bull Arena. I can easily imagine them losing the next two road games which will make for a very jittery final game. I'm not a baseball fan but I'm starting to empathize with Sox fans now.

  • In reply to Doug:

    Losing the next two, which includes a match against a New England team that's been done for a while now would be a disaster.

  • Not starting Alex reminded me of when they sat Fernandez in DC. They have a squad and chemistry going and then they change it up for no apparent reason! ARg!

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    I found that a bit odd as well.

  • I was expecting a win but I thought we would definetly get a tie...Sloppy game. Its a good thing I'll be out of state on saturday so i don't have to watch the game...Here hoping again...

  • I let Fernandez slide the first few times, but he's getting very frustrating to watch now.

  • Bad, bad time for a two game skid. KC was forgivable, but they should have handled Philly easily. Last night was another case like we saw earlier in the season of making a bad team look good.

    Also, this is actually the 2nd time losing back-to-back matches this year. I mistakenly thought it was the 1st time as well, but they dropped consecutive matches to Columbus and NE earlier in the season.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    thanks....correction noted

  • I'll say this. They should be well rested for Saturday as they put out zero effort last night.

  • In reply to Doug:

    There's one way of looking at it.....lol

  • This team does not know how to play against teams that apply high pressure through the match. It was evident in both KC and last night.

    One more thing - Philly is the time wasting king of MLS. The ref let them get away with a lot of BS last night - how long did it take for him to book a player for strolling up to take a throw in?

  • In reply to dustbin:

    Therre seemed to be some time wasting efforts taking place almost immediately after they took the lead. Tough to hammer the referee when the effort is as abysmal as it was last night though.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Last night was a Big Joke and Disappointment for me.
    All the Hoopla about 15 Years with former Players on hand.
    Then the team delivers the worst performance in 15 Years.
    MackDonald showed me why he has been with so many teams
    in his Career and Fernandez why Seattle let him go.
    This Team showed that "They Are Not A Championship
    Caliber Team." All the Excuses by Fire Players Don't Matter."
    How is that For One Big Disappointed Fan??

  • MLS Player's Union has updated player salary information....


    Guille Franco is listed at $174K guaranteed for this season. Not bad for a few games played.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    "He is being Over Paid for His Performance Just Like MackDonald is."

  • In reply to Juergen:

    Sorry I Over Reacted Meant Fernandez and MackDonald

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Kelllen Gulley and Victor Pineda both have high guaranteed compensation than Sebastian Grazzini? I know we've been told we don't know the "whole" story but on paper you have to imagine that's a checkmark on Seba's side of the ledger. I still would love to see what he would do with a striker that can hold up the ball against the defense like MacDonald. The Fire were missing a midfield general last night and it's hard not to long for a #10 that created plays and didn't get straight red-carded for about $29k per game...

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    higher* guaranteed compensation, ugh grammar

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    That whole mess centered around finances but I don't think we'll ever get the whole story. Unless of course, I keep trying....

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    I don't think I'd appreciate being the guy on the billboards making less than the 16-18 year old stars-in-waiting. But that's just me, I never make sense, ask my wife!

  • Guille Franco gets an additional game suspension for his tackle on Brian Carroll last night. He will miss the Red Bulls and Revolution matches and will be back for regular season finale against DC.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    No one will notice. He adds no value to this team at the moment. He does not fit in chemistry wise and is slow. He was great and cannot learn to play with this team in the short amount of time he will be with us. I think that was a huge waster of money. I think that that money would have been better spent setting up another Blue Moon beer stand on the West Side of the stadium.

  • that's a great response krasov! hahahahaaaa.....we can see where your priorities are! ;)

    this certainly will set him back significantly in terms of getting involved with the team and ready for the playoffs. not sure you can really lean on a guy in the playoffs having played in small parts of two games so far and will miss 2 of the final 3 games.

    i'm not sure i totally agree with this decision by mls even though I do think the red card was justified.

    speaking of "the red card", where the hell is luis "gomez" and why doesn't he show up on these forums that he helped create?! or is he here with a disguised name? inquiring minds want to know!

  • In reply to Drew:

    I talked to him earlier this summer. He says he hasn't had much chance to watch games since his new beat stalking celebrities and hanging out at parties usually clashes with game times.

    He was indeed the guy who changed the way the Fire was covered locally and deserves some kudos for that. He did say that the thing he missed the most about the soccer beat was reading the comments section in each blog post.

    Maybe I should ask him if he'd do a guest blog piece for old times sakes.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    i can relate to that for sure. i unfortunately can't see all the games either, and it's much harder now that i moved out west. it would be good to see him still have a voice though since his blog was a big part in getting me hooked on the fire. i really wouldn't be half the fan i am now without the work luis, sam and now you have put into your blogs. it really helps me stay connected with the games i miss, to hear what people think of the games, the players, etc...that traditional sports new sources just don't do well.

    as for a guest blog piece...i think adding any (good) content is good for the blog (like jeffery's posts...i'm sure this is a b**** to keep up with sometimes, so leaning on others i think is a great idea). the more posts, the better. and keeping up with the polls too. some feedback, for whatever it's worth.

  • In reply to Drew:

    Thanks for the input Drew!

  • In reply to Drew:

    I second Drew! Luis helped draw me into following the Fire back when I was still in Chicago, and this blog keeps me up to date. I don't even bother with the regular Chicago media outlets - I come here and then go to the Fire site for info. It's especially important now that I'm on the East Coast and only get to see the boys when they come out here.

    So, yeah, a guest blog by Luis would be cool... just don't let him get away with talking about video games or music because I'll tune out!

    How about a "Fire players... seen on the town" kind of thing? Surely he's run into some of the guys during his paparazzo worknights - at fundraising galas or whatnot.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    How about wrestling?

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    No. No. No. No wrestling either.

    Except if he happened to catch Paulo "the Italian Stallion"Tornaghi performing at a local bout against "Bloodthirsty" Hunter Jumper.

    I'm talking to you Luis. You must read these comments sometimes. You probably comment, too, under some pseudonym.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    No wrestling? Then forget it. ... Seriously though, glad to hear you guys haven't forgotten about me.

  • Paladini and Pause should never play together for long periods of time. Both players dont have the vision to make "that" pass that is needed out of the midfield. Pause should play with Alex and Paladini should play with Pardo. Alex offers no defensive ability so Logan fits perfectly with him. Paladini and Pardo can play on both sides of the ball and compliment each other. Last night was a disaster. Our center backs looked awful last night. Freidrich is getting frustrated and getting caught watching or up field and leaving the defense exposed. It was hard to watch last night.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:


  • Saw two ads for the game this weekend during The Daily Show last night. I hope they don't play as miserably as they did Wednesday night on national TV tomorrow.

  • In reply to dustbin:

    Yeah, for some reason by neighbor told my wife that the Fire were playing Saturday afternoon! He must have seen an ad - not on the Daily Show - he's a tea partier and does NOT watch Jon Stewart, probably on NBC Sports network. It made me laugh.

  • Reminder:
    2 pm today is the deadline for purchasing tickets to the Fire Anniversary event on Monday night.

    Promises to be a very cool event....

  • And Klopas's spirit, raging for revenge,
    With Perco by his side come hot from hell,
    Shall in Red Bull Arena with a monarch's voice
    Cry "Havoc!" and let slip the Men in Red,
    That this foul deed shall smell above New York
    With carrion Bulls, groaning for burial.

  • Looking good in the first 9 minutes... but things look to be changing at the 10 minute mark. Grrr...

  • Yellow for Conde in the 14th minute... good job Nyarko!

  • looks like defend first attack 2nd

  • good contuner!

  • offside but counts

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