Chivas USA 4 Fire 1 - recap and ratings

It’s going to be a long two weeks.

The Fire don’t play another MLS regular season game until April 7 against the New York Red Bulls. It will take that long to erase the sour taste of a 4-1 loss to Chivas USA at Toyota Park after controlling much of the first half. The loss raises several legitimate reasons for concern.

The first and most obvious concern surrounds the lack of finishing ability but another issue that should raise a few eyebrows is the continued loss of focus on defense at the worst possible moments. Arne Friedrich’s return should quell some of those fears but the Fire have now lost two home games to clubs that aren’t considered serious playoff contenders. Sloppy marking on one play against the Revolution proved to be the difference in the home opener and team defending that resulted in what Frank Klopas called “silly goals” decided this one.

This loss is about as bitter as the weather was in Bridgeview considering that the club is now 0-2 to start the season at home where good clubs make their mark by establishing themselves. It’s still only four games into the campaign and there is a long way to go but opportunities to pick up points at home count in March just as they do in September. Four games into the season it will start getting late if dramatic improvements don’t follow Arne Friedrich, Logan Pause, and Joel Lindpere onto the pitch come April 7.

Klopas suggested that there may be some changes made during the post game press conference. When asked if there was a possibility that this team wasn’t good enough to make the playoffs his response hinted that the reality of an 0-3-1 start may elicit some movement. “You have to look at everything. Right now it just seems like we’re not getting things done, so we have to evaluate it and make some decisions and do what’s best for the team,” said Klopas.

The Fire started the match well enough dominating the possession and the chances in the first half. The Fire had the ball 61% of the time in the first 45 minutes, outshot Chivas 6-2, and completed 77% of their passes. Unfortunately the score was level at zero at the intermission and it was downhill from there.

It’s going to be a long two weeks.

Player Ratings

GK Paolo Tornaghi (4) – Caught in no man’s land on the eventual winning goal in the 74th minute when he attempted to come out and either punch away or catch the ball directly from a set piece. The bad judgement led to a relatively soft header finding it’s way into the net. The third goal was the result of a well placed shot but he may have been slightly out of position there as well. Mejia’s rocket in the 57th beat him but only a miraculous stop could have stopped that one.

D Gonzalo Segares (5) – Pretty good on both ends of the pitch in the first half. Not much activity in the second.

D Jalil Anibaba (5) – Actually played pretty well despite the own goal late. Velazquez was his mark on the header in the 74th but he was on his man. The play would have been handled easily if Tornaghi had not been caught out of the net.

D Austin Berry (5) – Good in the air for the most part but one has to wonder what the problem is with set piece defending when opposing players are running free on second balls. A force on the offensive side of set pieces early.

D Wells Thompson (5) – So the converted midfielder pressed into emergency service was the Fire’s best defender throughout most of the night.

M Patrick Nyarko (5) – Finally broke the scoreless drought with a 64th minute score that got the Fire back into the match. Still the club’s most dangerous attacker continously drawing fouls and taking a beating from defenders. His tally put an end to the Fire’s record breaking total of 410 consecutive minutes without a goal. If only there was someone capable of getting on the end of crosses…

M Jeff Larentowicz (5) – Active defensively and particularly effective in controlling midfield with Paladini in the first half. Like the rest of the club, there were issues in the second 45. He and Paladini were sucked into the box attempting to defend leaving nobody to man the top of the 18 thereby giving Edgar Mejia plenty of time to tee up his shot in the 57th. Muscled off the ball by Agudelo for the third Chivas score.

M Daniel Paladini (5) – Played a solid first half and provided excellent service on several set piece attempts. Subbed out in the 62nd in favor of Santos as Klopas decided to push the game with more forwards. There was an issue or two defensively….see above. Hit the post in the 51st.

M Chris Rolfe (5) – Started at left mid and switched sides with Nyarko for a brief period midway through the first half. Had a very good chance to give the Fire the lead in the 39th before Dan Kennedy came out and made a good stop. Fair performance but the Fire need more from him.

F Alex (5) – Started in the underneath role and provided some flashes early although nothing produced a score. A little bit of flash in the first but not much in the second other than 2 long distance attempts after the score was 4-1. Stretchered off in the 87th. His injury status is unknown at this time.

F Sherjill MacDonald (5) – Easily his best outing of the season but continued failure to put away chances places even more pressure on the club to play mistake free. Very good vision to set up Nyarko with two Chivas defenders focused on defending him leaving a clear look. Left the match in the 68th after his calf began to cramp.

F Maicon Santos (5) – Came in for Paladini in the 62nd and started the play that led to Nyarko’s goal with good footwork. Credited with an assist on the score.

F Quincy Amarikwa (4) – Entered the match for MacDonald in the 68th. Only contribution was a woeful cross attempt in the 84th.

M Yazid Atouba (5) – Subbed in for the injured Alex in the 87th.

El Chelis

He was active on the sideline and shared his thoughts on the match with a nod toward the Fire. “We had a lot of luck,” he said. “They played with a lot of bad luck, a lot of bad luck. They did a lot to try and score the first half and nothing. We had five opportunities and scored on four.”

More post game

Catch post game locker room reaction from Paolo Tornaghi, Sherill MacDonald, and Austin Berry at the Fire Confidential Facebook page. MacDonald addresses his injury situation and Tornaghi explains what happened on Chivas’ scores.



Filed under: 2013 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • fb_avatar

    Re: Wells Thompson- VillafaƱa was owning him and his mindless shoving led to the foul that resulted in 2nd goal.

  • Fair enough.....he was solid in the first though and had a decent attempt from distance in the 38th that just sailed wide. (corrected)

  • Is it time to panic yet?

  • Let's see where they are after ten games. It's not time for full on panic but there should be some anxiety....

  • Guys It is time for leon and Klopas to leave. I love the Mls and really enjoy the way the clubs are moving ahead. But the Fire under Klopas and Leon is a sinking ship. A big part of coaching and being a general manager is being able to evlate talent the Fire are terrible at that function. Why can't old Artie realize that what he has created in management is killing the sport in one of the best Sports towns in the US. Watching McDonald play is painful he is slow fat and clueless.

  • GR -- luv ya, but man! All those "5"s tells me that we tied 1 - 1 !!!
    Accountability breeds success !! Nobody ?? is accountable for this mess?? Over the years I have often raised the issue of evaluating talent. I return to that now. Frank may not be the only one but he certainly is in the middle of it and he has failed miserably. With 2 or 3 exeptions this is a team of, at best, workmanlike castoffs. It wouldn't be so bad if there were a lot of young players with "potential" , but there aren't any 18 to 20's on this team showing "sparks" of brilliance. The "youth" is nearing their mid 20's and are showing no real potential for big upsides - workmanlike only!!! It's certainly possible that this team could "jell" sufficiently (the back line particularly) to make a run at a playoff spot but there is definitely no exciting, skillful, creative future for the current team. The scouting/talent evaluation and money? must be improved quickly!!!!!!

  • In reply to shortpasses:

    I struggled with that while compiling the ratings last night but after rewatching it (yes I'm a glutton for punishment), I thought that there weren't any totally lousy individual performances. There certainly were some team breakdowns like the lack of pressure on Mejia's goal and a nice individual effort from Agudelo on the third score but the Fire actually played a better game than Chivas for a majority of the match.

    The last goal was indicative of where they are right now. Anibaba had a decent night but it was scarred by the own goal. Tornaghi should shoulder some of the responsibility for misjudging the go ahead score but they are losing as a team at the moment.

    Their best 18-20 prospect is out with an injury at the moment. Victor Pineda is back training but he's not what I would call a game changer. You're right....workmanlike efforts only take you so far. At some point they will need the big time impact player that the top teams in MLS have.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Individually, you may be right, but team work wise the team played at a 3+ level. Strong first half, should have put them away then.
    Later stages of the 2nd. half was miserable.
    Right now we're last in offense and last in defense.
    The problem with the current management is they are trying to skim
    b(u)y on the cheap. If they want to be competitive they'll have to open their purse. I know they got burned with Freddie and the other bum they declared as DPs. Freddie might have been o.k.,
    but the other one (can't remember his name now) sucked
    and his previous record except for one tournament was less than
    stellar. They are carrying to many players who have been around for awhile and haven't produced. If the Fire don't make the playoffs,
    they should clean house, except for customer service which is exceptional, and hopefully under new ownership.
    The Fire hasn't played outrageously bad, except for yesterday's second half, but just bad enough to continue losing.
    We could end up becoming the Chicago Cubs of the MLS,
    except we don't have their following.
    Ah, yes, the beautiful confines of Toyota Park.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    The other DP you're referring to is Nery Castillo.

  • Nyarko and sometimes Rolfe are the only players that can create something on this entire team. The problem is that we have nobody that can get them the ball. Big Red got worked on the 3rd goal. Pushed to the side like a high school player. Its getting harder and harder to watch these games lately. The problem that I am having is that I dont see a solution within our squad right now. I think its going to be a long season. I also wouldnt be surprised if Arne misses a few flights back to the states so he doesnt have to play for awhile...

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Alex is capable of creating and is best suited to play the underneath striker spot but where you play him on the pitch is a question if Rolfe is in that role.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Any news on Alex's injury yet? That didn't look good to me when it happened and it looked worse when they brought out the stretcher. I'm concerned that we may not have Alex for a while.

  • In reply to Arklow:

    Not yet...he was limping around afterwards on his own which is a good sign though.

  • next 6 games...

    4/7 v New York
    4/14 at Houston
    4/20 v Columbus
    4/27 at Montreal
    5/11 v Philadelphia
    5/18 at Philadelphia

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Looks like our next win will be vs. Philadelphia on the 11th.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:


  • The Fire have added a friendly against Minnesota United FC this Friday at 10am. The game will be free and open to the public at the Toyota Park practice field.

  • Reminder....the Fire reserves play the Crew tomorrow at 9am in Columbus.

  • I REALLY think it is time to start hammering at the current ownership and the League for new (and INTERESTED!) ownership. I'm completely weary of these out-of-town owners with absolutely no interest in Chicago except for the possibility of a making a buck off us. We have as much a right for a legit local team as anyone. This IS the 3rd largest city in the US and I can't believe there aren't local interests in ownership of a MLS franchise.

    And, no thanks. I will be in western Illinois at my Mom's for Easter next weekend and wouldn't want to risk witnessing an even more embarrassing loss next weekend, even if they aren't charging me to get my nose rubbed in it!

  • It'll be a nice change when we can stop typing and talking about a game changer up top for Chicago. The idea that guys who average a goal every 3-4 games will carry the team to into the playoffs and MLS Cup is absurd. MacDonald has, including his time w/ the Fire, 51 goals in 235 appearances. Rolfe's not much better, but he *is* better, and he's not a target striker.

    I'm ok with the team struggling early on. Injuries to so many guys at once has not helped. I'm behind Frank Klopas. As was said elsewhere, to let him go, you've got to have someone better ready to replace, and that's not the case. But I would dare say these conversations wouldn't be happening if there was a gamechanger in the offense that would have the ability to do something to kickstart this offense. This team's biggest downfall is it's ability to score. That argument was being made before the season even began, across numerous outlets.

    This smoke and mirrors act like the team is good and where it needs to be to contend deep into the playoffs is becoming maddening with each passing game. I'm sure the club is learning on the fly from the mistake of bringing in a guy like MacDonald and giving him DP money, the only question remaining is if they can right the ship in time to salvage the season. 30 games is a lot of soccer, but bringing back Arne, Logan, et al, will only go so far when the offense remains as lethargic as it's been through action in preseason and reg season in 2013 (as well as the end of 2012).

    It's time for the club to look past the Puppo/Narazrit/MacDonald types, and actually put up the investment necessary to make this team a serious contender.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    Amen, brother! It's time to put up or shut up, I will not renew my tix for next season if all promise or this season are broken and everything end up just talk. Suffice it to say.... I will be stuck with two extra tix for each game if family refuses to go and see this crap on the field. I'm already getting ridiculed for having paid up what I did for this "product" on the field. If they continue this way... If they thought that had attendance problems before... "They ain't see nothing yet". That is unless we've all turned into Cub-fan types-- settling for anything they throw together. Time to speak up and pressure the team into action. Emails, posts, blogs, Facebook, twitter... Whatever! Let them know how you feel about this crap!!!!

  • In reply to FireRog:

    I'm not big on beating the "I won't renew my season tickets" drum, personally. Being a fan means enduring the good with the bad. The bad now isn't the end of the world. If I recall, SKC won a single game in their first 10 in 2011, and won the East. LA's rocky 2012 start is well documented, and they won the Cup.

    That's why I see this as a much larger issue. Slow starts and bad streaks come and go. But if this is really a team that's going to be a premiere club on the pitch and off, they need to make some changes, fast.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    I get "enduring the good with the bad" but buying tickets and kit directly supports the franchise which is first and formost, the owners. I love the guys playing for the FIre and see their effort. They deserve and will receive their paychecks even if no one buys anything.

    I see not paying for the product as a direct way to throw this up into the face of the non-performing team ownership. And that's exactly where the buck should stop. If they want to run this franchise out of business, let's help them be obvious about it, not provide cover by continuing to buy, regardless of the lack of any sign of investment from the owners.

    This is not just a down season or two to be endured while waiting for the team to rebuild. This has become the brand our owners have chosen to establish. It has been this way for over two years. We can either buy it, or reject it.

  • In reply to Arklow:

    Thank you, this is what I was trying to communicate. It's not just me "beating" my "I won't renew my season tickets" drum. To me it's an investment in the team with literally hard earned money and the only way to communicate my disagreement and disgust with the way the team has been run the last few years. If the absentee ownership is not investing in this team then why should I continue to do so. Hey, it's a business, right? I love my team and will continue to watch and support them--- win or lose. I just hope they don't run this team to the ground...

  • Sorry about the typos... Hard to type on an iphone when you are really pissed!!!!!

  • there are not many Keane's & Henry's out there, but a crap team like Toronto was able to find Danny Koevermanns, so there are definately impact players to be found (injury issues aside, look at his strike rate - on Toronto, mind you)

    theres gotta be some MLS gems in the dutch eredivisie, or some of the bottom feeder teams in the bundesliga or french league 1

  • GR, Tornaghi deserves no more than a 2 after that crap performance, and then his post-game excuse that the Chivas player was trying to head the ball back into the middle and it accidentally found the net. He made a very POOR decision to come out for that ball and not get a hand on it.

    He is also culpable on the third goal. His positioning encouraged Agudelo to shoot early, so that Larentowicz could not recover and get goal-side of him.

    Tornaghi looked good last season, so maybe yesterday was just a bad day. But NY signed Kevin Hartman last week; he would have been nice cover for the times that Sean Johnson gets called into the USNT, but I guess Tornaghi works more cheaply.

  • In reply to StaryByk3:

    Tornaghi is 100% a better option than Kevin Hartman. I do agree though, it was almost solely bad decision making on Tornaghi's part that led to the 2nd and 3rd goals. And before the 2nd half implosion, he was having a decent game.

  • In reply to StaryByk3:

    Bad game yesterday but I'm pretty comfortable with Tornaghi as the back up based on last years performance in league and reserve games.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    I agree that Tornaghi was the goat in yesterday's game. I also think he's better than that. Our defenders got caught trying to press forward and score. The pressure this put on Tornaghi may have contributed to his misplays. I too thought he looked good earlier in the game.

    What happened struck me as typical of what can happen when things go bad and you have a young group of guys. You've got to remember the heart of the defense it Anibaba, Berry, and Tornaghi and that's a pretty young group. Hopefull this crucible will harden them into sound veterans but, for now, it is still a young developing defensive core and they are going to have their ups and downs.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Experienced GKs like Hartman don't go flapping around at crosses inside the 6-yard box, which is why I mentioned him.

    June will be busy for the USNT, with WC qualifiers and the Gold Cup. Tornaghi may see a lot of action, so I hope that Sunday was an anomaly for him, because he reminded me of Andrew Dykstra, and that's a painful memory.

  • I think the idea of Frank finding a dominant striker is a mirage. Outside of the top 4-5 leagues, there aren't a dozen strikers in the world who could come in here and put up 15 goal seasons. Finding that guy is more about luck than money or talent evaluation.

  • In reply to iron81:

    It does take some luck and timing to land one of those guys but the willingness to pony up and spend what it takes to land one also needs to exist. There have been some attempts to sign a forward of that caliber but until it actually happens the perception will exist that the club isn't willing to spend big after Ljungberg and Castillo backfired.

    That being said, it's probably more of a mirage to believe that signing a forward for less than $500K who has never scored in double digits once in his career will suddenly be able to put away chances consistently when presented with them.

  • This team has been "rebuilding" for years and shows no sign of stopping. I guess they will wait until the next window, bring in some obscure player who will have them limp into the playoffs, only to get knocked out in the early rounds. This is who they are now. I find it ironic that as a former forward, Frank and his team of scouts cannot identify and bring in an effective one. We have had a lot of talent on this team in the past. They are not replaced with equal talent when they depart.

    What I miss most is how this team used to fight it's way through every game. They might not have won them all, but you know the opposition had to bring their A game to beat them. You never questioned their effort. They would win the lions share of 50/50 balls. They would quickly regain posession. This team has too many on it that lack that kind of heart.

  • In reply to DerSting:

    Actually Frank wasn't a major goal scorer himself if you check his record. Amazing Frank is in the Circle of Fire but Razov isn't.
    Razov was the only consistent goal scorer year after year the Fire ever had. Maybe Frank's problem is going after forwards like himself,
    good supportive players but not a top gun.

  • fb_avatar

    LA wanted to be a power club and make a name for itself on the international scene. 1. They go out and get a proven coach. 2. Allow him to back up his history of success by giving him time to build a veteran squad. 3. Buy big. The return has been 2 MLS Cups. If you don't play to win, there is no point in having a team.

  • In reply to Kao Xiong:

    Except to, hopefully, spin the PR game well enough to fool the locals into funding a profit.

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