Fire 1 Dynamo 1 - recap and ratings

This team certainly doesn’t make anything easy for themselves. With a chance to move into a tie for the fifth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, the Fire dug themselves into another hole by dropping points at home when every result is absolutely crucial. A win would have moved them past Houston and into a tie on points with New England while holding a “game in hand” advantage.

A moment of lax defending coupled with some of the issues that caused problems early in the season (lack of finishing and loss of possession) was enough to lead to another disappointing and frustrating result at home when it was needed most. The East is chock full of clubs capable of laying an egg at any time in any match so it doesn’t mean that this result will knock the Fire out of the playoff picture, but you get the sense that this is one of those games that will be looked at and identified as a “coulda/shoulda” moment when it comes to assessing the 2013 campaign.

With the clock ticking down you can only survive so many gut punches before reality sets in. Of course, the way the last two months have gone they’ll probably get off the canvas and win in Seattle just in time to renew hope and set up the next punch.

Player ratings

GK Sean Johnson (6) – Kept the Fire from facing a one goal deficit in the fifth minute with an outstanding kick save on Bruin. Came up big late with a stop on Driver’s rocket in the 86th. Recorded three saves and was strong again in the air. If only he could improve distribution.

D Gonzalo Segares (6) – Houston’s Oscar Boniek-Garcia was quiet for a majority of the match on the Fire’s left side. 25 out 34 successful passes is a good outing for a club that gives the ball away freely all too often.

D Austin Berry (6) – Not many clear looks for Houston as Bruin and Barnes didn’t get much done in the penalty area.

D Bakary Soumare (5) – A few shaky moments including a weak attempt to deny Bruin of his breakaway chance in the 5th minute. Better in the second half as Houston gained control of the match.

D Jalil Anibaba (5) – Not a bad day against Davis with the best chance for Houston’s top man coming in the 31st when his shot went wide after getting around Anibaba. He’s one of the players that needs to take better care of the ball when possession is needed.

M Egidio Arevalo Rios (6) – Strong in the first half breaking up passes and moving the ball forward. Not as effective in the second as Houston had the Fire scrambling late but still one of the better players in red.

M Jeff Larentowicz (5) – The Fire’s goal initially appeared to have been headed in by Larentowicz but replays showed it was knocked into the net by Houston’s Bobby Boswell for an own goal. Much like the rest of the club, he was better in the first half.

M Dilly Duka (6) – A good outing for Duka although he didn’t figure into a scoring play. Fifteen of twenty-two in the passing category and a few were impressive including a long ball over the top to catch Rolfe behind the Houston defense leading to a double save sequence from Hall.

M Alex (6) – A good shift for Alex who has also improved in passing efficiency over his last two games. Pretty effective in combination setting up Magee with good chances in the 25th and 35th.

F Chris Rolfe (4) – Didn’t have a whole lot of touches in 70 minutes of action but he blew an opportunity to give the Fire what should have been the first score in the 33rd minute. Shot the ball wide with a clear look and ample time to get the ball on frame. Also lucky to have not been shown a straight red card for an ugly tackle on Brunner in the 41st.

F Mike Magee (5) – Good in combination setting up the sequence that led to Rolfe’s chance in the 33rd but his finishing touch has been missing since his last goal on July 7. Had a good look in the 35th but scuffed a shot right at Hall. Had a loose ball chance from Rolfe’s try in the 15th but Hall denied him. Hall stopped him again from a tough angle in the 25th and he unfortunately hit the post in the 73rd with what would have iced the game for the Fire. Check out postgame comments from Magee, Rolfe, Segares, and Larentowicz at the Fire Confidential Facebook Page.

M Patrick Nyarko (5) – Brought some energy upon entering the game in the 64th for Duka and looked pretty good on both ends of the pitch until the final minute. Moffat was Nyarko’s mark on the tying goal, an uncharacteristically bad lack of concentration and effort unfortunately led to the equalizer.

F Juan Luis Anangono (5) – Came into the match in the 70th for Rolfe and blasted one shot wide in the 78th.

M Joel Lindpere (5) – Entered the match in the 83rd for Alex. I’m still not sure what the benefit of bringing Lindpere into the game with a one goal lead and 7 minutes to play would be.

Next Up

The Fire take their 0-9-2 streak on turf to Seattle where they’ve never won a match.



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  • Ugh. Right when I was starting to feel a little better about last week's editorial.

  • I can't express in words how much I hate this team. We completely dominated for about 82 minutes, while wasting all but one opportunity (and if you're right that it was an own-goal, Guillermo, then we in fact weren't able to finish a single chance today). Then we just gave up and waited for Houston to tie it up. Everyone in the stands saw it coming. They played the last 12 minutes as if it were the last 30 seconds. I simply don't understand why they play the way they do and how they try and convince themselves they deserve a playoff spot.

    That said, I thought Alex and Rios were both excellent today. Rolfe should not see the field again until he remembers how to put a shot on frame.

  • In reply to manyou07:

    I'd like to 2nd that notion on Rolfe. I've been supporting him all year, just hoping he'd get it together. Well, we've now got another option, so it's time to give Anangano his chance.

    This team is maddening. Good enough to keep us interested and invested, bad enough to make us extremely frustrated. It's the worst place to be as a sports franchise.

  • In reply to Drew:

    I love Rolfe and I thought he showed a lot of effort yesterday, but he can't score this season and that's a problem. I would like to see Rolfe playing in a midfield role splitting time with Alex, Duka and Nyarko. Anangono showed enough talent to attract a 7 figure transfer fee, how about letting him play 90 minutes to see if he is worth his price tag?

  • In reply to john:

    I have to agree about Rolfe... I have always liked his play, and he did a lot to get us into the playoffs last year, particularly during his first month or so. But it's time to let Anangono get some more field time to see what he can do.

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    Gotta agree with manyou07 - the fans saw it coming.

    The idea of this team trying to sit on a one goal lead, to me, is insanity.

    The old saw says: "the best defense is a good offense". Kloppas needs to re-think is strategy in these situations and take the old saw to heart. Because, as demonstrated by happened against Houston, nothing good is going to happen by playing 30 minutes of football in front of your own goal.

    Absolutely maddening!

  • In reply to Robert Suarez:

    This is especially true against Houston - who are known to send their big men forward and let Davis swing balls in from the wing. Moffat thrives in the space that's created in front of the backline in those situations, picking up cleared balls and crushing them from distance.

    Granted that's not exactly how this goal was set up, but you don't want Moffat to get a ball that close to goal.

    Magee was well aware of the danger of sitting back, and was trying to get the Fire to push out of the defensive third just before the goal.

    Guillermo I agree that any team in the East is capable of dropping the ball at any time, but still it looks like we will end up on the outside looking in this year - especially with Rios headed off for WCQs with Uruguay. In any case, I feat that our prize if we do get into the playoffs will be one extra frustrating and disillusioning game.

  • The Crew have fired coach Robert Warzycha.

  • Robert and Morbido, both of you called it right. From my seat in section 107, I clearly saw and heard Magee desperately yelling at the rest of the team to push out. They were leaving a gaping hole in the midfield between the halfway line and the 18 yd line,. Additionally, Kinnear was at the edge of the technical area pushing and directing his team to push the attack down the left flank. Frank meanwhile.... well needless to say, at some point even Hauptman has to realize that Chicago icon or not, Frank Klopas is not the man that's going to get it done. He's just not tactfully adept at adjusting once his teams have a lead. All his moves, formations, subs, and shifts appear reactionary by nature. Yes, the team has some talent, but I put this teams' lack of preparedness squarely on the coaching staff head, Klopas.
    IN the dying minutes, Magee saw it, my seat neighbors saw it, my 12 yr. old son saw it and commented and questioned the Fire's response to the pressure being applied by Houston. Sh*%, the whole sectioned was yelling for it...minutes before the goal happened... some formation shift... something different than just booting the ball back to the Dynamo with NO pressure whatsoever. EVERYONE on the Fire was dropping back behind the 18 yd. line... what'd they think was gonna happened. EVERYONE in my section called it. You telling me they didn't see it on the bench? I know they did... so why not make a shift, change, some directions from the bench. Guillermo, I've almost had it with this team and yes I''ll still keep watching and supporting them and will probably be stupid enough to still buy tix to the games, but at what point is someone going to take responsibility and be accountable for the lack of direction/style/adjustments on the field. Seems like no one is held accountable, at least not publicly. I hear the same post game conference after every loss... "we had our chances, we didn't put them away, thats our luck, thats the way soccer is sometimes..". Same Sh**, different day, the players are just not prepared and seem content with the one goal. (Yes, I know they are not and sometimes the ball does not bounce our way, but luck is once, twice, three times maybe... after a while it becomes a symptom of something else).
    Anyways, I just want accountability for this teams lack of something. Thanks for the rant space and keep up the good work and pressure on the front office. Listen to you later!

  • This from the Dynamo point of view:
    The Fire will lament the missed chances and the fact that they invited the Dynamo back into the game in the second half inexplicably dropping deeper and deeper. The additional time on the ball the Dynamo got brought them back in the game.

  • Bakary Soumare sits too deep all the time... Same thing happened vs. New England.

    Anibaba and Nyarko were at fault for the goal but Soumare's the director at the back and he's not pushing the line up as they should.

    I'm honestly wondering what else Hunter Jumper needed to do vs. KC to ensure he started vs. Houston. Scored a goal, contributed to the team's first clean sheet in over two months and goes back to the bench for Baky who continues to be lackadaisical.

    Talk of "competition" in this team is just fluff. Frank's lineup is wayyyyyy too predictable, as are his substitutions.

  • In reply to seaside:

    +1 Amen!

  • Big changes afoot near future.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    oh, you are cruel Guillermo. Cruel, I say. But i await the "changes".

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    not near enough!

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    So are they canning Frank? If so I would take that as an official throwing in the towel for the season. You don't fire your head coach this late in the season unless you think the season is already over.

  • In reply to john:


  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Beckham buying the Fire and naming Lampard player/coach?

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Are you going to tell us? It's been hurting my production today at work

  • In reply to john:

    It's not the Beckham and Lampard suggestion. ;)

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Is someone else buying the Fire?

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    New owner?

  • In reply to Modibo:

    Not a new owner.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    They are probably replacing Sparky. With a sad clown.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Alexi Lalas will be the new TD?

  • In reply to DerSting:

    Ha! He probably hasn't endeared himself after the half time spiel on ESPN.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    glad you asked this. i was hoping this would be answered in the affirmative.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    I like the "Big" part of your prediction though you've already indicated it won't be as big as we would like. As I await the announcement, checking websites every hour or so at home and at work, my guts seeth with the mixed tide of hope & dread.

    I hope that finally Andy is getting the message and actually plans to make a bold (at least for him) move giving the Fire new direction and purpose at the top.

    Yet I find myself prone to suspect that Andy has merely found employment for another unemployed advertising buddy by identifying one of those "soccer people" to whom he can give the pink slip, all the while milking the hope factor for a few more ticket sales.

    Make me a believer, Andy! Do the right thing! please

  • so the best thing about Frank's post game was how fast he got out of there at the end. was that you Jeff asking him about going defensive and giving up possession in the 2nd half? i could tell he was getting a little pissed about that.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    The last question about possession and playing more defensively was yours truly.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    i could hear the greek temper coming out in him.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    He slaughtered a lamb with his bare hands after that question.

    I love Franks passion for the city and the team and I think he's a good guy from what I know. That being said, his coaching has cost the team points. He needs to take a different approach or the team needs a different coach. Hard for me to say but it's true. His coaching reminds me a little of Denis Hamlet.

  • In reply to john:

    Yes, reactionary and unprepared for adjustments. His post game comments always reference and defers to "Sometimes your unlucky, that's the way it is..." Instead of demanding and expecting more of his players during crucial moments in the game he chalks up to luck. Guess what... luck favors the bold, the brave, the well prepared. Start taking responsibility for the failures and do something... its becoming insane... the same over and over again. Where does the buck stop for the players unpreparedness and lack of concentration?

  • In reply to FireRog:

    Yeah that wasn't luck, luck is when you dominate 2 halves and the one good shot they have goes in. This was probability, we constantly attacked in the first half and in spite of our failed efforts the ball went in. The second half was the same for Houston.
    We also seem to be battling fatigue and I don't think it has so much to do with conditioning as much as lack of possession and how we attack. We don't move the ball around and draw players in to create holes, we get the ball and go balls to the wall to the goal.

  • As bizarre as Denis Hamlet was, his team made it to the conference finals. Sure there was talent there, but I don't remember trying to hide in fox holes hoping the other team missed like this team did on Sunday. I seriously think that when my12 year old questions the tactics that that reflects on the coach, the owner, and also the players for actually paying attention to it. If we held he ball for 5 minutes of the last 15, the Fire would have won on Sunday. They should be embarrassed. I so wanted them to win, but now I want the management to jump in the lake and to take the coaching staff with them. They need to start fresh. Get a whole new staff top to bottom.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    Cuauhtemoc Blanco might disagree with you. ;)

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:


  • Eric "Die Bademeister" Wynalda for coach.

  • In reply to Doug:

    And John Harkes as GM, Andy's answer to build teamwork and relationships based on trust.

  • Kevin Payne out as GM at TFC after less than 1 year on the job.

    TFC has announced a front office move. Fire next?

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    typical TFC. did you expect something different?

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Hmm so the Fire are letting go of the guy who has never successfully signed a South American ever? Shocking he failed considering all the success Chivas USA has had and all their championships while he was there. Actually, I think Chivas has a better academy than the Fire

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Always thought that was a move that was going to fail. Not because of Kevin Payne (though the last few years for DC have been, uh, trying), but because TFC ownership goes any way the wind blows.

    TFC and Chivas are cold comfort for the Fire. Ha ha.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    TFC and Chivas make the Fire look like a well oiled machine.

  • Columbus gave the Fire a gift last night.

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