The Fire have had their share of disappointing results this season and there’s little doubt that a better fate was deserved in this one. After a relatively even first half that saw Montreal enter the break with a 1-0 lead, Frank Klopas inserted Alex and Chris Rolfe into the match in place of Logan Pause and Dilly Duka and the changes resulted in one of the best overall offensive performances this season. The Fire were clearly the better team in the second half and probably should have scored another one or two goals.
Unfortunately the running themes of 2013 reared their ugly heads yet again. Missed opportunities and sloppy goals allowed have been the killers all season and that is the lament once more. After controlling the match from minute 46 onward and failing to add a third goal, a botched clearance ended up in the back of the net. This latest gut punch drops the Fire back into seventh place and two points behind 5th place Philadelphia.
The draw feels like a loss but at least they went out swinging in this one. There aren’t many swings left however.
GK Sean Johnson (5) – Didn’t register an official save but gave up two goals. Really can’t blame him for the goals but he wasn’t called on to do much otherwise.
D Gonzalo Segares (5) – Decent night and helped in support but victimized by Di Vaio’s skill on the first Montreal goal. The veteran forward found a small seam between Segares and Berry and held off the Fire left back for the split second he needed to score. Sometimes the other guy just makes a good play.
D Austin Berry (5) – The centerbacks were pretty good in this game but the team still allowed two goals and defensively that’s not good enough. Too often this season second balls, garbage goals against the run of play, and late tallies have led to let downs and this was no exception.
D Jeff Larentowicz (5) – Played well enough in a different position but still managed to replace Soumare in the “unfortunate” play category. His failed clearance in the 87th caromed off of Anibaba and right to Tissot for the equalizer. Check out post game comments from Larentowicz and Magee at the Fire Confidential Facebook page .
D Jalil Anibaba (5) – Both outside backs were involved in the plays that led to two goals. Di Vaio managed to get by Anibaba in a similar run to the one that led to the first goal but the Fire right back got enough of the ball to deflect it away.
M Egidio Arevalo Rios (6) – A few giveaways in the first half but a solid second as a formation change placed him in the back of a 4-4-2 diamond. The Fire’s passing improved dramatically in the second half (81% compared to 73% in the first) and Rios contributed with 47 of 56 completed. Drew a free kick in a dangerous area in the 32nd and managed a shot on goal with a header in the 54th.
M Logan Pause (5) – Subbed out at half time as the Fire needed to generate something offensively. Pause played his game well enough but there was little productivity in the middle going forward with two holding players in the starting eleven.
M Dilly Duka (5) – Best moments included a shot on goal in the 15th and good through ball to Anangono early. His substitute was much more effective in the second half.
M Patrick Nyarko (6) – Seemed more like the player we saw before the concussion a few weeks ago. Beat Montreal defenders off the dribble time and again while also helping defensively with a key stop or two on counters. Got by several defenders in the 78th in a sequence which led to a foul by Perkins and a penalty call.
F Mike Magee (6) – Scored two goals and attempted a whopping nine shots. Forced Perkins into a jaw dropping gaffe leading to the second goal although he did get away with a bit of a shirt tug from behind. An outstanding night with one exception. The penalty kick miss would have iced the game and secured three points. Magee blamed himself for the dropped points after the match. A hat trick would have tied him with the Di Vaio for the lead in the golden boot race and would have drawn him back into MVP front runner consideration. An excellent night for Magee but people will remember the PK miss. Almost had another goal but Camara cleared his shot from the line in the 82nd.
F Juan Luis Anangono (5) – His 82nd minute shot was deflected by Perkins and it ricocheted off the far post. Clearly wanted the shot on the PK as evidenced by the on field discussion with Magee before and after the miss. Highlights included a few good runs and combinations but low lights included his lack of urgency in getting back onside on several occasions.
M Chris Rolfe (6) – One of his better games in some time with an active and productive shift playing at left mid for Duka. Spearheaded the attack which led to the first goal and played a great ball through to Anangono leading to his 82nd minute chance.
M Alex (6) – His insertion into the middle opened things up in the second half. A move to get into the clear and take a shot led directly to Magee’s first goal. Another shot in the 81st was saved by Perkins. Did have a clunker or two on the passing end but provided the spark the team needed at the time.
A road trip to Washington to face DC United on Friday. DC is playing in the US Open Cup semi-final in Utah on Tuesday and were hammered by Toronto FC 4-1 this weekend. If the Fire don’t get all three points in this game the playoffs will likely be all but a wish.