Crew 2 Fire 0 - recap and ratings

Offense couldn’t bail them out in this one.

The Fire were shut out for the first time this season but continued to give up acres of space, uncontested time on the ball, and play generally sloppy defensively. With Mike Magee and Patrick Nyarko missing the offensive display was lethargic, wasteful, and without urgency but that wasn’t the most disconcerting aspect of the evening. The back line was picked apart again as Columbus scored two easy first half goals and they probably should have had more.

The second half was just slightly better than the first with the visitors getting a few half chance looks on goal and nothing was conceded to worsen the score line, but there was no sense of urgency as the match wound down and the scoreboard showed them trailing by two. The Crew did a fine job of attacking the Fire where they are the most vulnerable. On the left and up the middle of the defense. Before the match, much was made of denying Federico Higuain time and space for which to operate in and that’s exactly what he got. Higuain found Ethan Finlay from the center of the pitch to beat Greg Cochrane and circle around an over committed Sean Johnson.

The second score was even easier.

The Fire had some important pieces missing but so did Columbus. A thoroughly disappointing result has yielded even more of the same questions. Except this time those queries come without an offensive output serving as a deodorant for defensive ineptitude.

Player ratings

GK Sean Johnson (5) – A few saves late and he possibly could have done better with the two goals but once again it’s hard to blame the goalkeeper when attackers are running free with uncontested looks.

D Greg Cochrane (4) – He’s absolutely been torched over the last month and teams have figured out that the Fire can be beaten on the left and continue to hammer the second year defender. Finlay got behind him for the first goal and he did continued to do so after the score. If Gonzalo Segares is remotely close to fit, he must be inserted into the line up immediately. Cochrane excelled in helping offensively and even played well enough defensively in the early going this season to warrant continued starts even if Segares was healthy, but those days are over.

D Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (5) – Better than the other three in the back but that’s not saying much. Two consecutive clearances of dangerous balls in the 7th minute were probably the highlights.

D Patrick Ianni (4) – Making nobody forget about Bakary Soumare anytime soon, Ianni was responsible for the second goal when he was outworked by Arrieta and fell down allowing the attacker to turn and face Johnson’s goal 1v1. Wholly unimpressive.

D Steven Kinney (5) – His first regular season match in over a year. Contributed some in combination in the first half. Didn’t have too much trouble on the right as Columbus was busy burning the left side.

M Jeff Larentowicz (4) – The back line has taken much of the brunt for the defensive issues (deservedly so) but the Fire continued to be bossed in the middle of the pitch and teams constantly find too much time and comfort in controlling possession. As captain and the man playing the “destroyer” role in midfield, Larentowicz has to face some of the heat for this one. Higuain was his mark on the first goal. Getting beat by the Argentine isn’t uncommon but there is no pressure coming from the center of the pitch in just about every single game.

M Benji Joya (4) – See above. The central midfielders are allowing teams to ping the ball around unmolested. Joya typically has provided something offensively to make up for his lack of defensive skill but there wasn’t any of that in this game. He was subbed out at the half.

M Dilly Duka (4) – Started out decently enough with a few decent combination sequences and a couple of shots on goal but the second half was peppered with bad passing decisions and forced shot attempts. Subbed out in the 61st.

M Harry Shipp (5) – Tried to get things moving for a spell in the second half with a good move to find space in the 55th. Free kicks and service weren’t quite as good as they have been in the past but still better than most of his teammates.

F Juan Luis Anangono (4) – Hit the post in the 27th minute in the Fire’s best chance of the game. That was it. The rest of the match was a cavalcade of unfinished or late runs and disappearance.

F Quincy Amarikwa (5) – Forced his way into a few opportunities, such as causing Clark’s botched clearance in the 18th, and taking the ball from Gehrig in the 76th to get himself a shot on goal. Earning a reputation as a diver.

M Logan Pause (5) -With the Fire trailing 2-0 a move to bring in Pause seemed a bit odd. The team was somewhat more effective in the middle defensively with the veteran on the pitch but there is no hope of creating chances from the run of play with a Pause for Joya switch.

M Grant Ward (6) – Probably the highlight of the night was the performance of 19 year old midfielder Ward. He entered in the 61st for Duka and provided some spark. Several good crosses and lead passes resulted in the most promising moments of the second half.

Next up

At home versus the Los Angeles Galaxy next Sunday.

Fire Confidential Live

We’ll discuss the match on RadioVive Sunday morning at 10am. Guests will include Crew television color man Chris Doran and the Daily Herald’s Orrin Schwarz.

Also on the agenda – a Galaxy preview, which means Landon Donovan talk, and the UCL final.



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  • The team lacks a lot of qualities that other sides can come up with even when there are injuries. Last nights game was about as poorly coached as seen in a fire game. I cannot pick out one player on the team that will force me to endure the terrible Harlem drive to see soccer. If they do not bring in the best center Mid from MEXICO during the transfer period I am not sure what they are thinking. Just terrible

  • ...All I can say is this, what the hell were you expecting to happen when you decide that Larentowicz was better in that role that Rios!? I know you saved some money but ... c'mon. That was a very Frank-type kind of game--- Klopas that is. Very frustrating two hours that I will never get back.

  • In reply to FireRog:

    Rios would have cost them a DP spot this year and a salary near $1.5 million. His impact would not have been significant enough to justify that. They were 4-3-2 with him in the line up last year with 12 GF and 15 GA....easy call.

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    Duka should have been subbed out at half-not Joya.I think if Frank wouldve slid Benji out and placed Pause in his spot we would have seen a better second half.Duka was god awful, you are being generous with that 4 rating.

  • Sorry Guillermo, your job has not been made easier at all this year by the overall crappy play of the Fire. There's just too much negativity going on, and alot of that is very fair. A lot of questions are being asked right now.

    Yallop's teams defensive discipline have been little or no better than Klopas's. In fact, you could attribute Klopas's defense with youth and inexperience. Yallop? Klopas's midfield could not generate any meaningful possession. Yallop is not an improvement there as well. You could say Yallop's teams score more, but this is still not beautiful attacking football. Rolfe's 3 goals and 3 assists in 8 games would have been nice, and honestly, they would have been more technical and attributed to a more attacking type of play. What we have now? Don't tell me we are relying on a rookie, because its starting to look that way. I recently read Yallop could be looking for that 2million dollar player in the Summer. Well, this team needs more than that. We're in trouble all over the place. Some I will attribute to form, they have to get better than this. But some of it, we've seen some of these players for many years now. Traded a couple of our commodities away in Berry and Rolfe. Unfortunately it seems like we traded away too much to me.

  • In reply to waamsy:

    It's great to see Rolfe doing well but where was he going to play here? He wasn't going to get much time at forward with Magee and Amarikwa available and both Shipp and Nyarko were ahead of him on the wings. They had to make a move to clear some space.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Just asking a question, and I hope it's fair...

    I'm not talking about Rolfe anymore.

    Just want to ask how does Magee and Amarikwa really rate? And where does Shipp and Nyarko really rate as well? Obviously, we have the reigning MVP Champ on our side... I just want to know, can we win an MLS Cup with this forward attack? I don't want to get into naming names. It's a team game and can run hot and cold on form. Maybe I'm just getting too tired with rebuilding.

  • In reply to waamsy:

    They might be able to win with a Magee/Amarikwa combination if midfield and defense were championship caliber but they're not.

    Magee is a solid MLS player but he may never match what he was able to do last year in terms of goal production. Amarikwa has worked hard to get to where he is and he's certainly been better than anyone expected but you have to wonder how long his production will stay at the current level.

    Those Quincytime videos are awesome though.

  • great blog and great comments from soccer experts. I am not an expert by any means--just a crazed soccer dad--but I do have a question and I hope it's not too pedestrian: I like how Shipp ranges and finds open spots, even on the right side of the box. But does that leave the left back vulnerable on counterattacks? what is supposed to happen in that defense?

  • In reply to John Kass:

    Most of the time other positions will shift and cover when Shipp roams, until he gets back in position. I think in a speedy counter-attack, they just try to cover the channels as well as they can, most of the time by Larentowicz or Joya moving out wide where Shipp would be, but Shipp's been given the green light to roam the pitch at will, even though he's playing on the wing, so the other guys (esp. central mids) probably know and adapt when needed.

  • In reply to John Kass:

    Thanks John!

    Shipp has the freedom to roam but it does leave the left side vulnerable and you're seeing that teams are attacking there just as you said. Jeff explained the cover, but the Fire haven't been very good at doing that.

  • Thanks Jeff and Guillermo. Opponents are attacking left side. Again, I love to read good soccer commentary. Thanks to all of you who respond to Guillermo Rivera's comments. Helps me learn.

  • What in the earth happened to the broadcast. The quality was something close to pre 1955 radio . The guy from the Spanish channel sounded like he was from Mars. Hopefully next weeks show has. Different guy or girl handling the board.

  • In reply to Brokerman:

    Yea, we're not happy with that either....the sound issues will be cleared up for the next episode. Our board operator couldn't make it on Sunday and thus the problems.

    Next one will be better.

  • Have to agree that the sound was pretty variable during the show. The content was great though. What's the planned turnaround time on getting the live show up as a podcast? I'm usually out and about on Sundays and watching / listening live doesn't always work out for me.

    BTW SBI posted a nice piece on Shipp. No revelations for Fire fans (esp readers of Fire Confidential of course):

    Regardless of results of the ROY race, I hope he continues to develop with the Fire in the coming years. I thought he might start a few games, but the contributions he's made have been critical and he far surpasses many of the more ballyhooed signings of recent years. He would be a solid ROY, not just the best rookie of an OK bunch as happens some years.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    We're trying to get the audio issues sorted out and they will be before the next show. The goal is to have the podcast version available on the same day but we haven't been able to do it with this one.

    I would rate the first episode a 5 at the most based on the ups and downs. ;)

  • Thanks everyone for the feedback, it is absolutely appreciated. Like GR said, we definitely had some audio difficulties (as well as the show cutting out early on the pod version), but all should be well. Please be patient with us, some of this is uncharted territory. :)

    I was actually able to get the audio posted Sunday evening, although I only really got the word out on Twitter. Ran into a few unexpected snags there as well, which won't be repeated in future weeks. I've already taken the necessary steps to rectify that.

    Please continue to provide feedback on your experience, both if you listened live, as well as the pod version, and even if we've already heard similar feedback. I think I speak for both GR and myself when I say that all feedback is only going to motivate us to do it better going forward.

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