Dynamo 2 Fire 0 - recap and ratings

A switch to a more attack minded 4-3-3 formation didn’t change the results and didn’t provide any more offensively than the Fire have been able to generate over the last few weeks. A few isolated chances in an otherwise drab performance in Houston resulted in Chicago’s eighth loss of the season. The record breaking 17th draw will have to wait but the Fire have five more chances to claim it.

Houston was in control from the start and the scoreline could have been worse. “Well obviously results wise, very disappointing for us,” said Frank Yallop after the match. “I thought we had a few half chances that maybe we could have done better with but Sean Johnson had a great game, so that says something about Houston’s play. I think the heat had a factor in the match. We played a little bit of a slow pace but for us it was a poor performance away from home where we needed to pick up points but we didn’t.”

The triple forward line up of Robert Earnshaw, Florent Sinama-Pongolle, and Quincy Amarikwa failed to get many looks at the goal as the Fire’s midfield of Matt Watson, Razvan Cocis, and Harry Shipp didn’t have much going either.

Player ratings

GK Sean Johnson (6) – Two fantastic saves in the 52nd and 53rd minutes against Giles Barnes and AJ Cochran kept the score close and Johnson was probably the Fire’s man of the match but distribution was not good in this match.

D Gonzalo Segares (4) – A cross in the 15th minute left Larentowicz and Segares looking at each other after Cummings found space in between the two for Houston’s first goal. The second goal followed a cross from the vacated left side of the Fire defense.

D Jeff Larentowicz (4) – See above. The Fire can’t afford sloppy marking at any point as every mistake seems to be cashed in on by opponents.

D Patrick Ianni (5) – Playing in place of Soumare got beat several times but did clear a few corner kicks away from danger.

D Logan Pause (5) – Slotted into the right back position with Palmer out. Houston’s first goal came from a Ricardo Clark cross from the Fire’s right side. Played one cross into Amarikwa in the 40th that resulted in a shot attempt.

M Matt Watson (5) – Took a crack from distance in the 18th but his shot was saved by Deric. That was about it.

M Razvan Cocis (5) – A shot from distance in the 20th was blocked away before he had to leave the game. Took an elbow from Clark in the 10th that eventually forced him out in the 28th.

M Harry Shipp (5) – Played the full 90 but didn’t seem to have a link with his midfielders or the front runners. Probably would have been better suited centrally than out wide in a 4-3-3.

F Florent Sinama-Pongolle (4) – Got a chance to start and really didn’t show much. A free kick from just outside the area in the 27th was hit directly into the wall. Seemed to be floating into a playmaker spot but seldom got forward before being replaced in the 65th.

F Robert Earnshaw (4) – The Fire needed something out of the three forward alignment but essentially got nothing from two of them. Earnshaw’s only real chance was a free kick from distance in the 52nd that was easily handled by Deric.

F Quincy Amarikwa (5) – If not for Amarikwa the Fire would have been completely inept up top. That being said, he didn’t have many clear looks either.

M Patrick Nyarko (5) – Subbed in for Cocis in the 28th. Headed a cross in front of goal in the 66th and almost got onto the end of another cross in the 72nd.

M Alex (5) – Entered the match in the 65th for Sinama-Pongolle and provided the service for the aforementioned Nyarko half chances.

M Grant Ward (5) – An 80th minute sub for Segares as Yallop tried to get more attackers onto the field. That didn’t work either.

Next up

A midweek visit to Philadelphia as the Fire enter the final month of the season.

Filed under: 2014 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • Johnson's problems with distribution tells me he does not take coaching. I know he's highly rated and can make some great saves, but he must be near the bottom for goals against. Sure, much of it due to bad defense, but I'm not convinced after several years that he's a championship caliber keeper that you can build around. And not sure we'll ever know for sure.

  • In reply to Bumsteer:

    Is that he doesn't take coaching well or he has not been well coached? I would go with the latter based on what I saw of him when he played with the National Team. I think this coaching staff leaves a lot to be desired. How would this team play with Wynalda as coach? My guess is they would not have gotten rid of their young talent and would not have brought in the dead wood. Time to move on, again.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    Would that be Wynalda full time or part time? ;)

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Wynalda full time. Yallop's coaching ship has sailed. There's nothing there but some contacts in England.

  • In reply to Doug:

    I agree 100%

    One problem with this thought, Wynalda calls it like it is and has no problem letting others know exactly how he feels. The current owner seems to like yes men who do not publicly call out shortcomings.

  • In reply to Bumsteer:

    Youre kidding right? Johnson has consistently been our best player for a long time. Without him in net this season, we would have a lot less ties and a lot more losses. Sure he gives up a couple of goals a game but that is because he is facing an incredible amount of shots each game. He is usually left out to dry at least twice a match. He is our best player this season and if it wasnt for Magee last year, he would have been our best player last season. There are only 2 players on this current roster that HAVE to be back next season and that is Sean and Harry. Anyone else can go.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Take a look at his stats against the other keepers in the league, they're not great. He's also responsible for distribution and organizing the back line, which I would give both a 4 on Guillermo's scale. He's slid down the list for the MNT with Hamid playing much better. To me he's like Jay Cutler, lot's of promise, flashes of excellence, then a punt out of bounds or standing over the ball and watching your defender muck things up. Don't see growth.

  • In reply to Bumsteer:

    Because he punts the ball out of bounds, hes not that great? Because Soumare thought he should shield the ball for 10 yards heading towards the goal, he is not that great? Its hard to have great stats when the players infront of you are not good. He cant make them better players. He cant make Soumare play better defense. He had to deal with Ianni and Hurtado in front of him for a lot of the season. Constantly dealing with almost 10 shots on goal each game. Often inside the 18. It's often said that a great keeper is good for 8-10 points a season. Sean has done that for us for sure.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    I think SJ has been the team's MVP this year, which isn't saying all that much but he's improved over last year where he made a few big mistakes. He's not the best keeper in the league, but he's plenty good enough to win with.

  • This is the best result. Lose, lose and lose from here on out. Looks like we will end up between 3-5 in the draft and allocation order, and are currently 4th but with a game in hand on Colorado. #3 San Jose has a chance to surpass us on points, but we can pretty much forget picks 1 or 2. That's the only thing I care about at this point...well that and good health to our players. After that, I'm just looking forward to the offseason and hopefully a plethora of changes, upgrades and MONEY SPENT on LEGIT DPs (PLURAL!!!!!).

  • In reply to Tweaky:

    Actually your draft/allocation ranking numbers are off. There's the little issue of the 2 expansion teams getting #'s 1 & 2. So we are looking at possibility of #'s 5-8. But with Chivas USA possibly ceasing to exist we may end up with one of 4-7.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    good points. damn. if we are going to be able to use that allocation spot, we better be closer to 4 than 7!

  • New and updated MLSPU player salaries through 9/15.


    Earnshaw, Cocis, Sinama-Pongolle numbers included.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Unbelievable to think that if we got rid of Soumare and Ianni that Yallop would have a cool half million to play with. Nyarko and Larentowicz add up to the same amount, roughly, but despite Nyarko's injuries I'd take that pair over the two defenders any day of the week.

    At the same time, roster churn does not produce results - not instantly, anyways, and not when the key criterion for bringing in a new player is a discount price tag (for whatever reason - including dubious quality, history of injury, poor recent play, question marks about the quality of the team/league they're coming from...). It just looks like we're in for another offseason of offloading budget players to pick up more budget players who will produce a minor flash of interest and then quietly fade to black from July to mid-October.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    The Union are actually paying a big chunk of Souamre's 2014 salary. The Fire have an option on him for next season.

    About 2/3 of the roster is either out of contract or in an option year so they will have room to make some deals with substantial additions. I do believe they will look to spend some money on "real" DP's this offseason.

  • Guys I am almost glad that this season is over. I re watched the game last evening and could not stop feeling that this team was a lot worse than last years team. There is not one single player on the team that is worth driving the 23 miles to watch. I was high on Shipp but even he seems to have lost his charm under the worse coaching staff in the league. I cannot reup my season tickets until major changes are made to the team. I know that AH will not fire yallop but he should. He absolutely will not spend the money on a new coach until this contract is done. If anyone will recall the way that klopas got the job was he had to replace that terrible mexican coach that was suppose to be the best foreign coach and the only guy that could do that and not cost money was klopas the director of player management. I hope that everyone does not automatically re up their tickets until at least two good DP are signed and hopefully Yallop and bliss are gone.
    I appreciate The desire to get the best draft position as possible but look at the folks that would ultimately make the personal decisions Yallop and bliss. now that is scary.

  • In reply to brokerjohn:

    You rewatched the game? What kind of masochist are you?!? How could you suffer through that game twice?

  • In reply to brokerjohn:

    Renewing ST is a tough call. The cost for me to renew (Harlem End) with discounted parking would equal 5-1/2 games to buy individually (at 2015 prices.) Six, if I took the beer bus instead of drove.

    I guess it comes down to how much of a gambling man I am on these folks to right the ship.

    If it doesn't work out, well, fool me once...

  • Here is my take on the status of the team in no particular order.
    1. Stadium is great, location not good (bad for anyone North of downtown). Field sucks.
    2. Players: serious question marks at every position. Aging players need to be let go. Young players need to be developed and are not. Defense is pathetic.

    Coaching Staff: There are serious strategy/preparation issues apparent in every game. Midfield is not allowed to play because they have to help on defense. If the midfield drops back, the team will never win the ball back in a strong attacking position. Because of this, ball possession is non-existent. No pressure on the ball until the other team is about to score and then it is too late. The coaches have not identified or developed any young players. None appear to be in the pipeline. Shipp has regressed since his arrival. He is out muscled more than any professional should be. He needs to be taught to play more physically or learn how to take a "foul" so he does not give up the ghost 9 out of 10 times he touches the ball. Joya has skills, but if he cannot play he should be let go for his own sake. Dilly Duka was right to ask to be traded. I would swap last year's regular line-up except for Big Red any day. When you identify Big Red as your savior, your team has problems. I understand that attacking central mids are hard to come by. Defense can be taught/improved. Offensive mindsets and vision cannot be instilled in a naturally defensive player. Sacrifice defense for offense and teach the mids to put pressure higher up the field.
    Management: Clearly inept. Cannot figure out how to help Bridgeview with the field. Cannot get the Fire on the 10:00 news. Cannot figure out how to expand visibility of the team outside of soccer circles. Getting AYSO players to line the field before the game is not fan base development. No English radio play by play. Stupid. Ticket cards. That's the Fire's idea of a HUGE increase in the game day experience. Seriously, that investment could have been used for better grass. What does the Fire brand stand for? Ask any average person and the brand means nothing. $2 beer seemed like a good idea. Wrong.
    Future: The team needs a new inspiration whether that is ownership or a new leader hired by ownership. If the owner does not want to let go, bring in investors who have a Chicago connection. Be Chicago!! Chicago soccer has a huge history. Have soccer clubs play in Fire sponsored tournaments with the championship at TP. Don't poach players from elite clubs. Challenge your own players to beat them. Buy in to what Chicago soccer is without trying to take it away from the people and players who have made soccer in Chicago something remarkable. Host the High School State Tournaments. Make connections with US Soccer. It's based in CHICAGO!! Play preseason games in Chicago at high school and college stadiums in Chicago. Play US Open Cup games at North Central to honor the season played there. Make it a priority to get into CONCACAF Champions League so the Fire can play elite teams from Mexico in a tournament that matters!! An absentee owner is like an absentee landlord. The heat doesn't work, the water isn't running. We need to call in the league. The team that Denis Hamlet inherited was built to win and almost did it. Ownership let the team fall apart.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    Preseason games in Chicago?

    You know preseason games start in February, right?

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    That's "the Chicago way"! South-side tough!

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    That is why they have artificial turf at Northwestern, Loyola, and Depaul. It's preseason. They can play a game or two the week before the season starts.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    Several issues with that. 1. Soccer on turf sucks and 2. It would gain little in actual attention since nobody is looking to sit in the cold for preseason games and 3. The last few weeks of preseason are when starters begin to play more minutes. They're not going to risk starters on turf in 30-40 degree temps when they can get them into game shape on grass in 70-80 degree temps in Arizona or Florida.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    OK, OK. I give on the pre-season thing. I stand by everything else.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    Other than the preseason thing.. lot's of good points and ideas. Love the passion and wish we saw some of that from the FO.

    I watch Yallop some times when they show him and see him yelling at someone from the other team or fans. One time they caught him yelling f off to either the other coach or someone up the sideline. He just seems so blase like he's happy to collect the check and go home.

  • What's happening with the players that are currently on Chivas USA? Is the league going to distribute the players, not on loan from other clubs/leagues, through a double-secret Don Garber-esque allocation order?

    There's a chance they could get Hurtado back for free and keep the allocation dollars they got when they originally traded him! Finally, one works FOR the Men in Red!

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    If I had to guess....dispersal draft.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Cubo Torres, pleaseandthankyou.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    Blind draw, anyone?

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Straws, coin flip, or rock/paper/scissors. Player's choice.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    It will be completely impartial after the outcome has been decided in advance. Then we'll be ready for the draw, before which the losers will be blindfolded.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    +1 to Modibo.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    +10000000000000 to Modibo.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    right out of the policy book no less

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    Except that we would have Hurtado back...

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