Fire 3 DC United 3 - recap and ratings

The Fire were the better team through the first forty-five minutes of this match after finishing the first half with one of their better starts to a game this season. Unfortunately, like the rest of the season, they found ways to negate the positive with just as much negative en route to equaling the all-time MLS record for draws in one season. Referee Fotis Bazakos may have gifted DC United a goal with a dubious penalty call in the 39th minute to get the visitors back into the match but it was the Fire’s consistently bad set piece defending that cost them the full three points in this match.

DC’s first goal followed a sequence in which Sean Johnson cleared away a Luis Silva free kick attempt only to have Bazakos whistle Bakary Soumare for an apparent elbow or push in the back or something that resulted in a penalty kick as the ball was cleared away. Another questionable call in the 54th set up Silva for a fantastic strike that leveled the score. The worst was yet to come when the entire back line sloppily attempted to defend a second ball from yet another free kick in the 68th. Set piece defending, particularly second ball clearance, has been a killer all season and this was no different.

Frank Yallop wasn’t happy with the officiating after the match. “If you look at the first goal for them, I don’t see the call, for one. The second goal is not a foul, the free kick is fantastic, take nothing away from the kick but those things change games. Yes, we can’t hold onto a lead but I thought we played well tonight,” said Yallop during his post game press conference.

Regardless of what the calls were, and Yallop has every right to be upset with them, the Fire have earned every one of the dropped points this season and continue to do more harm to themselves than referees and turf have done through 28 games.

Player ratings

GK Sean Johnson (5) – Two key saves and a total of three on the night but he did appear uncertain at times. Three goals allowed are tough but he did get a hand on Silva’s spot kick and there was little he could do about the perfectly placed free kick.

D Gonzalo Segares (5) – Tried clearing Kitchen’s advance toward goal which appeared to cross the line on DC’s third goal. Boswell was officially credited with the score.

D Bakary Soumare (5) – Like the rest of the back line he was lost on the third goal and actually blocked Palmer’s header attempt in the 67th from reaching Hamid. It’s difficult to blame any one defender for the three goals however. The pk call appeared to be very weak.

D Jeff Larentowicz (5) – Converted the penalty kick in the 32nd. Stepped up well to start counters. DC didn’t do much outside of the set pieces.

D Lovel Palmer (6) – Continues a good run of form as the Fire’s most consistent defender on both sides of the pitch. Had a good look at goal in the 25th but his shot was handled easily by Hamid.

M Grant Ward (5) – Didn’t have many chances in front of net but does continue to work relatively well in combinations.

M Razvan Cocis (6) – The Fire controlled much of this match and actually held the overall possession advantage for once (53-47) although passing in the second half was considerably less crisp than it was in the first. Cocis was active offensively as well in moving the ball forward. Created a good chance with a move on the endline in the 66th.

M Matt Watson (6) – The Fire’s central combinations haven’t always worked well this season but they did in this game. Watson’s equalizer from distance in the 78th salvaged the point.

M Alex (5) – A volley in the 58th was well taken and resulted in a Fire corner kick.

F Harry Shipp (6) – His first start August 23 resulted in some flashes of the player we saw earlier in the season. Several through balls were well placed and a shot from a free kick in the 14th was very well struck, forcing Hamid into a difficult save. Found Amarikwa in the box leading to the first goal and an assist. Corner kick service wasn’t as good as it had been earlier this season but he was active in a positive manner.

F Quincy Amarikwa (7) – Scored the Fire’s first goal with a well placed left-footed shot that beat Hamid in the 16th. May have embellished a bit in the 31st leading to a penalty call on Kitchen but he can be credited with also creating the second score. Amarikwa was trouble for DC United throughout the match.

M Patrick Nyarko (5) – Came in to the match for Ward in the 63rd. Created a good chance in the 64th but his pass was errant. A cross in the 75th created a chance. Earned a corner kick in the 86th.

F Florent Sinama-Pongolle (5) – Subbed into the game for Alex in the 63rd. May have been fouled on a header attempt in the 75th but no foul was given. Free kick chance led to a tap attempt from Larentowicz in the 77th but another free kick in stoppage time wasn’t even close.

F Robert Earnshaw (5) – Entered the match for Shipp in the 71st. A shot from a quick restart was denied by Hamid. Provided decent service on a free kick in the 90th.

Next Up

The playoffs have been a distant dream for quite some time now but this one should end the speculation even though the team hasn’t been mathematically eliminated yet. Realistic hopes have been gone for quite some time.

The Fire will continue to play out the season with a trip to Houston next Sunday.

Turf issues

The Village of Bridgeview re-sodded several areas of the pitch this week and the end product appeared to be somewhat of an improvement over the previous attempt at laying new sod. The turf at Toyota Park has been problematic all season and injured forward Mike Magee took to twitter to express his opinion on the condition of the field.



Bakary Soumare responded to Magee’s comment by retweeting it with the comment “Seriously”.

Former Fire forward Chris Rolfe added this:


Filed under: 2014 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • They're all correct. All it takes is a quick scan through Twitter the last 24 hours to see that the pitch has become the laughingstock of the league. I personally prescribe the issue more to the Village than the Fire, but regardless of the blame, something needs to be done.

    Also, shoddy camerawork on that FY presser video. Fire that guy. ;)

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    The Bears have had some pretty awful field conditions over the years as well, maybe it's a Chicago thing. I don't think any of the fans or players really care "who's job it is", it needs to be better.

    Sinama-Pngolle looked pretty solid and really active. Seems like we've recently stocked up on decent, active players who aren't really difference makers, but could be good org. depth players next year in Siname-Pongolle, Nyassi, and Earnshaw. Hey, celebrating the mediocre - it's all we have at this point!

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    One thing about playing on the TP pitch this year... I haven't noticed any of the other parks looking bad. That's a first!

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    Jeff, the village is broke. The reason it is broke is because they basically gave the Fire the stadium. You get what you pay for. If the team really cared about the condition of the field they would take on the costs themselves instead of making money on the backs of the taxpayers of Bridgeview.

  • In reply to Roti2000:

    The Village is broke, but paying a groundskeeper isn't a seven figure job. In the end though, I'm not making concessions for either the club, nor the Village. The pitch is bad, and needs to be fixed.

  • With the threat of rain, my son and I sat in the upper deck last night ... we couldn't understand anything the PA announcer said. There are enough ribbon boards at TP ... how about using one of the to post the goal details after a goal? And that field ... someone is going to get hurt. DC's keeper slipped three or four time on free kicks.

  • So will Quincy ever keep his mouth shut and just play the game? Yes refs make bad calls every single game and they make calls that players are going to disagree with. He should just get over it and play. It seems that he is taking over that role for Mike Magee. Quincy challenge: Just play the game and not mouth off to the ref, that's what the captain is for.

  • With this game, the RSL game at home, the two stoppage time penalty fails, and the last penalty gaff vs TFC, that is 5 games where 3 points were the Fire's to lose and they lost them. By my calculations, that's a 10 point swing and the difference between locking up a playoff spot and hoping to play spoiler before heading home to lick your wounds over the Christmas break.

    The list continues to grow for the offseason:
    Central Defender
    Attacking/Creating Midfielder
    Target Forward
    Maybe another wing

    January should hopefully be busy for the Men in Red

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    They should have room to do some shopping if my understanding of expiring contracts/options is correct.

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    Amen to that.

    Guillermo: Apologize if I've asked this before- Do you know if players on loan are "safe" from selection in the expansion draft?

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    Players on loan are far game if they're not on the protected list. I'm assuming you're referring to Pineda. His original HG contract expires this season so they have a decision to make on him.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Does a team HAVE to protect 11 players? Shipp, Quincy, Magee, Big Red, and Johnson should be protected. Everyone else should be fair game. We can only hope they take some of our players. Knowing our luck though, they will pass on all of our players.

  • Guys One thing that we really don't have to worry about is the expansion draft. There are only a few players that would interest any teams. I would protect our center forward , ship , ward and lorenwitz. The rest including Magee should be offered to any takers.

  • Jeffstradamus: Magee goes unprotected, picked up by NYCFC, then proceeds to have an amazing season. Fire fans will lament another "horrible move" by the FO, completely ignoring the fact that Magee would have gone from playing alongside Juan Luis Anangono to playing alongside Frank Lampard and David Villa.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    The horrible move you refer to here is NYCFC having 2 quality DP's before even playing a game while the Fire have gone without a high quality DP for years, right?

  • In reply to Tweaky:

    That's an accurate observation also. ;)

    It's more directed at the fact that there have been a number of players who have been in Chicago and done very little, then gone on to other teams to perform well, for a variety of reasons. People tend to only see their current performance, and forget what those players did (or didn't do) while in Chicago.

    MacDonald is a good example of that.

  • While we're on this kick of getting out a Christmas wish list, I would also like the Fire to change their colors to yellow and black, and rebrand themselves as the Sting. Peter Wilt will buy the team for $1.43 and Apple will decide to become Kit sponsor for a relative low sum of $10m per year, but decide to put Brookfield Zoo's logo on the hoop instead of theirs. Bob Bradley makes an emotional return, and convinces his son to join the new Sting for allowance. Peter makes a phone call to Toyota, and in Tokyo they decide, geez, we should really pay $15m a year for naming rights and move it onto Navy Pier. All this will happen in 6 months.

  • In reply to waamsy:

    make it happen, waamsy!!!

  • In reply to waamsy:

    My commute to and from games would become significantly easier.
    And I can go on the ferris wheel. Weeee!

  • In reply to waamsy:

    Where's the "Like" button?!?

  • In reply to waamsy:

    Whatever you've been smoking should be pumped into the muny water system.

  • In reply to waamsy:

    In the video announcing the move, a small, cartoon version of Stanley buzzes down and jams his stinger into Sparky. Sparky deflates and Stanley becomes huge and strong and menacing. Now we mean business Chicago!
    "We just don't quit, we just don't quit, we're the Chicago Sting"

  • In reply to waamsy:

    With this guy playing wing with that jersey on:

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    or this jersey would be great too!

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