Frank Yallop may be gone but the look and the results weren’t any different for the Fire. A 2-1 loss in Montreal featured many of the issues that were evident during the first 29 games of the season. Lack of finishing when given chances, no possession coupled with weak midfield play, and the seemingly inevitable late game defensive breakdown were all there to behold once again with Brian Bliss and Logan Pause on the sidelines.
The old sports adage that teams get a bump when coaches are replaced doesn’t always apply. There may be some individual talent but this Fire roster simply isn’t good enough and any notion that a few minor changes will result in a dramatic turnaround into contention for something substantial next year should be dispelled as dubious thinking at best. The entire back line needs to be revamped, and central midfield and forward need upgrades. Those aren’t minor tweaks.
The last four games will serve as auditions, but contention in 2016 is no given. No matter who is on the sideline or pushing the buttons in the front office, changes are also needed on the pitch.
GK Jon Busch (5.5) – Credited with two saves including a quality stop in Drogba in the 22nd. Did well to come out and challenge on a handful of balls into the box.
D Lovel Palmer (5) – Matched up with Drogba on a couple of chances early. Cleared one away and another resulted in the header that Busch saved. Fair.
D Ty Harden (4.5) – Caught again with a late reaction and was outpaced on the winning goal. Some will like the late shoulder into Drogba after the Montreal forward got away with just about anything he pleased for most of the match.
D Jeff Larentowicz (4.5) – Shoved out of the way by Drogba for the first goal. Honestly should have been whistled as an infraction but that’s the way his season has gone. Bothered Oduro enough with an open look in the 22nd to cause the shot to sail high.
D Patrick Doody (5) – Matched up with Oduro much of the night. Started the play that led to the Fire goal with a lead into Gilberto.
M Patrick Nyarko (5) – Active early but not enough in the second half.
M Razvan Cocis (4.5) – Involved in both Montreal goals. Reo-Coker found space against him in the 39th to get the cross into Drogba and he lost a challenge against Bernier for a cleared ball in the 76th that led to the second.
M Matt Polster (5) – A few good passes to spring for chances but the Fire lost the possession battle 56-44. They did however hold a 16-9 shot advantage.
M David Accam (5) – Scored the only goal in the 50th with a header off of a rebound from the post but should have scored two others. Missed the net entirely with a clean look in the 33rd. Incredibly missed the net again in the 73rd after a pass from Polster got him in on goal. The second miss was inexcusable.
F Gilberto (5.5) – Set up Accam with the chance in the 33rd. His first shot was saved in the 50th and his header to follow up was off the post leading to Accam’s score. Came close to a good chance in the 16th but Bush knocked it away from him after a giveaway in the back.
F Kennedy Igboananike (5) – A fair effort from him although it didn’t result in much. Both forwards were somewhat effective for stretches.
M Joevin Jones (5) – Replaced Igboananike in the 66th and slotted into midfield. May need to win his spot back.
F Mike Magee (5) – Subbed in for Gilberto in the 78th. Decent service on a free kick into Larentowicz in the 92nd.
M Harry Shipp (5) – Came on for Nyarko in the 83rd.