Impact 2 Fire 1 - recap and ratings

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.


Player ratings

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.

Filed under: 2015 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • J. Jones and Drogba. What could have been...sigh.

  • Drogba's goal was a metaphor for the relationship between the Fire and... well, the entire league.

    Tossed to the ground and scored on while the decision-makers look the other way and complaints fall on deaf ears. Meanwhile, the general audience oohs and aahs over the winner while the Fire sit with their heads in the hands wondering how it could have happened.

  • I feel like Tomaz pilloried me for saying this a few weeks ago, but last night the crux of the issue was on full display for all to see: this collection of players doesn't include enough MLS-level talent. Period. (See also: last night's lineup featuring the likes of Busch, Cocis, Doody, Hardin.) And the quality ones we do have are forced to play out of position for whatever reason (Big Red, Shipp). Worse, they have no linchpin in the midfield, so they transition horribly. Without that fulcrum -- oh for the fleeting Grazzini days! -- we're stuck with long balls, but oh did I mention we lack an effective post-up forward?

    When you see the lack of quality in the squad and lack of chemistry on the field, you can't argue with the decision to sack Yallop. This was his squad and with the exception of a few quality pieces (chief among them Nyarko, who is showing his mettle as a true pro and in my mind has done more than anyone else to rep the badge this year), it is indeed a trash receptacle aflame.

    Is it March 2016 yet?

  • In reply to schematic1929:

    I may have complained about you saying there is an overwhelming lack of quality all over the field.

    But your not wrong about a bunch of that. Cocis is decent at times, but Doody (although a kid so give him a bit of a break), Busch and especially Hardin are, at best, bit players. Hell the whole defensive corps outside of Jones is pretty much awful. You'll get no arguements from me there.

    However, there are quality players on the attacking side of the pitch, BUT they don't fit together well. Igbo and Gilberto are a decent striking pair, but they don't have the midfield "8"s to back up the lack of "10". They have a "10" in Shipp, but the strikers aren't "9"s. The only way these quality players fit together is probably a 352. Which is probably also suicide.

    So I'll say again, I think there's a fair bit of quality, but not enough chemistry by far.

  • In reply to TomazPP:

    That's probably a fair statement. There are some good pieces but they don't fit with each other.

  • To me the issue that seems to be relevant a lot, is that Gilberto's chance in the 15th min is the same exact chance Romero got. Gilberto tried to round the keeper and failed to get a shot off. Romero hit it low and hard and it found the net. Accam tried to round the keeper and two other players and missed his shot, but his individual talent got him that look so IMO Gilberto's chances haunts me more.

    But even going back to Quincy, so many times players get into a position to put a grade A chance on net and do not. Maybe its soccer IQ, maybe its bad luck, or maybe its just being undisciplined. If Shipp had either of those chances, he would have not hesitated to pass it into the corner for a goal.

    Cocis has been very very bad since that 2 game stretch where he was playing well. And at 220k, I really hope they move on from him. Mike Magee has not provided anything this year. Not even a spark at 400k. Harden shows why he has never been a starter in this league. I'm not rocket scientist but I think a CB like Cyrus with his frame would have been a better match to try and muscle Drogba on crosses/ 50-50 balls.

    I am mostly hopeful that there is enough talent that in the off-season sprinkling in some more would have us on the right track, but its becoming clear there is still alot of "fat" to be cut.

  • I found it interesting that Busch consistently tried to play the ball out of the back, but they could not do it. Cocis is too slow. Stephens and Polster in midfield would have been a better combination. Playing it through the midfield requires midfielders to go forward from time to time. Polster and Cocis never went forward. Gilberto in my opinion will be a solid contributor sooner rather than later. Playing Accam on the wing was the right move. He does not trust his teammates so he refuses to pass. Joeven Jones needs a spark, but I don't think starting the game on the bench showed any sign of giving him that hunger. I did sense that they had a strategy this game that has not existed before. Probably wishful thinking.

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    Speaking of defensive woes, what ever happened to Marco Franco? I don't think I've even seen him on the bench this year. Well at least the top college prospect this year is a defender...

  • In reply to Joe Brancato:

    Last I heard Marco Franco was with Indy Eleven (signed earlier this year). I believe him and Victor Pineda went there.

    And if any of you are interested, IU plays Northwestern at Toyota Park on Sunday. Grant Lillard (centerback) and Andrew Gutman (Left back) both played for the Chicago fire academy and both start for IU. They look promising should they be offered a homegrown contract. Lillard is only a sophomore and is one of the best centerbacks in the big ten. Gutman is only a freshman and from the few times I've seen him I think he's a better left back prospect that Patrick Doody.

  • In reply to cf97TID:

    Lillard is definitely a potential homegrown. He's already made several appearances with the Reserves over the last few years.

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    In reply to cf97TID:

    Thanks for the reply. It's a shame to see a first rounder given up on so quickly... I'm really hoping we capitalize on homegrown talent next year.

  • In reply to Joe Brancato:

    He was on loan to Indy Eleven and I think I recall seeing earlier this year that the Fire released him. He's still playing with Indy Eleven.

  • Two things stood out to me:
    1) they kept their shape (or maybe I'm just finally noticing it)
    2) how nice the ball movement was in the final third, with the crafty (and crisp) cross-passes that took their defense of-guard to set up chances.
    Overall there seemed like a certain crispness to things I've not experienced in the muddling and whatevering days of FY.

    That aside, I'll be curious if we went to see who starts and what the formations are.

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