Toronto FC 3 Fire 2 - recap and ratings

One thing has been constant all season. The 2015 Fire will find a way to lose.

In games where the offense has faltered and failed to put away chances, the defense was slightly better but still gave up that one crushing blow. In matches where the offense clicked and they did manage to create something, whether it be on the counter or via those rare glimpses of sustained attacks, one could be assured that the defense would collapse and give up just one more goal than the attackers could generate.

The Fire’s 18th loss of the season officially eliminated them from playoff consideration and continued to show that Nelson Rodriguez and whomever he chooses to lead behind the bench should focus firstly on correcting the issues of collective team defense. It’s one thing to succumb to Toronto’s tandem of Sebastian Giovinco and Michael Bradley, but this team has shown all season that no matter the opponent, they are fully capable of blowing just about any lead.

This time, two leads were squandered en route to adding to their club record for defeats in a season. An early goal from Gilberto should have set the tone against a Toronto side that has struggled with their own defensive problems all season, but it didn’t. Gilberto scored yet again early in the second half but the Fire wasted no time in giving that up. Seven minutes after the Brazilian’s second goal against his old team, Bradley waltzed through a retreating Fire defense to level the match.

“It usually isn’t good to score early in the first half or the second half and we did both,” said Brian Bliss after the match. “It usually gives the opponent so much more time to regroup and drive the game a little bit more but you have to take the goals when they come whether it is early or late in the half. But we have to find a better way to sustain the pressure and that to me is being able to keep the ball and moving it better and that is side to side and getting the opponents to chase the ball a little more. We didn’t do that.”

It was just a matter of time before the third goal and eventual game winner for Toronto. We knew it was coming.

In 2015, it always does.

Player ratings

GK Jon Busch (5) – Toronto outshot the Fire 16-8 but the shots on target were close (6-5). Busch was credited with 3 saves. Playing goalkeeper in Chicago hasn’t been easy this season.

D Lovel Palmer (5) – Didn’t help much in the attack but also wasn’t the biggest culprit defensively. That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement but there were bigger issues in back.

D Jeff Larentowicz (4.5) – Chasing Giovinco isn’t an enviable task for MLS defenders but Larentowicz did have a few isolated instances of lunges that resulted in stops. In full retreat on Bradley’s goal. Also standing around for the third goal along with several other teammates in what appeared to be failed zonal marking in defending a corner kick.

D Daneil Cyrus (4.5) – Losing battles to Giovinco is a pretty common occurrence. No one close him down in the 29th when his cross/shot from an unlikely angle found its way into the net. Also in backpedal mode on Bradley’s goal.

D Patrick Doody (5.5) – Decent game from the rookie. Started a handful of combination plays that led to chances that weren’t converted by attackers.

M Patrick Nyarko (6) – Assisted on both Fire goals. Recognition in starting the attack to find space on both occasions was very good. Also tried to help on defense.

M Matt Polster (4.5) – Was the third member of the trio in full retreat that allowed Bradley to work his way to the front of the net unchallenged. As well as Polster has done in his rookie season, the backline is all too often exposed for easy looks because the pressure from the midfield of the field isn’t enough. Toronto had a 67-33 advantage in possession in the first half. The final number was 57-43.

M Michael Stephens (5) – Decent in moving things forward in a positive fashion. Perhaps the Polster/Stephens combo is better suited for a 4-2-3-1.

M David Accam (5) – A few chances created although he didn’t figure into any scoring. Tendency to try to force play and take on too many defenders may indicate lack of confidence in teammates.

F Mike Magee (5) – A quick pass to Gilberto led to the second Fire goal. That quick glimpse of the old Magee is all too fleeting. There wasn’t much other than that.

F Gilberto (6.5) – Two very good finishes provided both Fire goals. Had other chances to add a third that weren’t converted. A bad pass in the 19th spoiled a 3v1 opportunity. His header in the 55th could have resulted in a hat trick but the ball was cleared off the line by TFC.

M Joevin Jones (5) – Replaced Nyarko in the 55th. Didn’t factor into much. His substitutions over the last two games would indicate that the current coaching staff sees him as a midfielder and not a left back. He’s not been effective there for several months.

M Razvan Cocis (5) – Came on for Polster in the 67th. Fire subs did not make an impact.

F Jason Johnson (5) – Subbed in for Magee in the 74th.

Filed under: 2015 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • All too familiar. The Fire have the lead or are even throughout the match, until they give up the final goal that costs them the game. Seems like a lot of those 18 losses this year have come in games where the opponent only lead at the end of the match.

  • In reply to Arklow:

    In light of this season, that lost lead in NYC doesn't sting so bad anymore.

    What is the record for most regular season losses by an MLS team?

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    I saw somewhere that the records is 25 losses and that 16 times an MLS team has lost 20 or more in a season.

  • In reply to Arklow:

    You saw that on my Twitter feed. ;)

  • Guys. Honestly how in the earth did a chicago professional sports team get so bad? It's so sad to see the competition in the league for the playoff spots and the Fire not even in the conservation.

  • In reply to Brokerman:

    If they consistently lose only at the end of the game it seems like the team isn't so bad. They just lack leadership. Oh! And a back line.

  • In reply to Brokerman:

    Oh, I thought you meant the Bears.

  • I watched parts of the national MLS games this weekend. The Fire are so far behind from a talent perspective. I now think this is going to take a complete overhaul on the field to right the ship. Bradley's goal is indicative of the entire season for the Fire. All involved retreated until he was 10 ft from goal. No one stood him up. No one even tried to stand him up. They would have retreated to the parking lot if they could. Watching the other MLS teams on Sunday just frustrated me even more because they truly are far better teams.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    That is the key sir.. lack of physical play and putting a shoulder in on man marking. Just brutal. I saw Polster stand up to Drogba the other night, but Big Old Red gets thrown down like a rag doll. That should not happen to a CB, ever.

  • I tend to like quite a few players on the current roster, but obv its not working. Not sure if it is confidence, skill, game plan, or execution that is the problem.

    Doody seems to add something going forward when given the chance, seems to see the right passes and has good touch on his over the top passes. Think he should start at LB the rest of the season. Can only get better.

    That said, the players that I do not want to lose going into next year are Shipp, Nyarko, Gilberto, Accam, Polster, and Doody. I think they can all produce in the league.

    Also I agree with almost everyone else who watches Fire games, blow up the back line and start over, except for maybe Doody.

  • In reply to KChance:

    I don't know how much can be attributed to Doody's loan stint in St. Louis, but it's probably safe to say that it didn't hurt for him to be there and keep his pencil sharp.

    As far as the roster goes, the 2016 offseason could get interesting. Can't come soon enough.

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