DC United 4 Fire 0 - recap and ratings

Nelson Rodriguez will officially start work as the Fire’s new General Manager tomorrow morning.

He got a good look at what’s in store for him in this match, as the Fire continue to flounder on the road no matter who is in charge of conducting training sessions and filling out the line-up. While there has been talk of detail work improving and a better atmosphere around the locker room this game displayed many of the same issues that plagued Yallop’s tenure. More problematic was the capitulation in the second half that shouldn’t go unnoticed by Rodriguez as he takes over the football side of the club.

Both sides played a relatively even first half but sloppy team defense once again was the culprit in the 39th minute and it was downhill from there. DC hadn’t been in good form of late (0-3-1 in last 4) but this team’s ability to make any attack look good at home is uncanny. Lack of pressure on the ball, overcommitting, and undisciplined positioning have been rampant all season and there apparently was no reason to change any of that with a new GM starting tomorrow.

The Fire have guaranteed themselves the infamy of the worst record in the league this season. They have also finished the campaign winless on the road, and as a result are two games away from matching the league’s all-time record for futility as the visiting team. They’re at 25 for those counting.

While there is some talent in the attack, there has been talk over the last few weeks regarding “tweaks” that have to be made in order to be competitive next season. A massive roster overhaul probably isn’t necessary but expecting that “tweaks” in the form of a player or two will correct glaring deficiencies that have manifested themselves as culture is foolish.

Of course, the manner in which MLS rosters are assembled leaves a thin line between the playoff contenders and those that go home at the end of October but the goal should be much higher than just qualification for postseason. A few tweaks may get the Fire into position to battle other low-bar combatants for a mere sniff at a playoff run but the ambition and the goal should be greater than that.

The Fire are in need of an entirely new back line, a central midfielder, and perhaps another playmaking forward if they are to challenge for anything more than just the 4-5-6 spot in the East. That’s potentially six new starters in 2016.

Those aren’t tweaks. Rodriguez will need to be bolder in his roster decisions than this club has been in the past.

He got a good look at it today.

Player ratings

GK John Busch (5.5) – The fact that Busch played well and they still allowed four goals tells you what you need to know about how shambolic this defense has been all season. It’s something Sean Johnson as been well aware of.

D Lovel Palmer (4.5) – Did well to stop a chance DeLeon in the 66th when the centerbacks were caught napping again. Provided a decent shot/cross that almost found Gilberto in the 24th. His deflection of Espindola’s shot in the 71st somehow ended up in the net.

D Daneil Cyrus (4) – Has shown that he’s tall and mobile. That’s about it. Pried himself out of position to challenge Rolfe in the 39th leaving the back exposed and Pontius to roam free. There is zero chemistry between him and Larentowicz.

D Jeff Larentowicz (4) – His 300th MLS appearance will be one to forget. Constantly scrambling to cover or get back into position while attackers wiz by him, but that’s been the case all year. The Fire’s lame zonal marking on set pieces is due in part to the halfbacks inability to clear balls defensively.

D Joevin Jones (4) – A free kick attempt in the in first half stoppage time bothered Hamid just to enough to create one of the Fire’s few scoring chances. Constantly out of position on the left side causing further issue for the back line.

M Patrick Nyarko (5) – The Fire did very little of consequence with the ball but Nyarko did create a few chances. A 90th minute volley almost got by Hamid.

M Razvan Cocis (4)  – His play on Rolfe while attempting to stop an attack in the 39th was an example of someone actually stepping up to pressure the ball but his soft clearance went right to Pontius for the first goal. Completely missed a mark on Boswell in the 67th for the second goal.

M Michael Stephens (4.5) – The Fire actually won the overall possession battle 53-47 but did nothing with it. There was little help from the central midfielders in moving the ball positively with any real meaning.

M David Accam (5) – DC defenders did a good job of keeping him in front of them and limiting his touches in dangerous spots. When frustrated he tends to try and challenge defenders 1v3 and 1v4. He didn’t have much room in this match.

F Harry Shipp (4.5) – While Shipp can provide excellent vision and touches from time to time he still tends to disappear for long stretches. He got another chance to play in the “10” role but there wasn’t much today. Did have one long shot attempt in the 18th.

F Gilberto (4.5) – Didn’t train for most of the week and it showed. Seemed a step or two off but did have a near miss from a corner in first half stoppage.

M Matt Polser (5)  – Subbed in for Cocis in the 68th. At 2-0 the game was over by then.

F Kennedy Igboananike (5) – Came on in the 78th for Accam. A cross through the penalty area in the 86th was decent but as is usually the case, the Fire had no far post run to take advantage of it.

Filed under: 2015 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • Guys amazing the team in the second half just basically gave up. Rarely do you see professional athletics completely detach from a game. i am starting to think that the chicago fire 2015 team might be equal to even the last year if Chivas. I just cannot push myself to re up my season tickets with Hauptman as the owner.

  • In reply to Brokerman:

    Well, Chivas finished with 33 points last year, so IF the Fire beat the Red Bulls they will equal Chivas. Otherwise, they will be even worse.

    The Fire has clinched the position for worst in the league for this year, however. Good work guys!

    I didn't watch the game, but Shipp's comments on the new coaching approach are laughable in the aftermath of their worst defeat of the season. The rot from this team stems from the very top.

    I cancelled my season tickets three years ago; watched maybe one game on TV this year. I'm not sure how much more I can boycott Hauptmann.

    But I'm not even going to watch a game until the team is in a playoff position after midseason or the team gets new ownership.

    Hauptmann has shown he is a loser. Either he gets out of the game or turns things around. Otherwise, I don't have time for lining this part of his investment portfolio with any money.

  • Guys. AMEN

  • I just realized that we hit the landmark of getting more losses this year than we got ties during our record-breaking run last year.

  • This season needs to be put out of its misery, and fast.

  • 1st pick in the draft. 1 pick in the allocation order. Extra allocation money? Not sure about this last one.

    I don't know...I'd rather this massive suckage than more years of mediocrity. I've at least been able to tune out for a few months and move on with my life with the faint hopes of improvement moving forward.

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    What a pathetic organization. Simply pathetic.

  • Fire also the first team officially eliminated from the playoffs this year.

  • Besides being the owner/de facto president, what qualifications does Andy have that says he is the right guy to hire people to run the soccer side of things? What background does Andy have to suggest that he knows how to pick the right soccer people? I just have a feeling that until Andy can fess up that he has no idea what he is doing on the soccer side of things nothing is going to change.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    Rodriguez is a good start, IMO.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    I agree with you GR, but I also have suspicions that he was not Hauptman's choice but rather the league's choice. My hope is that Rodriguez was brought in to shore up the team and get it in a position to be sold as he did with Chivas. He is a smart soccer first guy who can revamp the team. Besides improving the first team, the Fire need to be truly bold with developing first class training facilities that are large enough to have their youth and academy teams train there as well. They need to develop the best academy in the country both from a player perspective but also from a player education perspective i.e. a residential program with educational facilities similar to Europe. The only way to do that is to partner with a top notch school to entice players to attend with the strong possibility of playing in college followed by summer residency at the academy. All of MLS needs to do this, but the Fire should take the lead otherwise they will wallow at the bottom of the table for years to come.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    FWIW, I don't believe Rodriguez was a league imposed hire. There may have been a suggestion that he be given a look but this wasn't a Chivas USA type of placement.

    Their Academy is in pretty good shape but those are good ideas.

  • GR-

    Agree about the "whole new backline" aspect of "rebuilding." I think this is as obvious as a need as any I have ever seen ever. Jones, I think, should be given a chance still next year to regain his pre-gold cup form and otherwise has a place on the roster as a backup/midfielder. But other than him (and Doody because why cut him?), I'd expect (and hope) the rest would be shown the door in short order. Thankfully for the Fire, the best college kid this year (it is reported) is a defender, so yay draft. But there's a long way to go past that.

    My question, however, is where you see a central midfielder/"playmaking forward" being needed? Who doesn't make the cut out of the current midfield/forward starters (who am defining here as Polster, Accam, Nyarko, Stephens, Shipp and Gilberto). My guess is you are looking at Stephens (who is decent, but not exactly impressive) and Shipp as the odd men out. So would you be hoping to add a possession keeping cmid? Or do you think Polster shouldn't be starting and they need to look for a dmid too?

    Also, I think the argument could be made that the midfield/forwards are "good enough", based on the scoring output of the team since Gilberto joined.

  • In reply to TomazPP:

    A USL team would for some of the odd men out (mid's included) could be beneficial. Just saying.

    On a slightly different note, where would a USL team play? TP? Elsewhere? They would need at least 3-5k capacity, yeah?

    Lane Tech or one of the city colleges sure would be nice. =)

  • In reply to TomazPP:

    I think they need an upgrade in midfield next to Polster. Stephens and Cocis are decent squad players but there needs to be improvement there.

  • Guys. Seattle goes out and hires a very experienced president. Toronto goes out and also hired a very experienced president. The Fire goes out and hires a man with very very limited experience as a trader of athletics and expects a huge a change. This is close to naming Klopas a man that had never coached an outdoor soccer team the director and coach of Chicagos Major league team. I looked thru the work bio of Rodriguez and there is absolutely nothing that comes close to success on the field in his background. My guess is that everyone will initially support this poor guy but 1.5 years from now he will be in the same space as the Franks.

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