Fire 1 Orlando City 1 - recap and ratings

After last week’s litany of break downs the Fire regrouped and looked a bit more like the side that finished preseason undefeated. Playing a man down for an hour forced a change in the 3-5-2 formation that struggled to start the game and forced a more compact and disciplined effort. The shift to a more defensive posture resulted in another lopsided possession total (65-35 to Orlando), but the Fire were able to dodge enough bullets and remain dangerous enough on the counter to take a well earned point out of their first road game of the season.

The game started ominously with Cyle Larin giving the home side an early lead in the fourth minute. The second year player found a small gap in the three man back line and executed a perfectly place shot into the upper corner of the goal. Matt Lampson, making his second consecutive start of the season ahead of Sean Johnson, had little chance to stop it.

The Fire’s main offensive weapon over the last two seasons, a long ball over the top to David Accam, proved to be successful again. His pure speed will continue keep defenders honest and tripping over themselves to catch him. That was the case again as Accam raced onto a long pass from John Goossens that originated from inside the Fire’s “18” and left Seb Hines scrambling to cover. The 14th minute finish leveled the game and was enough to earn the Fire their first point of 2016.

There were still areas of concern. Passing was less than spectacular again at 71% and the Fire caught a break by not having to face Orlando City with Kaka in the line-up but some of the reasons for optimism that manifested themselves in preseason were on display here. An overall team effort resulted in a point under difficult circumstances.

The Fire will equal the all-time MLS record for consecutive games without a win on the road (27) if they can’t defeat New York City FC on April 10 at  Yankee Stadium, but first they’ve got Columbus and Philadelphia at home with an off-week sandwiched in between.

Player ratings 

GK Matt Lampson (6.5) – A strong bounce back game after last week’s shaky start. Lampson justified Paunovic’s decision to stay with him in this match. There wasn’t much he could have done with Larin’s dart in the 4th minute but he did come up big on several other occasions. Quality saves on Molino in the 25th and Winter in the 56th kept the game level. Got a piece of Larin’s ball in the 79th to push it off the post. Confident off his line on several occasions.

D Johan Kappelhof (6) – Steady all night for the most part although Larin did have a chance or two late while matched up directly. Almost helped on a second goal in the 41st when his touch across the goal mouth just missed Igboananike. Did he get away with an arm-bar take down in second half stoppage time?

D Jonathan Campbell (6) – Rookie got a start in the middle of a three-man back line and played well enough while Orlando enjoyed the bulk of possession. Turned around a bit on Larin’s goal allowing just enough space for a shot. Otherwise good on the night.

D Joao Meira (6) – The back line stayed focused and kept its shape after the red card. Meira managed to clear several chances and blocked two shots from inside the area.

M Brandon Vincent (6) – Dropped to the back after starting on the wing in the 3-5-2 alignment that opened the match. Played team game well in defending after the red card.

M John Goossens (6) – His forty yard ball over the top in the 14th allowed Accam to run onto it and dust defenders on the way to his score. A classy chip pass to Kappelhof in the 69th led to the Kappelhof/Igboananike chance. Did well in helping defend when needed at the sacrifice of getting forward more often.

M Matt Polster (6) – Wore the armband and kept his composure, particularly after the Fire were down to ten men. There are still some missteps, such as the unnecessary yellow in 28th and a bad pass here and there, but did well to conduct a team defensive effort to preserve the point.

M Arturo Alvarez (5.5) – A shot in the 5th was just wide and a good run into the box in the 30th went unrewarded but there were also a handful of turnovers leading to Orlando chances.

M Michael Harrington (4.5) – The kung-fu tackle that led to the straight red card was downright ridiculous but he did contribute some offensively while he was on the pitch. A cross in the 9th minute was headed just high by Igboananike. Another cross in the 26th was headed off the post by Accam. His touch to clear the ball found Goossens in the 14th leading to the Fire score.

F Kennedy Igboananike (5.5) – Didn’t score but provided a good effort. Header in the 9th was tipped over the bar by Bendik for a corner kick. Another header in 17th missed. Get the sense he could have done more if not for playing a man down.

F David Accam (6.5) – Blew by Hines in the 14th to level the game and caused havoc throughout as the Fire played the counter continuously. Headed ball in the 26th almost gave the Fire a lead but hit the post. Just missed again in second half stoppage time.

M Razvan Cocis (5.5) – Entered the match in place of Goossens in the 72nd. A step slow to close down Ribeiro in the 78th as his shot glanced off the outside of the post from distance.

F Joey Calistri (5) – Replaced Igboananike in the 83rd and didn’t figure into much as defending for a counter to Accam seemed to be the plan for closing out the match.

M Rodrigo Ramos (6) – Subbed in for Alvarez in the 87th and provided some good moments. A sliding block of Shea’s cross attempt in the 89th and an excellent link up with Accam down the right side of the field in the 95th almost provided the second goal.

Filed under: 2016 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • I'd like to hear your take on the 'keeper situation, Guillermo. SJ is a no doubt starter in this league, and one of the better ones, in my opinion. Is there a rift? Do they really think Lampson is better? Are they shopping SJ? I can't imagine SJ will be happy sitting on the bench this year, and with good reason.

  • In reply to Tweaky:

    Sean Johnson is still their best 'keeper imo. There isn't any rift that I've heard of and they don't appear to be shopping Johnson. Some have speculated that Johnson has asked to move, therefore the bench role....this is not the case. That may change if he continues to ride the bench, but as of right now they just seem to like what Lampson brings.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    That's a little disconcerting, to be honest. Oh well, will be an interesting story line to follow.

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    I'm going to support Lampson because he's out there, but I'm really bummed SJ is not playing. I'm willing to bet SJ will be starting next Atlanta.

  • That was a good point considering we were down a man with 60 minutes left to play. That being said, we didnt do anything other than play a long ball over the top or lose the ball after 2 passes before the red card. The 3-5-2 looked awful for the first 30 minutes. There were HUGE gaps between Alverez and Polster and even bigger gaps between the midfield and 3 CBs. Larin was 1v1 at the top of the box for his goal. He had a ball played into space 25yrds out from goal. They hit the post 3 times I think, Lampson made a good save early on, and Larin could/should have had a PK at the end of the game. Another day we give up another 4 goals. We had two opportunities. I hope we dont become a terrible long ball team like we have been for the past forever.

    I want so badly to think that things are changing but its getting harder to see it. There were times during the first 30 minutes where Orlando was passing around our midfield like it was a 5v2 warm up. Nobody is making tackles and really showing that they have improved on the defensive side. I dont care if we dont score any goals. I just want us to not concede any goals for once. I just wish we were good at some part of the game.

  • GR, do you feel that this team is still one dimensional going forward in the attack?

  • In reply to penapirata:

    They are a bit one dimensional with Accam really providing most of the attack with his pace. Once/if Gilberto is healthy, they'll have another potent option but that seems to be difficult. They still need a "10" and a right mid.

  • So just before Pontius scored for Philly in C'bus, the Fire were in 5th place in the East - good for a playoff spot.

  • So, it's really frustrating to see players that were cast off thrive on other teams. Amerikwa's goal was pretty amazing, although he didn't do much here. Shipp seems to be going well, Magee, etc.
    Waving said that, the game on Friday wasn't that bad, except for Harrington who was atrocious before his red card. They could have lost the game, and I thought Lampson saved their bacon. Alvarez is better than any creating midfielder they have had in some time, but I still don't see how getting rid of Shipp makes the team better.

    In general, it looks like another long season.

  • Thoughts:

    -Lampson is a decent goalie, but he doesn't seem to display the agility that SJ does- he seems more like a brick wall.
    -I'm glad that the team is showing better form.
    -In the second half, with the level of effort they displayed, I forgot that there were only 10 players on the field.
    -There were a lot of tense moments on defense in the 2nd half, but they still held together.

    A win would feel really good right about now.

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    Against Columbus on Saturday? If TP gave any kind of real home field advantage, maybe. It would be nice to get back to 40% possession after giving 65% to Orlando City. More importantly, increasing passing accuracy over 71% would also be novel.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    Totally agree. That accuracy was awful.

    As far as the win goes, I wouldn't complain about one this Saturday. I mean, the way the results have been around the league the past two weeks, the improbable seems probable. Who knows? Maybe we'll be surprised.

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    In a world where Donald Trump and Leicester City are front runners, anything is possible.

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    You forgot to add Rolfe to that list. Couldn't agree more that players seem to immediately thrive as soon as they get out of Chicago. I do disagree about Amarikwa though. I think he did a lot while he was in Chicago and considering he made less then $100k he was literally the most bang for your buck. He was a constant threat. He was a bit of a ball hog but look so is Accam and I think everyone is about okay with that.

  • In reply to Carl Miller:

    Don't forget about Oduro. He's doing well in Montreal. How many ex-fire players do they have now? 4? 5?

  • In reply to edubs:

    Just checked the roster for 2016, and it seems that its just Shipp and Oduro, although I don't know where Dilly Duka ended up. I don't see him listed on another team, and I don't see him on Montreal's Roster.

    Last year you had Justin Mapp and Baky in Montreal with Oduro and Duka.

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