David Accam’s goal in the second minute made it seem like the Fire were going to exhibit a renewed winning ‘mentality’ on the road after Veljko Paunovic’s impassioned words earlier in the week. That hope lasted all of about 9 minutes when the Union tied the game and went on to score four unanswered goals en route to handing the Fire a 32nd consecutive road match without a victory.
Paunovic opted for a 3-5-2 alignment that the Union quickly picked apart by catching the wingbacks too far upfield, and allowed too much space in front of the defenders. Chicago was able to put together some decent offensive numbers and made it close thanks to sloppy set piece defending late in the game but that should be little solace for a team in desperate need of three points anywhere. As the season continues to slip away, the usually reliable defense was hammered like they haven’t been since the opening day 4-3 loss to New York City FC at home. That game featured a 3-5-2 formation that worked in the second half. That opening game was also the last time this season that the Fire has scored more than one goal in a match.
There were some decent numbers in this one. The Fire actually won the possession battle 51-49, took 14 shots and put 5 on frame, while completing 78% of their passes but it seems like nothing is quite ever enough for this side.
The Fire’s next road match on July 9 in Toronto will give them one last chance to win a game away from Toyota Park before the TWO year anniversary of the last road win comes up on July 12. That game should also mark the debut of Michael de Leeuw.
GK Sean Johnson (5) – It’s hard to blame Johnson for any of the goals, especially given the lax defending and clear looks the Union were allowed. The first bounded off the post and into the net off of Campbell and Johnson actually saved the initial attempt on the second before the ball hit the post again and found its way to a free Roland Alberg. He saved the first shot on again in the third goal but the Fire couldn’t clear it. Had four saves and a couple were of some quality but the four goals allowed aren’t pretty.
D Eric Gehrig (4) – Started on the left side of the three man back line and looked out of place for most of the night.
D Jonathan Campbell (4) – Another deflection into his own net and some uncharacteristic mistakes in the back, including a 56th minute drag down of Chris Pontius leading to a penalty kick.
D Johan Kappelhof (5) – The best of the Fire defenders but even he had some ups and downs. Did momentarily prevent the third goal by clearing it from the line but Alberg’s follow up couldn’t be stopped.
M Michael Harrington (4) – Positioning and failure of the wings to help defend was a big problem in the first half.
M Khaly Thiam (4.5) – Scored his first goal in a Fire kit but space and organization in front of the backline was painfully evident.
M Razvan Cocis (5) – Scored on header after a quick corner caught the Union napping. Always a good effort even if the final quality isn’t quite there.
M Michael Stephens (4.5) – The midfield held some possession but the Union seemed to be able to do whatever they pleased offensively when needed in the first half. Did help Johnson clear a ball from the line in the second half.
M Brandon Vincent (4) – See Harrington above. Passing and shot taking still questionable.
F David Accam (5.5) – Came out hard to give the Fire the lead but didn’t have many chances in the second half. Needs to show more than just the ability to outrun people.
F Kennedy Igboananike (4.5) – Not many touches and little dangerous involvement after the first half.
M Rodrigo Ramos (5.5) – Replaced Harrington after the half. Assisted on Cocis’ goal.
M John Goossens (5.5) – Came on for Gehrig in the 60th. Not quite fit yet but did provide the service from a corner on Thiam’s goal.
M Alex Morrell (5) – Subbed in for Stephens in the 84th.