Union 4 Fire 3 - recap and ratings

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.

Player ratings

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.



Filed under: 2016 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • (Accam) "Needs to show more than just the ability to outrun people."

    100% agree with this. Drives me nuts.

  • In reply to jimmyblackcloud:

    I'm getting tired of him always whining about fouls that either called or not called.

  • I'd have rated Campbell lower, just because he earned a yellow to add injury to insult.

  • didn't even realize they were playing until I noticed my phone was pinging me with updates. Sounds like an ugly game. But hey, we scored 4 (with OG).

  • Hard to tease out whether our offensive flurry in the 2nd half came because of Goosens' entry, or if he just benefitted from added urgency. But he was involved and seemed to create problems for the Union.

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    I disagree with your comments about Sean Johnson.On the first goal he mis-hit the ball while being beaten near post--it wasn't out of his reach. On the 2nd goal, he got to the deflected shot but failed to push it wide of the post. Bad hands. Maybe the fumble in Olympic Qualifying wasnt a fluke. You need your keeper to make those saves. The penalty by Campbell was ridiculous--it was so blatant and unnecessary-Gehrig was right there to take the ball.

  • In reply to Alex Michalakos:

    Watch them again. On the first goal Alberg beats Harrington and gets a clear look. Johnson makes a good diving save and the ball hits the post and deflects in off of Campbell. he saves the second on a short hop and Fire defenders fail to react and clear the rebound. When you look at the angle from behind the goal it's pretty obvious he's not pushing that wide as suggested. Take a look.....


  • So Galatasaray may be looking to sell players since they are getting banned from European competition. I can think of 2 names I'd like to see wear a Fire kit and they are 2 players that can help us actually win a few games, Lukas Podolski and Wesley Sneijder. Just sayin.


  • In reply to penapirata:

    Those 2 would be nice, but something tells me they wont fit into NR's "process" ...aka too expensive

  • In reply to penapirata:

    Either one would be phenomenal. It appears Sneijder already has EPL interest and Podolski has been somehow linked to TFC.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    Are either of those two players athletic enough for this team? Im not sure they would fit into this system.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Podolski is a blue collar player that works hard, plays tough, and can score more goals than Gilberto has. Sneijder could be a great #10 that this team hasn't had since Blanco(no offense to Grazzini). I Think those are 2 players that a team can build around and either of those players makes this current team miles better than what it is currently.

    You don't think they would fit in?

  • I would be curious to know what the league thinks of the Fire this season. Are they really happy with the situation? GR, do you ever have access to league staff for an interview? That would be an interesting post. What about getting Lalas or Twellman to opine after or before one of the next national broadcasts? Maybe with their national exposure the league would put pressure on AH.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    I've asked Garber this question directly and gotten a non-answer answer.
    We've had Lalas and Twellman on the podcast before, maybe we can get them on again when we resume recording. That said, I doubt what either one is willing to say would put enough pressure on the league to take action against an owner.
    The league knows that they need to right the ship here.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    "The league knows that they need to right the ship here."

    Can we convince Michael Milken to come out of retirement and strucure a hostile leveraged buyout of the team? If there was a crowdfunding initiative involved, I'd add my own 2 cents to the venture.

    On a different note, I'm starting to watch how Pauno's patience is holding up these days.

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    They know they need to do something, do they have the balls to do it...

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Of course he's not going to give a real answer. The best thing you and any member of the press can

    The problem is much more than a player or players or coach. It's the culture created by Hauptman and he doesn't seem to be willing to change or leave. I won't spend a single penny on this team until he either has a come to Jesus moment or leaves.

  • Weekend picks

    Seattle over NYCFC
    Philadelphia over Vancouver
    DC and NE draw
    Montreal over SKC
    NYR over Columbus
    Orlando and TFC draw
    FC Dallas over RSL
    San Jose and LA draw
    Portland over Houstion

  • Guys From time to time in my business a customer calls asking for sports tickets. Last week a customer called for two soccer tickets to see Chivas against I believe Atlas. Rather than pay a huge handling fee to purchase the tickets thru stub hub I drove to Toyota Park to buy the tickets at the ticket booth.
    While I was finishing up the transaction a large white Bus showed up with a few players and Pauno on it. The players quickly left and Pauno remained standing there all by himself just looking at the stadium. He must have been there for over 5 minutes I almost felt like walking over and asking if anything is wrong. He did take notice of me looking at him waved and slowly walked to the car. If someone asked me I would have said that this was a very sad man. The terrible season appears to have really gotten to him.
    One has to wonder what in the earth was Hauptman doing when he named two relative rookies to head jobs in a very competitive environment. I really feel sorry for NR and Pauno their careers are taking a turn that neither guy wanted and they have very little control over their destiny.
    The MLS is very aware of the situation with the Fire and they can do very little. The guy Hauptman is considered an embarrassment but he paid his money and is not considered in violation of any of the league rules. The one friend that I have in a high place in the league said to me was he just does not have money like some of the other owners and always does things on the cheap. They are embarrassed but there is little they can do other than make suggestions.

  • In reply to Brokerman:

    Maybe the league needs to make him an offer he can't refuse. Basically, the league needs to threaten to modify it's rules where owners will have to fork over $millions on players unless he sells. Or some other crazy Garber shenanigans called rules by the G. I don't care whether the league plays by the rules if it means forcing him out.

  • In reply to Brokerman:

    It sounds like someone who got in over his head when he decided to buy a top-tier professional soccer team.

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    ...and a league that wasn't minding their interests when they let that sale pass.

  • Ridiculous give away by Joevin Jones leads to NYCFC's second goal....


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