The excitement of Bastian Schweinsteiger’s goal scoring debut was tempered by an all too familiar sight at Toyota Park. The Fire squandered and early lead and failed to put away an opponent that they should have been able to beat at home. Over the last several seasons, they have blown countless opportunities at home while not being able to accumulate points against teams playing at considerably less than full strength.
Schweinsteiger showed his quality but the problems that existed before his arrival were still evident. There are still issues with finding a consistent link to Nemanja Nikolic, although it’s possible that concern can be overcome as the team works through familiarity and cohesion over time. The main issues defensively, however will only be solved with upgrades at right back and goalkeeper.
The Fire did manage to win the possession battle 60-40 while completing 84% of their passes, which is a good sign and a massive improvement over the last match. However improved Schweinsteiger makes them will be limited by issues that won’t go away without a few more upgrades.
GK Jorge Bava (4) – Appears to be moving in slow motion at times. Did collect two easy saves but did nothing to step up when needed. There is little doubt that Tabla’s slow moving bouncer from 23 yards out should have been stopped in the 90th minute. Distribution also continues to be less than good.
D Michael Harrington (4) – Once again failed to close down an attacker which resulted in Tabla’s goal. Defending by “5 yard cushion” has cost the Fire several goals already this season. Did provide some decent service and occasionally helped in combination play, but the Fire simply cannot afford to continue getting a lack of basic defending on the right side of the back line.
D Jonathan Campbell (4.5) – Misjudged a cross in the 61st and Mancosu beat him to the ball in the 61st for the first Montreal goal. Needs to be more aware of his positioning and judgement if he wants to work his way back onto the field.
D Joao Meira (5) – Adequate for most of the match with Montreal limited in good chances with Piatti missing. The Fire will eventually need an upgrade at left centerback to pair with Kappelhof but there are big issues in back than Meira.
D Brandon Vincent (5) – Good involved going forward with some success. Came over late to mark Duvall on the cross that led to the goal in the 61st.
M Dax McCarty (6) – Completed nearly 90% of his pass attempts as the Fire controlled the ball for a change. Found Solignac with a good ball in stoppage time to preserve a point at home.
M Juninho (5) – Credited with a secondary assist on the Fire’s first goal. Still seems to be working his way into finding a comfort zone on the field. The second yellow in the 71st was a soft call as Junino looked to move out of the way. His shot in the 67th was easily saved.
M Bastian Schweinsteiger (7) – Scored a goal in the 17th from a well taken header. Created several other opportunities for teammates. Found Solignac in the 80th with a fantastic pass out of his half leading to an expulsion for Cabrera. As good as the Fire could have hoped as a deep lying playmaker in this first game with the club….now let’s see if he can figure out how to get Nikolic involved.
M Arturo Alvarez (5) – Had some troubling finding the game and getting involved. Very little provided in dangerous areas.
M David Accam (6) – Very good ball in the 17th found Schweinsteiger for the goal. Not as effective from the 60th minute on. Went down in the box in the 95th. It was probably a good no-call.
F Nemanja Nikolic (5) – Needs service but he’s not making the best of the few chances he does get either.
M Michael de Leeuw (5.5) – Replaced Alvarez in the 66th. Touched a ball toward Bush in the 77th for a chance before leaving the game in the 77th with an arm/wrist injury, which was heavily taped after the game.
F Luis Solignac (6.5) – Came on for Nikolic in the 75th. Got the match to 10v10 by forcing Cabrera to grab him from behind but a better touch might have resulted in a goal. A fantastic finish in the 93rd salvaged the point at home.
M Daniel Johnson (6) – On for de Leeuw in the 79th and his activity and positioning seemed to open things up a bit for the Fire. Quality minutes for Johnson in this game.