Dynamo 3 Fire 0 - recap and ratings

The Fire turned in another disappointing effort against a playoff contending team. They have finished the season in third place in the Eastern Conference (and overall in MLS) but dropped a 3-0 result to the Houston Dynamo to close the regular season. Houston scored early via a badly defended throw-in and added two more in the second half to put the match out of reach. A victory would have meant second place and additional rest but the Fire couldn’t generate enough against a Houston side that is very difficult to play at home.

In finishing the season with 55 points (16-11-7), the Fire have their best finish since the 2012 season. That team, coached by Frank Klopas with considerably less starpower and money to work with, finished with 57 points (17-11-6).

The third place finish means that they will host the New York Red Bulls at Toyota Park on Wednesday night in a one-game knockout round.

The Fire hope to have Bastian Schweinsteiger back for that match but there should be some concern surrounding the team’s inability to beat good competition at home or away, when they have needed results this season. Richard Sanchez didn’t distinguish himself as a clearly better choice than Matt Lampson in this game, so the concern about the goalkeeper spot heading into a one-game elimination scenario hasn’t been solved.

Player ratings

GK Richard Sanchez (5) – Didn’t look as sharp or as sure of himself as he did in his first appearance against San Jose. Played for a near-post ball on the first goal and lost any chance of getting to the far post, where the ball eventually found its way into the net. Got a hand on the ball on the second goal but it dribbled into the net behind him. The touch may have directed into the net. The third goal was a result of Houston simply beating defenders but Sanchez did come up with two decent saves to keep the score from being 4 or 5 nil.

D Brandon Vincent (5.5) – Crosses didn’t land but did manage to get several off into the area. Could have done better with a shot attempt in the 8th minute after getting by De LaGarza on the play in which he was injured.

D Johan Kappelhof (5) – One of two defenders that lost the jump to Leonardo on the first goal. Some good anticipatory moments in stepping up and cutting off passes but also trailed on the second goal.

D Jonathan Campbell (5.5) – Six recoveries, two clearances, and three interceptions. Didn’t hurt the team in a return to the starting line-up.

D Matt Polster (5) – Lost the jump on a throw-in and it resulted in Leonardo scoring the Dynamo’s first goal. Was not particularly effective getting forward and helping in the attack but the plan seemed to include him being more cautious.

M Dax McCarty (5.5) – The Fire maintained large possession advantages throughout the night but that was more due to the Dynamo’s tactics and style of play than to any real dominance by Chicago. Completed a good deal of his passes, with the Fire at an 84% clip but there wasn’t much real danger generated out of midfield.

M Djordje Mihailovic (5) – A quiet night for the rookie after a few consecutive good outings.

M Arturo Alvarez (5.5) – Perhaps the Fire’s most effective passer on the day with a couple of long cross-field passes that led to some potential danger. Managed one of the Fire’s four shots on target in the 62nd.

M Luis Solignac (5) – Combination with Nikolic set up a chance in the 89th. Sporadically involved in some half-chance play from the Fire but not enough to threaten seriously.

M David Accam (5.5) – Looked a bit more like himself at times, including several good runs which were negated by dribbling into multiple defenders and losing chances to shoot or pass. Forced Deric into a decent stop in the 32nd.

F Nemanja Nikolic (5.5) – Hit the post in the 86th and missed just wide from close range a few minutes later. Was active with five total shot attempts.

D Joao Meira (4.5) – Replaced Polster in the 66th. Promptly beaten by Quioto on a run through the penalty area that resulted in the second goal. Lunged and missed the ball in the 75th leading to the second score. Shambolic defendingĀ up the middle in the 87th almost led to another.

M Juninho (5.5) – Got back into a game in the 71st for Accam and helped the Fire defend while they were down 3-0.

M Brandt Bronico (5.5) – Completed 16 of 17 passes after coming on in the 73rd for McCarty. Good tackle in the 82nd to halt a counter attack.

Filed under: 2017 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • Guillermo, who's your starting 11 Wednesday. tia

  • In reply to go fire:

    I'd go with

    Polster, Kappelhof, Campbell, Vincent
    McCarty, Schweinsteiger
    Solignac, Mihailovic, Accam

  • I've been reading this blog for years, from the very beginning. In fact I remember when Guillermo was just posting comments like I am now. I appreciate all the hard work put into it over the years, when it was essentially the only, or at least the best, source of Fire news. But now that it's essentially just a preview/ratings blog, why not take all your content to the Athletic? The blog in it's current form is just not dynamic enough to keep me coming back.

    Not trying to be negative, just trying to suggest doing one site really well rather than leaving this one behind.

    Or perhaps find another writer to take this one over and move on to the Athletic for all of your articles?

    I hate to see FC become what's it's become, but I'm still enjoying your work at the Athletic.

    Thx for all your tireless work and efforts G!

  • In reply to Tweaky:

    G, I have the same question as Tweaky. I love your work on The Athletic, but I think FC kinda gets the short shrift when you have two choices to post your writing. I subscribed right away for The Athletic and like your work very much. I am just afraid FC will become a zombie site unless someone is dedicated to it like you have been for oh so many years. Also, who starts Wednesday?

  • In reply to Krasov:

    Thanks Krasov.

  • In reply to Tweaky:

    Thanks for the comments and the input, Tweaky. I've got some plans for this blog that I'm trying to iron out. My intentions were to keep the previews and ratings here and free to anyone who wants to read them. The Athletic has made a commitment to the content and that's very important for me being able to continue putting the work into it.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Thumbs up. Good luck with everything and thanks again for all the Fire info/news/coverage you've provided over the years!

  • In reply to Tweaky:

    Have to agree. My reading has fallen off. Used to check every day for posts. I get that The Athletic pays writers which is a good thing, but I'm not sure I'm going to subscribe though after reading the NYT article about their strategy. I'd hate to see journalists find themselves shut out because another site achieved the sports writing monopoly that is their goal.

    I feel like there is still a need in this country - more urgently now than ever - for a forum like a daily newspaper where people who are interested in all aspects of civic life - current events, culture, politics, sports, obituaries, business, etc - meet and discuss. Otherwise we all retreat into our echo chambers and end up with... well, look at what Corker, Flake and McCain said this week.

    And I totally understand that this comment section is its own echo chamber. And I don't fault anyone for trying to do what it takes to follow their passions. I'm just wish there were a way to make sure we don't lose all of our public meeting places and forums.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    There is definitely a place for the newspaper business and I would hope that continues, but the only reason that The Athletic has been able to hire so many good writers from across all sports is because many of them were made available without consistent paying jobs. Newspapers don't value their sports writers enough to pay them fairly any more and that has created the void which the Athletic is hoping to fill.
    With soccer in particular, you can look at what is being done with the Sun Times and Tribune. They don't have anyone covering the Fire beat full time anymore. The Trib has a free lance part-timer covering them from time to time because they're winning a bit now. They will resume minimal coverage this offseason. The Sun Times has chosen to essentially ignore them. The papers don't think they'll see a revenue return by providing soccer coverage, so they don't do it. The Athletic has decided that there is an audience for it and is willing to provide the coverage.
    I understand why some folks in the industry are upset about the comments in the NYT piece. It's not a good take and didn't come off well. That said, if quality content is being provided and the public finds that there is value in that content....then pay your writers. There's a reason why The Athletic has gotten to where they are so quickly.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    The owner of The Athletic was blunt in his comments about where sportswriters fit into the newspaper business, but he certainly wasn't wrong. With all of the writers being let go, The Athletic simply assimilated that talent to serve a willing market.

    Nothing wrong with honesty!

  • In all frankness, I'm one of the people who comes here for the ratings and previews. (I did not get a subscription the Athletic.) For the time I can dedicate to soccer these days, the content suffices, though I know it's the reader commentary that adds a little spice to the reading. FWIW, I can survive without it. If I really miss it, I'll go over to the paid content.

    I know that's not much feedback, but as one of the people primarily following FC, I figured it would be worth chiming in.

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    I go to both. The banter between readers and the writing and insights provided by G specially when he hints that there is more to come are what makes FC essential reading for me. FWIW, it took me 10 minutes to figure out "FWIW" meant.

  • In reply to Krasov:


  • In reply to BrianC.:

    I had to look that one up!

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    thanks Brian.....btw, the Athletic subscription is very affordable and that's where the breaking news and offseason transfer news will be ;)

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