Good efforts aren’t always rewarding and the Fire don’t have much to show tonight other than effort after a 2-1 loss in Seattle. The Sounders controlled the action and the possesion for much of the first half as the Fire looked shaky defensively without Josip Mikukic in the middle. A failure to close down O’Brian White inside the penalty area in the 7th minute resulted in Seattle’s first score.
The second half was exactly the opposite as the Fire controlled possesion and easily could have equalized on three occasions if not for the stellar play of Sounder’s keeper Kasey Keller. A diving reflexive save to his left on a Diego Chaves shot in the 58th minute, a fantastic leg save on a charging Gaston Puerari in the 61st minute, and another save to his left against Marco Pappa in the 66th rescued the points for the home side.
Despite not coming away with points the Fire created opportunities and played well enough to feel like they deserved a better fate. Good efforts aren’t always rewarding but the team’s play early this season bodes well for the future.
One thing that doesn’t look good is the status of Patrick Nyarko for Thursday night’s match in Portland. Nyarko took a nasty stomp tackle on the right ankle in the 90th minute from Servando Carrasco which forced him out of the match.
GK Sean Johnson (5) – Continues to look shaky on high crosses but his biggest error luckily did not cost him. Charged a ball late and too far out in the 23rd minute which almost resulted in an empty net goal by Erik Friberg (who skied the chance over the net). Hard to really blame him on the two goals but he could have done better to cut down the shooting space on Zakuani’s score. Booted a goal kick out of bounds in the 84th which wasted a minute of valuable time.
D Jalil Anibaba (4) – May have played a little better than the rating but he was involved in both Seattle goals. Was beaten by Zakuani for the second score and was caught allowing too much space in the area (along with Robinson) on the first goal. Did provide two excellent long diagonal balls to Pappa that could have led to chances. Tough day for the rookie.
D Dasan Robinson (5) – Played a fair game overall but his failure to mark O’Brian White in the 7th minute gave Seattle the lead. Did bounce back after the goal to break up rushes from White and Zakuani.
D Cory Gibbs (5) – Not a bad outing but White, Rosales, Zakuani, and Friberg enjoyed far too much possesion in the first 45 minutes.
D Gonzalo Segares (6) – A better game from Segares than the last one against KC. Provided a cross in the 44th minute that could have been converted but Puerari’s header attempt sailed high. Friberg was ineffective in the second half.
M Logan Pause (5) – Alonso and Rosales controlled the midfield area in the first half before the Fire turned the tables in the second. Decent effort from Pause.
M Mike Videira (5) – See above. Seattle controlled possesion for big stretches early. Videira and Pause did not impose themselves into the match as they had in the previous two games.
M Marco Pappa (5) – Didn’t figure into the score and was fair for most of the match. Managed to creatively get a shot on target in the 66th minute which Keller denied. Free kicks in potentially dangerous areas were blocked.
M Patrick Nyarko (6) – Assisted on a cross to Chaves for the Fire’s score. Continually hacked and fouled for most of the match before getting stomped by an ugly tackle in the 90th minute. Still shows some indecision at times.
F Gaston Puerari (6) – Set up the goal with a good lead ball to Nyarko. Stopped on another break away opportunity by Keller but continues to be dangerous whenever he touches the ball. Drew the foul at the top of the box which led to the Chaves chance in the 58th.
F Diego Chaves (7) – Scored the Fire’s goal, could easily have had a second on a well struck left footed shot that Keller robbed, and set up Puerari on the break away chance with a fantastic through ball. Quality from Chaves.
F Dominic Oduro (6) – Came on in the 83rd for Segares and managed to create two chances in the 87th minute with a cross and a foul suffered.
F Orr Barouch (NR) – Came into the match for Nyarko in stoppage time. Although it took nearly all of the three minutes of extra time to get Nyarko off the field, referee Hilario Grajeda only allowed about a minute of pay after Nyarko was replaced.
C Carlos De Los Cobos (5) – The team was in a position to gain points on the road and easily could have if not for Keller’s effort. Substitutions could be questioned while the Fire was chasing the equalizer but the team was playing well enough to keep the starting eleven on the pitch. A move that would have made sense late would have been Husidic for Videira but Baggio was not on the bench for this match. Perhaps a move for free kick specialist Daniel Paladini would have been a good one as well.
The Fire travel to Portland for the Timbers first MLS home game on Thursday night. It’s important to come away with points against an expansion side in order to come away with any consolation on this two game northwestern trip.