26 September 2011
Posted in Chicago Fire
In a site that was eerily reminiscent to last weekends match against Chivas USA, the Chicago Fire once again took the lead before most people had found their seats. Patrick Nyarko raced forward in the fifth minute to catch up to a Logan Pause throughball, and Nyarko was taken down in the box by New England keeper Matt Reis. Sebastian Grazzini took the ensuing PK and buried it in the lower right corner putting the home side up early 1-0. A few minutes later, Dominic Oduro continued his assault on the Golden Boot with a goal that he may have missed just a few short weeks ago. Patrick Nyarko joined in the fun in the 30th minute, putting the Fire up 3-0. The score would remain at 3-0 for 60 minutes until a very quick and shocking brace from the Revs Ryan Guy put everyone on the edge of their seats for the remaining seconds. In the end the whistle blew and the Fire walked away with another 3 points, and a 3-2 victory.
It goes without saying that the Fire faithful were ecstatic to walk away with yet another 3 points, but the manner in which they've closed their last two games is a little unnerving. Twice in a row now, the Fire have taken a very early lead in the match, only to let the opposing side battle back and make it interesting in the final portion of the match. Last week they let Chivas equalize after a quick 2-0 start, only to escape another draw by an Oduro goal late. This week the Men in Red almost coughed up a 3 goal lead in stoppage time - what is going on?
Has this team pulled a complete 180? Before they went on this current streak this team looked like it didn't know how to get that go-ahead goal to push them over the top. These last two matches they've jumped out to very early leads, and now it looks like they don't know how to push the tempo and hang on to win matches late. I'm a little worried about the late match play over the last couple matches, especially considering the level of competition they've been facing.
Adding to my frustration over the late game breakdowns is the continued poor performances by Marco Pappa. It seems that the arrivals of Pavel Pardo and Grazzini have raised everyone's game except for Pappa's. I can't remember how many times I said out loud during the last two matches, "Stop trying to be a hero, Marco". He tries to do too much. He tries to take on multiple defenders and often times passes on the easy pass. (No pun intended) When he does pass, he looks lost. I can't remember how many of his passes are right to the opposing team. I'm not sure what has gotten into him, but he needs to right the ship quickly - especially if he's counting on a winter transfer to Europe.
Diego Chaves continues to mystify with his poor form. He had a great opportunity from the wing late in the second half, and he struck the ball into about the 7th row.
This team continues to confuse me. At times they look like they are in top form, and other times they look like the team we got used to seeing most of the season.
The victory kept the Fire at 6 points out of the 10th playoff spot, with only a handful of matches remaining. With every DC, New York, Portland, and Chivas victory, the Fire's playoff flame flickers a little more. They absolutely have to get three points every match from this point forward to have any chance. It's certainly doable - but it is a tough road. They continue their quest this Wednesday night at Real Salt Lake.