We're all set and ready to go on a slightly chilly night here in Bridgeview. The clubs are on the pitch warming up and the CJ Brown Ring of Fire banner is being covered by white sheeting - we're ready for an exciting night.
Chicago Fire (3-2-2 11 pts) v. Real Salt Lake (7-3-1 22 pts) at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois.
May 9, 2012 7:30 PM CT
Referee: Jair Marrufo
Keys to the Match:
The Fire need to jump out early against the RSL backup keeper. Starter Nick Rimando couldn't make the trip to Chicago due to a knock so the Fire are catching a break in net - they need to capitalize on it.
Marco Pappa needs to continue his run of good form and who better to do it against than the team he scored a hat trick on last season?
If the Fire come out in the 4-5-1 formation that they featured on Friday at Chivas we should be in store for a fun, fast paced match.
Sean Johnson needs to build off of his solid performance at the weekend.
Regardless of the result, tonight will go down as a very special night in both Fire and Toyota Park history. Fire original and legend, CJ Brown will be inducted into the Ring of Fire at Toyota Park during a special halftime ceremony. If you can remember back to last seasons matchup with RSL, CJ was lauded with cheers of "Ring of Fire" from Section 8 - a show of respect for the former Fire great and current RSL assistant coach.no comments
I'm going to start by saying "Well done" to ESPN. They had the stones to air an EPL match on their flagship station during their prime afternoon programing slots. And, of course, they're being hammered for it by some of the idiot sports fans that live in this country.
Someone sent me a link to this article and I almost didn't want to read it because I knew where it was going. Haven't I had enough anger and rage over the past few days? I guess not. So, of course, I decided to click the link and read the article - or more accurately the tweets listed in the article. This is 2012 people, and there are still people out there who are ignorant enough to say that soccer doesn't belong on American TV, or that a Spanish commercial shouldn't be on air because in the US we speak "American". Really, guys, really?no comments
The Fire are 5 2/3 games into the season with a key stretch of games coming up. The next few games should give us a better picture of how far the team has come this season but enough about the future, how has the team done up to this point?no comments
Okay, the debate seems to have calmed down over the post from last night, so now I can get to the full match recap. I'm two days late, but as most of you saw, I was a little busy warding off vicious Seattle supporters last night.
You've seen the score, you've seen the fight, you've heard about all that, let's get into the match itself.
Coming off a 3-2 victory in Toronto, I was hopeful that the offense might have finally found their stride - but I was cautiously optimistic since the outburst came against the worst team in the league. As it turns out, I was right to be only cautiously optimistic.no comments
My full match wrap-up should be available some time this evening, but before I write that, I need to write a short post about the post match fight that took place between the Seattle Sounders and Chicago Fire on Saturday night. What occurred was a disgrace to the game, and was only one in a series of events that made the match hard to watch. Of course there was bad officiating, bad play, and let's not forget Eddie Johnson's classless swearing at Fire supporters when there were children nearby, but the fight takes the cake.
Johnson will probably not see any punishment for his actions because the audio only file that has been floating around Twitter makes it very difficult to prove it was him, but he knows it was him and he needs to go to sleep at night knowing what a classless act that was.
The fight, however, BETTER be investigated by the league office - and we have the photos to prove what happened. After a challenge by Fire defender, Jalil Anibaba at the end of the match, there was some pushing and shoving and some words were exchanged between Anibaba and the Sounders Gonzalez. In an instant both benches had cleared, and the "beautiful game" was relegated to an NHL style fight. Don't get me wrong, I love a good NHL fight, but it has no place in soccer.no comments
First off, I was about 12 minutes late getting into the press box, so forgive me for not having an in depth halftime analysis. But, let me say this...I'm stumped by what I've seen.
Early on in the half, Nyarko and Oduro were continually making dangerous runs towards the box only to be turned away by the Seattle defense, and the Chicago D looked up to the task against a tough Seattle attack.
And then, late in the first half, Estrada takes a shot that is deflected by Arne Friedrich and lollygagged passed Sean Johnson. It was one of the more bizarre own goals I've seen. But then, aren't they all?
The attack has stalled, and now the Fire look lost when they get the ball to the edge of the 18. They're passing it beautifully up until the box, and then are giving the ball right back to Seattle. They need to sharpen up, and quick.
The final quick point I've got is to keep an eye on the officiating, it's been pretty one way so far, let's hope it evens out.
*Correction: The goal was changed from an OG and credited to Seattle's David Estrada.
*Correction: The goal was changed back to an OG after the final whistle.
Fresh off the disappointment of last night's match that was called early, I woke up this morning moving a little slower than normal. Then something amazing happened...I read a tweet that changed my day.no comments
Now back safely in the confines of my own home, I can write a full length post about tonight's match at Toyota Park. The first thing I have to say, is it's a damn shame that this game had to be called due to weather. There were a lot different factors that played into the decision and I'll touch on that later, but it's a shame - I truly believe the Fire would have pulled off the win had this game gone the full 90. That being said, it didn't and they didn't, and they'll have to settle for another disappointing draw and one point.
First off, congratulations to Patrick Nyarko on his 100th game as a member of the Fire first team tonight. Unfortunately he celebrated the occasion with a yellow card, but congrats to him, and let's hope for 100 more.no comments
Well it certainly wasn't the most regular first half ever, but it's finally come to an end. After a 70 minute delay due to severe weather in the area around Toyota Park, the Dynamo and Fire got back to work picking up a scoreless match in the 13th minute.
The game quickly picked up pace as Houston took a 1-0 lead in the 24' thanks to a Brian Ching pass put away by Will Bruin. The Fire didn't hesitate to strike back and bring the match back level as a Pavel Pardo free kick in the 27' bounced off of Logan Pause's back and the underside of the crossbar before sneaking passed Tally Hall for a Fire goal.
The rest of the half saw some opportunities for both sides, but the two teams headed to the dressing room tied at 1.
First half thoughts:
My first thought is that Jalil Anibaba and Arne Friederich don't look comfortable together at the back, they need more time to get a better feel for playing together. It hasn't been terrible, but needs work.
Marco Pappa and Sebastian Grazzini have really stepped up their respective games after a brutal showing at Colorado two weeks ago.
Obviously this is a very abbreviated list of thoughts and recap, more to come in the full post after the final whistle.
*Note since the game has reached halftime, it can be considered an official game if more inclement weather moves into the area.