In a game that mirrored the season, the Fire looked decent in the first 3rd with little to show for it, looked bad in the second 3rd, and got downright embarrassed in the last 3rd.
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The moment in the picture above precluded when the Fire basically lost this game. FC Dallas goalkeeper Dario Sala launched a free kick that bounced and bounced in pretty much the only two locations where a Fire defender would not have got the ball and it was right at Milton Rodriguez's feet. Rodriguez calmly finished and Sean Johnson had little chance of stopping what is basically a penalty kick on steroids when the ball has that much movement and the player has that much speed. It was a darn shame too because the Fire offense was looking good up to that point. The combination of Carr, Ljungberg, Nyarko and Ristic paid off again setting up many dangerous chances. If you go to the 1:10 mark on the highlight video, you will see a very dangerous chance that Ljungberg set up for Nyarko. One bounce of the ball over or under Sala's hand and Nyarko almost certainly puts the Fire up 1-0. Totally different game from there on.
When the Fire missed a couple of opportunities and then Rodriguez scored that first FC Dallas goal, everyone in white just looked defeated. It was as if every all momentum that was built up from Wednesday's victory over San Jose came crumbing down in an instant. They all thought to themselves "Oh yeah, I guess we are who we thought we were" and the Fire was out.
It got worse when Marvin Chavez opened the second half with a goal that deflected off Steve Kinney's foot and bounced over Sean Johnson's raised hand (an exact replica of Blaise Nfuko's stunner last week?). The nail was in the coffin when Jeff Cunningham converted a penalty kick that was awarded on what looked to be a good challenge by Dasan Robinson. One of those calls only legends get if you ask me, go to the 3:20 mark of this video and you tell me what you think. With that goal Jeff Cunningham tied Jaime Moreno's all-time MLS goalscoring record of 132.
Brian McBride almost added a goal of his own late in the game but he could not connect on a superb Calen Carr cross (check out the 4:50 mark to take a look). It's hard to put blame on Carlos de los Cobos but Peter Lowry got a start after not playing in the past 13 games? The substitution of Wilman Conde for Kwame Watson-Siriboe in the 59th minute was going to help the Fire score more goals? Another couple of bizarre moves although I will credit him with trusting the Carr-Ljungberg setup. Why not substitute Collins John for Kwame Watson-Siriboe or put in Collins John for Krzysztof Krol though? Krol did not look good last night and at 2-0, what did we have to lose? Why not switch to a 3-5-2 or a 3-4-3? You know what they say about the definition of insanity...
All more I have to say is October 8th is this Friday and we play a big time rival in Columbus. It is very special day for the club and this city. They better come all out next week. It's pretty much all we have left at this point.