The Chicago Fire have come away with 0 of their last 9 points, most recently going down 1-2 against a heavily depleted Los Angeles Galaxy side at home in Toyota Park. The questions that were being asked during the pre-season are quickly resurfacing after glimpses of hope in the opening games. The trends seem to be a porous defense as the Fire lead the league in goals allowed. Persistent questions about midfield creativity and playmaking also exist. Midfielder Gonzalo Segares and Coach Carlos de los Cobos give their thoughts after the match. Player ratings after the jump.
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Jon Conway (5) - Not tested too often but seemed to bring a bit more stability in the frame. Can't be blamed for either of the Galaxy goals. Tried to get involved on the late corners nearly connecting for a goal in stoppage time. Good box to box hustle despite his obvious lack of fitness for the task.
Jalil Anibaba (4.5) - Mistimed an early bouncing ball and has to foul the LA attacker. Had the clearance that found Puerari's one-on-one chance with the keeper. Gets up the right side on a Pappa counter attack, gets a good cross in that finds Pappa who controls it with his hand, missed opportunity. Good positioning on a high cross that came in just before the disallowed goal. Miscommunication in the back that lets two defenders in behind the line on the first goal. Looked like he should have stepped up to maintain the offside trap. Great chance for a header from a corner kick in the second half, couldn't control it.
Cory Gibbs (5) - Another quiet game from Gibbs. Could improve in the air but no big mistakes. Quick to anticipate LA attacks and break up momentum. Unfortunately picked up an injury with 20 minutes left to play leaving the side a man down as De Los Cobos had used all 3 substitutes.
Josip Mikulic (5) - His first game back from injury. Was missed tremendously in the last two matches but didn't really add the stability and defensive composure we were hoping for in his return. An improvement over Robinson but the Fire need more from Mikulic if they ever hope to get a shutout.
Gonzalo Segares (6.5) - Creates a good chance on the left but misses wide. Helped on the buildup by Puerari. Continues his box-to-box play getting forward to create chances, but seems to be struggling a little more defensively and may be partly responsible for the space allowed against Anibaba on the opposite side of the pitch. Brilliant bicycle kick to clear the ball off the goal line saving a clear goal. Save of the week?
Logan Pause (5) - Pause is still an underrated player, but he is failing to prove why in these last few outings. Giving the ball away way too much. Not really connecting with the attacking midfielders or forwards. More sloppy and late tackles than usual. Seemed to be a bit slower than the pace of the match.
Mike Videira (5) - Sloppy, not getting rid of the ball in time, losing possession. Committing unnecessary fouls on defense. Appropriately subbed out for Oduro with 30 left to play.
Marco Pappa (5) - Really disappointing performance from Pappa considering his number of touches. Instead of crossing or looking for help tries to do too much on his own and lets the defender between him and the ball. Looked a little slow and breathing heavy after his runs. Forces himself to take difficult shots with teammates open, shots well off the mark.
Davis Paul (4) - Paul was the invisible man on the pitch in his regular season debut. You can probably count his touches on one hand. Unable to do much off the ball either. Subbed out for Nyarko at the half.
Gaston Puerari (5.5) - Early one-on-one with the keeper that he should have finished. Seemed to be missing his usual ball control.
Diego Chaves (6) - Gets in a good position midway through the first half but tries to take it himself with too much cover, probably should have dumped it off. Always threatening on the counter, struggled to put the ball on target. Great ball control. Responsible for creating some potential looks early on but nothing to test the LA keeper.
Patrick Nyarko (6) - Same old song with Nyarko. Good speed and cuts to beat defenders, but just can't connect with teammates in the box. Too timid to run at the goal and take shots. His speed and ball control was a huge improvement over Paul though.
Dominic Oduro (7) - Immediately asking questions of the defense with a quick break, offsides. Almost finds Chaves for a goal, nearly creates an LA own goal in the attempt. Good run up the right, lays it off for Pappa who again can't finish. Scores the side's only goal with a composed run and toe-poke finish late in the game. His energy earned him a late yellow for trying to pull up an injured Leonardo, but nobody blamed him at the time. Unfortunate that Leonardo was injured enough to be out for the season.
Orr Barouch (4.5) - Barouch was a questionable sub and didn't really add anything to the attack. Few touches, never looked dangerous. DLC immediately put his head in his hands when Gibbs went down and Barouch had already come on the pitch.
Carlos De Los Cobos (4) - Made the necessary change of bringing Nyarko on for Paul at the half. Oduro for Videira proved to be a great change as well just after the hour mark. Might have jumped the gun bringing in Barouch as just seconds later Gibbs picked up a hamstring injury forcing the Fire to play a man down. Shortly after going a man down LA get their second goal. Perhaps limited by his resources, but DLC can't figure out how to solve the club's defensive problems or add the offensive spark to the midfield.
Man of the Match - Dominic Oduro
Flop of the Match - Davis Paul
Team urgency really picked up in the last 5 minutes. Would like to see more of that urgency earlier and throughout the game. Perhaps it was Oduro's work ethic and late goal that sparked the hope.
Conway is set to start again against Houston and Oduro will be looking to provide more of his attacking prowess against his old club. Gibbs could potentially be out due to injury.