COMMERCE CITY, CO - APRIL 30: (L-R) Diego Chaves #99, Marco Pappa #16, Marco Pappa #16 of the Chicago Fire and Jamie Smith #20 and Drew Moor #3 of the Colorado Rapids pause after the final wistle as the team played to a 1-1 tie at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on April 30, 2011 in Commerce City, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Chicago Fire visited lovely yet chilly Colorado in hopes to salvage a literally pointless April. A point they gained, but nothing more as the game ended in a 1-1 draw. The lineup saw some big changes and a new captain as Logan Pause was out. Marco Pappa filled the role nicely and scored the side's only goal to boot. Despite the point on the road against the defending champions, things don't seem to be looking up for the Fire as they now sit 2 points ahead of (recently self-titled rivals) Sporting KC in danger of ending up last in the East. Coach Carlos de los Cobos job is clearly on the line after a dismal season last year and an even worse showing so far this year. Call it rebuilding, but this club needs something to look forward to.
Player Ratings after the break.
Starting XI (4-1-4-1; R to L): Conway; Anibaba, Mikulic, Cuesta, Segares; Paladini; Oduro, Bone, Puerari, Pappa; Chaves
11,789 in attendance
Weather: Partly cloudy, a chilly 46 degrees.
Jon Conway (6) - While his previous starts were fairly quiet, Conway was forced to make a couple saves tonight giving a glimpse of his talent. He still lets a lot of shots bounce off him and seems to struggle getting his arms around the ball to draw it in. His position is fair enough. Had a nice save getting up to a shot straight at the upper 90. Many are calling for the return of Sean Johnson, not because of Conway's inadequacies, but because Johnson is the future of the club and Conway will likely not be the reliable starter long term.
Jalil Anibaba (6) - Showed better patience defensively. Did well corralling Nyassi's cross off Robinson that could have been an own goal. Starting to learn when to get forward and others are adjusting to cover the space he leaves behind.
Josip Mikulic (6.5) - Mikulic continues to be the most consistent defender bringing stability to the back line. Unfortunately, he took an awkward fall on his shoulder and Rapids keeper Pickens came down on top of him. Despite 3 attempts to fight through the pain, he ultimately could not go on and made way for Dasan Robinson int he 37th minute.
Yamith Cuesta (6) - Cuesta was good in the air and continues to be a reliable replacement in the center with Gibbs and now possibly Mikulic out. Had a crucial clearance early in the game and was often the last man, getting the job done. Got burned on the Colorado goal, though he had little time to react after the turnover.
Gonzalo Segares (7) - Segares is really finding his form on the left side. He had a great tackle on Nyassi killing a dangerous attack. He made some great runs and some great sliding tackles. Had a good look at goal but the finishing left something to be desired.
Daniel Paladini (4.5) - Yellow card for an elbow. Extremely quiet in the first half, poor passing and little possession. Better in the second half but still not really helping control the midfield or sparking any attack. His chance on a set piece bounced straight off the wall. Turned over possession on the ball that eventually produced Colorado's equalizer.
Dominic Oduro (7) - Oduro had a great game from midfield wing. He had great pace and control. Beautiful assist on Pappa's goal. Needs to spend more time in midfield looking for passes, less time up top looking to take shots on goal.
Corben Bone (4) - Really poor debut from Bone. Passes were off. Did have one good cross in the 40th minute but otherwise disappointing. Subbed in the 74th, probably should have been earlier.
Gaston Puerari (6) - Held the ball well. Great ball to Oduro setting up the goal. Seemed to be somewhat comfortable in midfield but didn't really run at defenders like he does when playing as a forward.
Marco Pappa (7) - Continues to be the consistent creator and goal scorer. Great shots, runs, and positioning. Scored the sides only goal in the 44th.
Diego Chaves (6) - Overall a quiet night for Chaves. He played well as more of a playmaker in the first half but as the lone striker, no one was deep enough to benefit from his passes. Quiet in the second half. Not many serious looks at goal, though he did take a couple from distance. Nothing troubling the keeper.
Dasan Robinson (5) - Replaced Mikulic in 37th. Same old defending from Robinson. Nearly put in an own goal, but Anibaba was there to gather.
Orr Barouch (4) - Came on for Bone in the 74th but was not an improvement. Absolutely invisible.
Patrick Nyarko (N/A) - 90th minute substitute?! Really? Nyarko should probably have been a starter, nevermind a last minute sub.
Carlos de los Cobos (5) - There's something to be said about his attempt to upset the fruit-basket in search of a change in form. Gaining a point on the road against the defending champs isn't all bad, but this was a game the side could have won. Many will question his decision to go with both Bone and Paladini in the middle, when Videira, Nyarko, and Husidic were viable options. Nyarko as a 90th minute sub was a huge mistake, though he does remember spending a recent 3rd sub that he quickly regretted. Barouch was an interesting choice for midfield to replace Bone. With one of the worst starts to the season in club history, one has to wonder if DLC is more to blame than the talent.
Man of the Match - Marco Pappa
Flop of the Match - Corben Bone