New England v Chicago game recap: The Art of Seduction

I should probably start next week. Don't you think so?

Hello you sweet, seductive, sexy road draw. Welcome back.

Quick and Dirty:

Dominic Oduro scored in the 32nd minute after Patrick Nyarko beat Sainey Nyasi to a ball in the Chicago defensive half. He then lobbed it towards Oduro who snatched the ball in stride, headed off to the races, and confidently finished a low shot into the bottom left hand corner of the net easily beating Matt Reis.

New England managed to tie things up after Rajko Lekic scored in the 48th minute off a Pat Phelan pass. Lekic initially looked off sides but he was not. You can say it was a lazy work from the defenders getting back to their line but someone should have marked Lekic when he started his run. The Fire defense looked like they thought the ball had been cleared when it wasn't. First overly lackadaisical moment on the defensive side since Klopas took over.

Both teams created excellent chances through out. Sean Johnson and Matt Reis were at the top of their games tonight making difficult saves to keep their respective squads in the game. Notable save for Johnson: outstretched hand tipping a Lekic shot just wide of the far post. Notable save for Matt Reis: denying Gabriel Ferrari with a modified kick save as he was diving towards the near post.

Cards:
Yellow:
Chicago:
Daniel Paladini 90th delayed restart (will miss next game due to Yellow card accumulation)
Gonzalo Segares 66th reckless foul(will miss next game due to Yellow card accumulation)
Dominic Oduro 77th dissent
Christian Nazarit 59th reckless foul

New England:
Shalrie Joseph 78 tactical foul

Edit: MLS disciplinary chart can be found here.  If you play three consecutive games without a yellow after reaching four yellow cards your yellow card number is reduced to three.  Thanks to Cesba in the comments for the information.

The Referee

Silviu Petrescu was the referee tonight.  While he didn't have any terrible errors he had a normal night for Silviu Petrescu.  That is to say he was predictably wildly inconsistent with his calls and a stickler for where throw ins should be taken from.  I would put him firmly in the "Below Average MLS Ref" category.  

The Good:

Sean Johnson: An excellent performance. Kept the Fire in the game while the defense was busy having an off night. Punched the ball out of the box with confidence. Seems to be improving in areas that were a weakness. The Fire's man of the match.

Dominic Oduro: Used his pace effectively on both sides of the ball. Workrate was terrific. Linked well with Nyarko but is still having issues creating chemistry with Chaves. He scored the goal and created two other excellent chances as the game came to a close. He is making his case to remain a starter when Marco Pappa returns from international duty. If it wasn't for Johnson's shot stopping Oduro would earn man of the match honors.

Patrick Nyarko: His constant work in the midfield combined with excellent vision provided Oduro with the chance to score. Worked hard for most of the game and was back to taking a massive amount of hits and earning some free kicks. Almost a vintage Nyarko performance. Also had a powerful shot on goal that Matt Reis tipped over the bar. He appears to be gaining confidence in his shot. Due to Patrick's style of game I still have worries about his long term health. He needs to be a bit more savvy in avoiding contact.

Subs: Orr Barouch, Gabriel Ferrari (making his Fire debut), and Daniel Paladini were all very good in their roles this evening. Orr continues to impress with his movement and on ball skill. He hit a massive header off a set piece that was cleared off the line by the far post defender. Ferrari got in on goal and did put a shot on frame that forced a very good save from Reis. He could have done better with the opportunity but at the same time he did manage to make an excellent run to get into space and still put a shot on frame. Paladini's presence was immediately felt offensively as he started linking up with players and making runs. He also forced a save from Reis on a long shot of his own that was on frame.

The Bad:

Baggio Husidic: Rarely involved. He had some decent movement at times but failed to control the middle of the field against Shalrie Joseph and friends. Unlike last week Husidic's lack of pace was evident through out the game. He just isn't fast enough to be a starting caliber MLS midfielder. A very quiet game from a player who really can't afford to play like this any more. The team was noticeably better once Daniel Paladini stepped onto the field. Lack of pace and inability to affect the game on a consistent basis should doom Husidic to the bench.

Gonzalo Segares: Had an atrocious first half. Sainey Nyassi crushed him several times down the left hand side with pace and some nice foot work. Was lucky that Nyassi was unable to finish any of his chances and that his team mates were unable to finish off the excellent service he was providing most of the first half. Was a bit better in the second half but that had more to do with New England exploiting a the soft midfield of Chicago instead of working the wings.

Logan Pause: Better than Husidic but was unable to impact the game defensively like he normally does.

Diego Chaves: Appears to be a bit lost offensively right now. Might be better off coming on as a second half sub. You can see him pressing to score a goal and it appears to impact his decision making.

The Coaching:

Frank Klopas was a bit of a mixed bag this evening. He clearly made an error with his starting lineup by playing Husidic. I can understand the desire to keep, essentially, the same starting lineup that won at Columbus last week intact. Yet it has been blatantly obvious during this season that Paladini is the better player. Not subbing Paladini on at half was an egregious error and might have cost the team 2 points.

Klopas' decisions on who to sub in were excellent. My only quibble is that they all should have been given more time to make an impact.

Overall:

Getting a point on the road is always fine. The Fire continue to look dangerous on the offensive end. The defense had a bad night but Sean Johnson looked terrific. The loss of Segares for next game is problematic but Sega looks to need a rest. The suspension of Paladini is more concerning as this keeps Husidic in a starting role barring any formation changes. The major thing that needs to change for the Fire going forward is to start getting results at home. 5 points from three road games solid work. 3 points at home next week is essential.

After I get a chance to watch the game for a second time I'll update the comment section with any further thoughts. Also please watch for the around the MLS link column later this week.

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