If some one unfamiliar with what was going on in the MLS season watched the Chicago Fire take on Toronto FC last night, they might be surprised to find that Chicago could move into a playoff spot by beating Toronto. This was one of the most lackadaisical performances I've seen from cf97. I wish I could blame it on midweek fatigue, but Toronto also had a game in the northwest just a few days earlier, so no excuses there. The Fire just did not show up.
How does a team go from a crushing draw at home by giving up a late equalizer one week, to giving the Seattle Sounders hell in their own home the following week and then cap it all off with a tepid, milk toast performance against one of the worst teams in the league when there is an opportunity to jump into a playoff spot? That right there is disappointment in three different flavors - a napoleon ice cream of sadness.
With that said, there was nothing really worth noting on the Opta chalkboard, but here are a few observations anyways.
I like Alex a lot and really want to see him take his game to another level. He had a very solid performance offensively against Houston (3 key passes). Against Seattle, Alex was not as influential on offense, but he was defensively stout (5 tackles and 14 recoveries).
In Toronto, Alex started off hot but then disappeared from the game. In the opening 20 minutes of the match, Alex had a key pass, won 2 tackles and had 6 recoveries. For the rest of his time on the field after those 20 minutes, Alex had 4 recoveries and a shot off target.
ABOVE: Alex's disappearing act - first 20 minutes on the left; final 58 minutes on the right
Jeff had an okay night taking care of the center of the field. He 7 recoveries, 4 interceptions, a block and his usual one tackle per game. He also took care of the ball, completing 34 out of 42 passes, one of which was key pass.
Chris Rolfe had a decent night. He had 3 keys passes and was credited with an assist on Dilly Duka's "goal". He also helped out defensively with 2 tackles, 5 recoveries, 3 clearances and an interception.
On the flip side, none of his 3 shots were on target and he was also dispossessed 7 times.