Weather: 73 Degrees and cloudy
Surface: Natural Grass
Location: Stadium in Chester behind a couple of abandoned buildings with broken windows.
Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Line Judges: Bill Dittmar, Paul Scott
4th Official: Daniel Fitzgerald
Attendance: No official number posted. My best guess: Lots.
Lineups and game recap after the jump:
Coach: Carlos de los Cobos
GK: Jon Conway
D: Gonzalo Segares
D: Cory Gibbs
D: Yamith Cuesta
D: Bratislav Ristic
DM: Daniel Paladini
LM: Marco Pappa
CM: Corben Bone
CM: Baggio Husidic
RM: Dominic Oduro
F: Diego Chaves
GK: Sean Johnson
M: Logan Pause
M: Gaston Puerari
F: Orr Barouch
F: Cristian Nazarit
D: Jalil Anibaba
D: Dasan Robinson
Changes: Ristic in for Anibaba and Husidic gets the call instead of Puerari. Clearly the lineup was modified due to the USOC play in game on Tuesday evening.
Coach: Petr Nowak
GK: Faryd Mondragon
D: Jordan Harvey
D: Carlos Valdes
D: Danny Califf
D: Sheanon Williams
LM: Justin Mapp
CM: Amobi Okugo
CM: Brian Carroll
RM: Michael Farfan
F: Sebastien Le Toux
F: Carlos Ruiz
GK: Zac MacMath
M: Kyle Nakazawa
M: Roger Torres
M: Gabriel Farfan
D: Chris Agorsor
D: Keon Daniel
F: Jack McInerney
1. Philly immediately steal the ball off the kick off. End up conceding throw in. Throw in gives the ball back to Philly. Cross put into box and Conway snags the cross out of the air.
2. Fire gain some control but end up putting a long ball over everyone. Okugo goes down with an ankle injury. Stays down for a while.
3. Bone tries to find Oduro but just misses.
4. Oduro has his cross blocked regains control finds Bone in the box who wins a corner.
5. Philly sub as Kyle Nakazawa comes on for Okugo. Corner goes to near post but Chaves unable to get a head on it and it is cleared away. Paladini pulls down Le Toux down before the center circle. Foul called, no card. Good foul
6. Philly with possession but the Fire absorb and get the ball out to Oduro on the wing who creates opportunity for Fire possession. Ball gets rotated to the other side of the field where Pappa and Sega combine down the wing. Sega is fouled. Sega gets up and informs Farfan of his immense displeasure of him and possibly his family.
7. Ensuing free kick, Fire offsides. It was an excellent ball by Bone off the free kick, vast improvement over Pappa's normal service.
8. Bone and Pappa link up in the mid field and then Pappa inexplicably puts a pass out wide left that ends up going out of bounds since no one was there. Gibbs with a quality defensive play on Le Toux.
9. Philly boots the ball out of bounds. Oduro gets the ball and tries to surge through the midfield but his forward pass of the ball is kicked away. Paladini is the first to the ball and he volleys a pass forward into space for Oduro to run onto. Mondragon comes out of his box and clears the ball out of bounds. Excellent creative thought from Paladini there.
10. Pappa fouled while trying to gather in a pass. Pappa takes the free kick and floats in a ball that Yamith Cuesta gets a head on and puts the ball into the side netting. Good effort from Cuesta and a good idea.
11. Fire absorb the pressure and win the ball.
12. Husidic hits an excellent pass to Oduro and Oduro looks to just miss the ball. Hard to see from the angle but he looked to be there. Movement good for the Fire so far. Califf finds Ruiz on a run just outside of the box and the left hand side. He wacks a shot or a cross over the net. Excellent movement from El Pescadito.
13. Paladini avoids two Union players. Fire maintain control and push forward.
14. Chaves and Husidic misconnect in the center circle allowing Philly to regain control.
15. Bone finds Husidic wide and then earns a throw in.
16. Cuesta bombs the ball long and it goes out for a goal kick.
17. Chaves loses the ball to Williams. Williams puts in a cross but Gibbs is there to clean it up. Gibbs goes to Paladini who strikes a long ball to a streaking Pappa down the left hand side. Pappa gains control just outside the box on the left hand side. Pappa looks to pass the ball in the air to Husidic but the ball is deflected, Philly gains control and tries to clear but Husidic blocks the clearance and the ball heads towards Mondragon who easily gathers. Nice counter from the Fire. Paladini again creating an opportunity.
18. Ristic fouled by Mapp. Paladini takes the free kick, crosses the ball all the way to Sega on the other side of the field on the offensive end who then heads the ball to Pappa. Pappa one times it back to Segares who gets on the end of it but puts his cross over Chaves. Oduro tracks it down and wins a throw in for the Fire near the corner flag.
19. Bone misses Husidic off the throw in.
20. Paladini tries to find Husidic in the box but his pass is just off. Pappa had some odd decisions on that play as he could have made a run to give more options to Paladini but he didn't.
21. Philly wins a throw in. Off the throw in Mapp finds Farfan running into space. Paladini is a step behind and Cuesta isn't able to cover the ground to get to him. Farfan shoots a low shot just wide of the far post. Paladini needs to be tighter on Farfan off the throw in. The central defenders were both wide defending the strikers leaving space in the middle.
22. Fire throw in.
23. Oduro dispossesses Farfan on the outside of the box. Good defensive work. Paladini intercepts the ball looks for Oduro running towards goal but his pass is headed away.
24. Good pressure from Bone and Oduro. Cuesta makes a mistake and lets a ball get past him and Ruiz is there to collect it outside of the box on the left hand side. Ruiz drops the ball back to Mapp who serves in a cross that goes over the first players head but is on target but Marco Pappa comes flying into the picture to just get a deflection the ball to break up the pass and put the ball out for a corner. Good defensive effort from Marco.
25. Ensuing corner: Headed away by Gibbs but not cleared. Ball gets out to Le Toux on the wing who crosses it in and Valdez puts a header just over the bar. Hits the top of the bar on the way by.
26. Fire have possession. Ristic crops it back to Gibbs who tries to send it to Conway but mishits his pass and Conway comes out with a sliding clearance as Le Toux was coming on strong for the ball. Defense a little shaky right now.
27. Pappa wins the ball in the midfield he gets it out to Oduro who puts in a cross that misses Chaves. Quick counter attack. Oduro's pace wins another throw in. Good effort again. Ristic with needless turnover.
28. Ristic follows and then fouls Mapp to stop the attack. Ristic argues for a dive. Le Toux's free kick misses everything and goes out of bounds.
29. Le Toux dummies the ball for Ruiz but Gibbs is there and makes an accurate back pass to Conway.
30. Ristic earns a yellow card for a shirt tug that amazingly made Le Toux fall down. Persistent infringement as he committed three fouls in succession.
31. Ensuing free kick is shot towards goal but Chaves is there to head it away.
32. Paladini clears the ball after a Union attack down the right hand side.
33. Custa clears towards Chaves but Califf wins the ball. Fire look content to let Philly hold the ball for a bit here.
34. Bone with a needless turnover near the offensive third. Cuesta with a hard, clean tackle to win the ball from Le Toux. Le Toux stayed down for a bit but gets up without assistance.
35. Farfan hits a lobbing pass towards Ruiz who made a clever run to get behind Gibbs but he is unable to put the shot on goal. Lazy defending from Gibbs allowed Ruiz to get some space behind him. Gibbs either needed to clear that ball or mark the man, he did neither.
37. Ruiz holds the ball up twice. After the second holding of the ball and subsequent pass to Valdez one he spins off Cuesta. Cuesta moves towards Valdez while Ruiz runs into space. Valdez lobs a pass towards Ruiz. Sega is on Ruiz by the time he gets the ball and controls it. Ruiz dips to his right to create space and blasts a shot towards goal. Conway makes a diving save towards his near post. Cuesta is there with a diving right foot to clear the ball out for a throw in. Great effort from Sega made the shot difficult for Ruiz. Cuesta probably should have rolled with Ruiz there as he had oncoming midfield help for Valdez. At the same time Sega was there to cover so it worked. The replay shows that Sega got a slight deflection on the ball.
38. Philly currently in control of this game. Long ball finds Le Toux and he puts a weak shot towards goal that is handled ably by Conway.
39. Chaves and Bone have been invisible so far this half. Ristic with a nice strip of the ball away from Mapp. He then gives the ball to Oduro who then passes it back to Ristic who then clears to no one giving possession back. Philly comes back down the field and Mapp gets the ball again on the left. Ristic again takes it from him but falls down loses the ball. Then from the ground starts to get back up looks to have the ball when Mapp kicks at the ball getting some ball but a lot of Ristic. Ristic goes down and Mapp continues on with the ball, no foul. Mapp fins Le Toux but his pass is to strong as Le Toux can't control. Cuesta clears.
40. Chaves back heels to a Philly player. Needless turn over.
41. Fire get the ball back and try to gain some possession. This time Paladini is surprised by a back tracking Le Toux who takes the ball from him.
42. Husidic hammered by Califf who earns a yellow for his effort. Pappa floats the ensuing free kick towards Cuesta on the right hand side this time. The timing is a bit off as Cuesta can't get his head to it. These are much better set pieces from the Fire today. Philly clears.
43. Bone wins the ball on the side and then dribbles out of pressure and finds Pappa on the left. Pappa channels his inner Cuauhtemoc and "earns" a foul on the outside of the box.
44. Pappa takes the free kick and shoots it high. Seemed to have everyone beaten by taking the free kick quickly. To bad it wasn't on frame.
45. Paladini wins the ball gets it to Husidic who then pushes it wide to Pappa Bone controls at the top of the box drops to Sega. Bone gets it back combines with Pappa, Pappa puts in a cross to Husidic but has it headed away. Husidic regains control of the ball passes back to Oduro who is called for a handball. 1 minute of stoppage. Philly gain control of the ball and Valdez gets in a cross towards Ruiz but Conway is there. Half time: The Fire did not create a clear cut chance that half while Philly had three. Bone had a questionable half as he was mostly invisible, particularly in his defensive effort. Chaves didn't do much of anything. On to the second half:
46. Orr Barouch comes on for Diego Chaves. Ristic and Oduro misconnect. Through ball to Ruiz almost gets through but Gibbs makes a diving tackle to push the ball back towards Conway.
47. Bone is noticeably changed his positioning on the field. Much like last week he is staying closer to Paladini to start the half.
48. Gibbs defends Ruiz ably and concedes a throw in. Off the Throw in Nakazawa gets the ball at above the circle and blasts the ball towards goal, it goes over the bar. Good effort from Nakazawa.
49. Farfan shoots a long shot high and wide. Philly really putting long shots in towards goal right now. Trying to test Conway.
50. Pappa fouled.
51. Pappa's free kick goes to no one. Nakazawa fouls Ristic. Paladini tries to put a pass out wide to Oduro but it is headed away. Poor decision.
52. Oduro finds Barouch in the box but he has the ball stripped away. Long ball from Philly finds Le Toux who then finds Nakazawa who tries to take a shot but has it slightly deflected by Pappa and the shot is easily saved by Conway. Marco is working defensively tonight.
53. Paladini dispossess Le Toux. Barouch wins the long ball gets it to Marco who then finds Oduro who takes a clever shot on goal but Mondragon is there for the save. First decent shot on frame tonight. Le Toux offsides for Philly after Ruiz tries to make a pass to him.
54. Husidic finds Pappa just outside the box Bone gets it drops it to Paladini who drills a shot just wide of goal. Paladini was in space and this was the right decision. Harvey eats a delayed yellow card for pulling Oduro down earlier in the build up.
56. Philly throw in. Ruiz fouls Ristic inside the box. Hard foul by Ruiz as he went in with a little extra as Carlos likes to do.
57. Le Toux finds Mapp who is wide open in space and he first times it but pushes it wide. Obviously Justin hit that with his right foot as the shot sucked.
58. Le Toux wide open in the box but can't control. Mapp has his shot blocked. Le Toux puts the ball off the post as he wins the ball just in front of Conway. Roger Torres comes on for Harvey.
59. Philly is going to score soon. Just a matter of time now. Barouch holds up the ball combines with Husidic who gets the ball to Bone who then gets it to Oduro. Oduro then fouls his man. Oduro gets a yellow for Dissension.
60. Puerari and Pause come on for Bone and Husidic. Fire switching to a 4-4-2 with Puerari moving into a striker role next to Barouch. Risky move here but the Fire needed something as the team was giving up possession and lacking any sort of idea of what to do.
61. Oduro fouled. ON the ensuing free kick Oduro gets the ball back cuts it back inside the box from the goal line and wins a corner for the Fire.
62. Cuesta gets his head on the end of the corner but puts it wide. Fire looking rejuvenated after the substitutions. Pappa gets the ball finds Puerari who combines with Barouch, well at least tries. Oduro and Barouch were close together Oduro tries to win the ball back to Puerari but has his effort intercepted. Philly on the counter attack. Torres finds Le Toux who apparently was onsides and didn't use his hand to control the ball. Fortunately Le Toux's first touch is heavy and Gibbs is able to clear the ball out for a throw in.
63. Torres with a huge flop to earn a throw in. Ristic not happy. Nakazwa takes the free kick drops it to Farfan who shoots it towards goal and the ball goes in. 1-0 Philly. This was a weak shot on goal. Looked like Conway screened on the play. Slight deflection on the shot which was better looking on the replay. Of all the chances to allow Philly to score it comes on that one. Frustrating.
64. Chicago earns a free kick just inside the Philly half. Paladini's free kick is awful and goes towards no one.
66. Ball pings around the center circle and Philly end up pushing towards the Fire end but Cuesta handles Le Toux easily and clears it up. Ruiz ends up getting the ball in what looked to be an offside position but he flubs the pass as the flag stayed down. Le Toux continues to heavily pressure Conway on each back pass.
67. Barouch takes the goal kick from Conway and holds it up well. He dumps a pass of to Pappa on the left. Pappa dumps a pass towards the corner where Sega gets on the end of it. Sega tries to cross but has it deflected out for a throw in. Ensuing throw in goes to Pappa who digs it out from two Philly defenders but ends up losing the ball to pressure as he didn't have any options to pass to. Philly boots it up to Ruiz who tries to quickly pass it to Torres but his pass is off. Paladini seems to kick at the back of Ruiz's legs as he goes by and Ruiz goes down and stays down for a bit but play continues and the Fire do not look to put the ball out (it is Carlos Ruiz what do you expect?). Paladini gets the ball back and passes to Pappa who then drops it to Sega. Sega hits a cross but he hits it long (not surprising) where Oduro grabs it. Oduro beats his man off the dribble and gets into the box and hits a low shot near post and beats Mondragon. Goal Fire. 1-1. Crazy angle shot again from Oduro. Mondragon dived far post off the shot. Completely fooled by Oduro.
68. Puerari goes down in the midfield. Philly plays on, through ball goes towards Ruiz in the box but Gibbs has him covered. Ruiz takes a dive but gets no call. Ruiz is pulling out all the dirty tricks today. He is on his game.
69. Conway promptly tries to start a counter but Oduro misses the ball. Throw in Philly.
70. Fire regain control and work a little possession game on the right hand side between Puerari, Oduro and Ristic. Ristic finds Paladini who pushes it out wide left to Segares. Sega finds Pappa who drops it to Gibbs. Gibbs passes back to Sega who then drops it to Pappa. Pappa finds Pause who drops it to Gibbs, Gibbs pushes up and passes back to Sega. Sega drops it back to Pause who drops it all the way back to Cuesta. Cuesta finds Paladini who makes a pass into the box that Oduro tries to run onto but it is cleared out by Philly.
71. Paladini gets the ball off the throw in. He drops the ball to Pause who swings it to Pappa. Pappa passes it to Paladini who unexpectedly finds himself in some space. Paladini turns and passes to Puerari at the top of the box. Puerari has his man beaten. He shoots the ball beats Mondragon but Williams is there to just get a touch on the ball to push it wide. Corner Fire. Williams deflected it just right as Barouch was making a run towards the far post. He slows that ball down any more and Barouch is there to score. Unlucky break for the Fire. Kudos to Paladini for pushing up more offensively as he was the key to a lot of the touch passing going on there. Great pass from him to free Puerari.
72. Yellow for Paladini after a rash challenge.
73. Torres gets the ball on the left wing and puts in a pass to an apparently onside Carlos Ruiz. Ruiz heads the ball down but Le Toux is to far away to get to it and Gibbs pushes the ball out of the box. Philly controls. Pappa tracks back and takes the ball from Williams who dives in an effort to get a free kick but there is no call. Pappa mis hits his pass to Paladini and the ball is turned over. Mapp finds Williams and Williams looks to square the ball at the top of the box but Paladini is there to break it up. Paladini concedes a corner.
74. Corner is harmless. Philly retains control. Torres beats Puerari but he is unable to capitalize. The Fire are unable to clear the ball and they concede a free kick in the offensive third.
75. Ruiz takes the free kick tries to pass it Pause heads it away. The ball lands at the feat of Ruiz who taps the ball up and the volleys the ball towards goal. The ball beats Jon Conway and goes in off the bottom of the bar. Goal Ruiz. 2-1 Philly. Unreal shot from Ruiz. Oh yeah and he hit that with his left foot.
77. Oduro gets the ball from Barouch and breaks into space. Oddly Oduro heads towards the middle cutting down the free space for both Puerari and Barouch. He passes it towards Puerari (probably intended for Pappa on the left) who drops it for Barouch. Barouch has his shot blocked but the rebound comes to Puerari who lofts a shot towards goal but it goes high and wide. Philly player down. Williams is down.
79. Barouch gets free drops it to Puerari who then moves it to Oduro on the right. Oduro shoots it wide right. Unfortunate as Barouch was there for any rebound.
80. Pause to Oduro, Oduro drops to Puerari who goes right back to him where Oduro is fouled. Free kick Fire.
81. Gabe Farfan comes on for Carlos Ruiz. Free kick is headed away. Philly counter Ristic makes a great play on Le Toux to take the ball away from him in the box.
82. Throw in Fire. Marco ends up getting the ball and takes an ill advised shot from distance with his left foot and it goes way over the bar. Bad decision as he had options. DLC is displeased with that.
83. Pappa fouls Williams trying to get the ball.
84. Oduro almost chases down another ball but it took a very weird hop down the sidelines.
85. Throw in for Fire. Ristic is pushing up into the midfield. Sega and Barouch working it on the left. Paladini tries to find Barouch but can't unlock the defense. Ball ends up with Oduro on the right he passes to Puerari but the ball is cleared for a throw in.
86. Throw in deep in the Philly defensive end. Gibbs inexplicably tries to shoot from distance. It is blocked.
87. Fire pushing forward. Paladini passes to Pause who drops to Cuesta. Ristic has the ball goesto Oduro. Gibbs pushes up wants to shoot but passes to Sega. Paladini misses the ball Philly pushes up and looks to hold possession but the Fire win it back Oduro gets the ball.
88. Oduro pushes it and passes to the left but is unable to complete the pass.
89. Paladini finds Segares on the left but he is adjudged to be offsides. Puerari fouled in the circle.
90. The free kick was laughable as Puerari hammered it off the Philly player two yards in front of him and the ref was like who cares and let the play go on.
91. Pappa loses the ball but the Fire regain control. 3 minutes of stoppage.
92. Oduro on a great effort breaks into the box and earns a throw in. Puerari gets yellow carded for diving in the box. Good call as that was a straight dive. That should be the game. Final whistle blows.
This may as well be the definition of an unlucky loss. Carlos Ruiz scores one of the most ridiculous goals you will ever see to win this for Philly. At some point the unlucky breaks for the Fire are going to stop. The question is will they be able to dig themselves out of the hole they now find themselves in? It is entirely possible as this is going to be the longest season in MLS history at 34 games. There is a long, long way to go yet.
There is also room for hope. Dominic Oduro is in excellent form right now. Daniel Paladini is a week in week out starter. Chaves has been excellent although he does need help. Pappa has been excellent offensively and his defensive work is getting better if this game was any indication. Yamith Cuesta was an excellent find as he should start over Gibbs when Mikulic is healthy (another talented find). The pieces are there. The team creates chances and works hard. Things that you could not say about last years veteran laden squad. Jalil Anibaba has turned into a more than serviceable right back and Sega has been consistent defensively on the left. This teams play indicates it is better than its record. Usually these things work themselves out in this league.
A win tonight against the SJ Earthquakes in USOC play in game is critical. At this point I would like the team to be focused on the US Open Cup play beyond anything else. It is a very winnable tournament and the Fire are not a bad squad.
Finding someone besides Diego Chaves that can start up top is a priority as he is looking tired. Hopefully Nazrit gets an opportunity soon.
To those of you who think that all this team needs is a new coach you are flat out wrong. There is no easy way to become a consistent winner in MLS. The current template for success is to get talented young players, build around them and then add a savvy veteran player to put them over the top. Dallas and RSL are the best examples of this and Colorado isn't far behind. This team is following that template. Part of that is keeping your coach through all sorts of criticism. The Dallas fan base was begging for Schellas Hyndman to be fired after his second season. The vultures were circling Jason Kreis as well. If you turn your head coaching position into a turn style you end up like Toronto FC. You become a league wide embarrassment. 1 1/3 of a season should not be enough time to evaluate and then fire your coach. Especially considering the roster turn around from last season to this season (and that was always going to happen no matter who was going to be coaching this team). It would be stupid and completely ruin this team for years to come. Not to mention the suggestions for who should take the reigns are completely laughable. Yes lets go get an ex Fire player with no head coaching experience and put him in as a mid season replacement with a team full of guys that he had no help selecting. Awesome solution.
No video stream for tonight's game so the recaps will return after next week's game.