Quick and Dirty Recap:
No one scored. Sean Johnson had one excellent save on a Collin Warner shot. On this play Jamison Olave juked past Segares and put a square ball in towards the spot. Yamith Cuesta missed the ball as he dove for it giving Warner the clear look. Excellent save by Johnson who continues to be in top form. In the 80th minute Louis Gil had a half chance but pushed a weak shot well wide. This looked more worrisome live than it actually was.
Rimando was forced to make a save in the 62 minute off a Patrick Nyarko run towards the goal line. Nyarko's initial touch after beating his man failed him and he was forced to toe poke the ball at Rimando as a defender was closing in on the ball. If he would of controlled that like you would expect him to he had Chaves open at the top of the box. The Fire's best chance came from Oduro getting the ball and flying down the middle of the field. Oduro passes the ball to Marco Pappa who manages to slip it past the RSL defender and get a shot on goal that Rimando saves with his feet. Rimando then has the presence of mind to hop back up and punch the ball out of his end over Diego Chaves and one of his own defenders. Terrific work by Rimando.
Outside of the above this was a tough MLS midfield scrum of a game. Both defenses were fairly stout throughout the match. RSL had the better of the first half while the Fire had the better second half. Neither team had much to offer offensively. This was not overly surprising. RSL is the best defensive team in the league boasting a very physical backline. The Fire defense was also very physical this evening.
Cory Gibbs 3rd minute Reckless Tackle
Orr Barouch 64th minute Simulation
Will Johnson 47+ minute Reckless Foul
Robbie Russell 49th minute Reckless Foul
Sean Johnson: While not called on as frequently as he was last week his goal keeping this week was a major reason the Fire took home 1 point. He made the big save when he had to. He appears to be in top form heading into the second half of the season. This is a very good thing.
Cory Gibbs: Excellent night for the veteran central defender. Controlled the middle well and shut down anything that came in his direction. Cory has been playing well lately. It is nice to see him in form and healthy.
Orr Barouch: I liked his effort and movement in the first half. He looked dangerous when he had the ball, unfortunately he didn't have it enough. Made a nice run to get in the box in the 64th minute but ended up getting booked for diving. A nice first start for Orr as I felt he easily earned himself another start (one which he will obviously get with Nazarit's suspension).
Gonzalo Segares: Sega had another rough night. He was ineffective coming forward as he had no idea of what to do with the ball. More distressingly he was outmaneuvered by Jamison Olave that allowed the best scoring chance RSL had all evening. While Olave is an impressive defender one would thing that Segares could handle the big Columbian off the dribble. So what exactly is the problem? If you ask me Sega needs a rest. He has started all 16 games this season and has logged 1433 minutes this season. He has only been off the field for 7 minutes. After 16 games league wide there are only a few field players ahead of him (A.J. DeLaGarza, Jeff Larentowicz, Drew Moor and Daniel Hernandez). Sega's last season over 2000 minutes was in 2008 where he logged 2013 minutes in 23 games. I realize there isn't a lot behind him but they have to find a way to reduce his workload as I'm not sure he is a 2800 minute player at this stage in his career. The next highest minutes played for a Fire player is Diego Chaves with 1214.
Daniel Paladini: Paladini was surprisingly ineffective tonight. He was working hard and seemingly in the right places but just did not have his normal sharpness. A lot of this had to do with the terrific defensive midfield of RSL. Still I expect better from a player who has had a good season up to this point.
This game was a defensive battle. A lot of hard working average performances on the field tonight. Both teams got what they wanted out of it. The Fire pushed but were unable to get 3 points but are probably satisfied with a draw against the team widely considered to be the league best in Real Salt Lake. From RSL's perspective they get a road draw and road draws are completely acceptable.
The Fire need to win Sunday against NY Red Bull. I know the US Open Cup match is Tuesday night but winning at home on Sunday will be a big step towards solidifying their league position.