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Game 11: The Alamo Bowl

A Shirtless Cory Gibbs points at the fans.
A Shirtless Cory Gibbs points at the fans.

Weather: 61 degrees, 13 mph winds with light rain.  Otherwise known as sucky.

Surface:  Natural Grass

Location: At a monument to the dominant Japanese automaker in Bridgeview, IL

Referee:  Abiodun Okulaja

Line Judges: Brian Poeschel; Peter Balciunas

4th Official: Allen Chapman

Attendance: 11,926

 

 

Lineups:

 

Chicago Fire

Coach: Carlos de los Cobos

GK: Sean Johnson

D: Gonzalo Segares

D: Cory Gibbs

D: Yamith Cuesta

D: Bratislav Ristic

LM: Marco Pappa

RM: Dominic Oduro

CM: Logan Pause (C)

CM: Daniel Paladini

F: Diego Chaves

F: Cristian Nazarit

 

 

Bench:

F: Orr Barouch

M/F: Gaston Puerari

M: Baggio Husidic

M: Corben Bone

D: Pari Pantazopoulos

D: Dasan Robinson

GK: Jon Conway

 

 

San Jose Earthquakes

Coach: Frank Yallop

GK: Jon Busch

D: Steven Beitashour

D: Ike Opara

D: Jason Hernandez

D: Bobby Convey 

M: Joey Gjertsen 

M: Brad Ring

M: Khari Stephenson 

M: Ramiro Corrales (C)

F: Steven Lenhart

F: Chris Wondolowski

 

Bench:

M: Anthony Ampaipitakwong

M: Sam Cronin

M: Brandon McDonald

D: Bobby Burling,

F: Ellis McLoughlin

D/M: Justin Morrow

GK Andrew Weber

 

  1. Lenhart gets lose down the left side but Cuesta is there to take the ball away and kick it long towards Nazarit.
  2. Gibbs commits foul near midfield line.  Gets talking to from referee
  3. Ensuing free kick is headed in the box and finds 17 unmarked on the right hand side.  He serves in a nice cross for Ramiro Corrales but Oduro is there to get in the way and head the ball out.  Bobby Convey tracks the ball down and tries to put a cross into the box but its to low and headed away easily by Paladini.  Fire gain control as Chaves tracks down the lose ball deep in the defensive end and passes to Pause who finds Marco Pappa in stride down the left hand side.  Pappa tries to pass it to an oncoming Chaves but has his pass blocked.
  4. San Jose gain possession.  Chicago win back possession after an errant pass.  Cuesta finds Chaves who finds Pappa.  Pappa tries to switch the ball to over to Oduro but his pass was terrible and went right to Convey.  This thing was no where near Oduro and it was just a terrible decision overall by Pappa.  Convey's touch is a bit to strong as he loses control.  Paladini manages to get the ball and tries to lob it for Oduro.  Unfortunately the ball is over hit and goes out for a goal kick.  Good idea from Paladini but poor execution.
  5. San Jose player down after trying to win a header over Oduro.  Not down very long.  San Jose has possession.  Bush boots it long.  San Jose control.  Paladini gets caught not shielding his player from the ball and has the ball pushed forward by a San Jose player behind him.  Coralles gets the ball and looks for Lenhart but his pass is way behind him and the Fire easily gain control.  Paladini gets the ball and makes a good pass to Chaves who is fouled near the center circle.
  6. Ristic hits a bouncy pass to Pause who controls OK and manages to pass quickly to Chaves at the top of the circle. Chaves drops the ball to Sega.  Sega passes forward to Marco and then starts his run.  Marco immediately dumps the ball forward for Segares who gets the the ball on the left hand side of the box.  Sega hits a good cross (!) that is just in front of Nazarit and then is cut out by Convey (Oduro would have gotten to the ball back post if it would have gotten through).  Convey's clearance is weak and Chaves gets to the bouncing ball at the top of the box.  He manages to control the ball and slip his way past two SJ defenders.  He hits a shot that beats Bush but goes off the post.  Sega gets the ball back on the left hand side of the box but has his next cross blocked out for a throw in.  Chaves visibly upset with himself.  That ball went off BOTH POSTS.  Hit the inside of the near and went off the outside of the far post.  
  7. San Jose comes down the right hand side.  Lenhart gets the ball in the box manages to avoid a Gibbs tackle and then cross the ball Kari Stevenson who tries to one time it but gets less than optimal foot on the ball and Johnson easily collects.  Dangerous opportunity there for SJ.
  8. Nazarit tries to beat his man down the left hand side but ends up putting the ball over the goal line.  
  9. Lenhart has been a handful down the right hand side.  Columbus may be the stupidest team in the league.  This guy is a quality MLS starter.
  10. Handball on Opara, stopped what could have been a Nazarit breakaway.  
  11. Ramiro Corales blasts a shot wide of the goal from just outside the box.
  12. Chaves and Nazarit combine at the top of the box but Chaves unable to get a shot off.  Oduro gets the ball on the right hand side and tries to put in a cross but puts it out over the end line.
  13. Fire clear a SJ cross out of bounds.
  14. San Jose passing well until they move into the offensive half where the Fire dispossess them.  Ends up with a Johnson boot down the field.
  15. Nazarit wins a header deep in the offensive half unfortunately no one is there.
  16. Long ball from Pause to Oduro just a bit to long for Oduro to catch down.  Oduro looks tired tonight.  Normal extra speed not there.
  17. Pappa wins the ball, hops over a man and continues his dribble to finds Chaves.  Chaves ends up passing to Paladini the ball bounces around a bit finds Pappa whose shot is blocked out of bounds for a corner.  
  18. Ensuing corner taken by Pappa but results in nothing.
  19. Nazarit called for a foul in the offensive third.  
  20. Lots of long balls pinging back and forth with no results.
  21. Another Convey cross cleared away by the Fire defense.
  22. Pause with a weak pass that ends up in a turnover but he wins the ball back and finds Pappa .  Pappa finds Chaves who then passes back to Pappa.  Chaves is fouled for a free kick.
  23. Nazarit free kick blasted into the wall.  
  24. The up and down pace of this game is slowing down a bit.  
  25. Paladini gets kicked in the face no call.  Coralles goes right around ristic and just misses an oncoming Lenhart right at the far post.  Dangerous play from SJ.  Replay shows that Lenhart was already falling down and that Sega was nearby.  
  26.  
  27. Miscommunication between Ristic and Oduro leads to Paladini trying to find Pappa on a big switch but Pappa is offsides.
  28. Pappa and Chaves miss connect.  Poor decision by Marco he had space to run in.
  29.  
  30. Sega physical near the goal line, ends up a conceding a corner but a good play nonetheless.  Ensuing corner misses everyone.
  31. Fire work some possession.  
  32. Pappa has switched over to the right side.  oduro is now left midfielder.  Not sure why.  Pause fouled.  Off the free kick Sega fouled about 10 yards forward.
  33. Paladini's free kick handled by Busch.
  34. Wondolowski offsides.
  35. Fire pushing.  Chaves finds Oduro on the left. Oduro at a loss for what to do, he tries to find Pappa at the top of the box with a looping pass but to no avail.  Fire maintain control but Pappa turns it over after missing Ristic.
  36. Oduro flying down the left cuts into the mid but is unable to pass since he is not a left midfielder.  
  37. Nazarit wins the a long ball but again no one around to take advantage.
  38. Oduro and Sega combine on the left Oduro passes to Nazarit inside of the top of the box. Nazarit tries to touch pass to Sega but its just a bit to far in front of Sega and Busch is there to clean up.
  39. Throw in for the Fire on the right hand side.  
  40. Paladini tries to cross but his cross is under hit and San Jose clears but not all the way out.  Fire maintain possession.  The ball gets over to Oduro on the left.  Oduro puts in a nice pass from the left hand side but its just a bit behind Nazarit.
  41. Chaves gets the ball at the top of the box but his pass for Nazarit goes off his heal.  Good thought as Nazarit would have had a clear run towards goal.
  42. Nazarit holds the ball up well against the sideline and then concedes a throw in.  Well done by Nazarit.
  43. Oduro puts the ball out of bounds.  Ristic with a terrific sliding tackle to put the ball out of bounds.  
  44. Nazarit gets free and and blasts a shot close to Busch.  That shot should have been better.  Nazarit holds the ball up well.  Ball ends up with Pappa on the left.  He cuts across and tries to shoot with his left foot but his shot is blocked before it gets to Busch.  
  45. Throw in for the Fire in the offensive third.  Chaves mis controls the ball and San Jose clears.  End of half.   Halftime.  Fire created the better of the chances with the two poster Chaves had earlier in the half.  Still San Jose was dangerous.  I did not like the switch of Oduro and Pappa as it seemed to not work especially for Oduro who isn't used to playing anywhere on the left hand side of the field.  
  46. San Jose substitution at half: In Anthony Ampaipitakwong out: Joey Gjertsen.  Gibbs relieves pressure with a back pass to Johnson.  Pappa gets the ball on the right floats past a couple of SJ defenders and then passes the ball to no one once he finds himself in space.  
  47. Marco gets the ball back after a failed clearance.  He draws two San Jose defenders on the right hand side just outside of the box.  Paladini is wide open at the top of the corner.  Pappa passes it to him and starts to make a run.  Paladini hits a cross that ends up landing in the box and is headed to the side by San Jose.  Oduro did not make a run at all. Ball looked like it was intended for him. Ball ends up out of bounds for a throw in.  Sega gets the ball off the throw in.  Goes back to Oduro.
  48. The Fire hold possession for a while.  Sega and Oduro work down the left again.  This time Oduro does not make the pass to Sega and instead forces one across the field that goes straight to a San Jose player.  San Jose comes up the middle trying to control the ball.  Fire snuff out the play in the middle but Chaves turns the ball back over and San Jose regains control.
  49. Pass towards Wondo who makes a great one time touch pass to Coralles who then puts in a dangerous cross to Lenhart.  Lenhart hits a strong header just wide of the near post.  Johnson looked to have it covered if it was on target.  Great play from San Jose.  Replay indicates Johnson got a hand to it. Corner given to San Jose.
  50. Ensuing corner.  Goal Ramiro Coralles.  1-0 San Jose.  The marking here was awful.  Opara came blasting up the middle and his marker (Paladini I think) lets him go and there are two guys for one defender at the time the ball arrives.  Bad defense from the Fire there.
  51. Nazarit almost chases down a long ball.  Good effort from the youngster tonight.
  52. Oduro earns a corner after combining with Sega down the right.  Oduro staying involved even if he is playing a position that is normally his.
  53. Ensuing corner might as well have been hit just to San Jose defenders.  The Fire guys in the box looked completely lost as to what to do.  Paladini blasts the rebound just over the bar.  Busch had it covered if it was on frame.  Fire offense looking a bit disjointed.
  54. Oduro tries to cross over to Pappa  to no results.  Paladini gets called for a foul as he blatantly pushes down a San Jose defender.
  55. The guy with the huge last name hits a perfect cross that goes over Cuesta's head and Wondo gets his foot on it but pokes it right at Johnson.  Should have been 2-0 there.  Ristic caught out of position there as Cuesta thought he had help behind him.  Replay shows Ristic didn't even go with his man who happened to be Chris Wondolowski.  Are you kidding me?
  56. Oduro working hard on the right to win control of the ball and passes to Sega.  Sega controls the ball and goes back to Oduro after avoiding a defender.  Oduro one times it to Chaves.  Chaves dribbles forward, avoids a man and then passes to Nazarit.  Nazarit takes one dribble to his left and then rips a shot.  A diving San Jose defender partially blocks his shot with a leg.  The ball goes off the near post and then hits the far post but Oduro is there to slam it in for the goal. 1-1. The Oduro Stare from Dom to the fans.  Oduro earned that goal with a ton of hard work on that play alone. Another good game from Dominic even though he doesn't have his top level speed tonight.
  57.  
  58. Goal kick from Johnson.
  59. Fire continuing to press forward.  Oduro with an unfortunate turnover.  He looks gassed.  Nazarit trying to track the ball down in the corner he does.  Cross gets cleared.  
  60. Lots of long balls again.  Both these teams looking a bit tired.
  61. Cuesta tracks the ball down and makes a terrific play to stop a scoring opportunity.  
  62. San Jose pressing Wondolowski gets the ball on the left hand side tries to cross it in but Sega is there and clears the ball long to Chaves.  Chaves makes a great pass from behind the center line over the San Jose central defense for Oduro.  Oduro just doesn't have the speed to get to it before Busch does.  Busch clears it out for a throw in with his foot.
  63. Chaves fouled for a free kick just outside the circle on the offensive end.  Paladini takes the free kick over to Ristic who is unable to control and it goes out of bounds.  Fire get the ball back and Nazarit is weirdly called for a handball.  
  64. Oduro is all over the field tonight.  He bursts to the left and earns a throw in on the side of the field he currently is not playing on.  Marco Pappa has been invisible this half so far.  
  65. Oduro has flipped back over to the right.  He gets the ball to Pappa who manages to get a shot off and earn a  corner.
  66. Ensuing corner Nazarit gets a head on it but just barely.  Still that may be the closest the Fire have come all season to getting a head on the ball off a corner.  Ball kicks around for a bit until Nazarit gets it back but he is in an offsides position.  He ended up blasting the ball way over the bar from point blank range.  
  67. Paladini with a blatant trip.  Somehow avoids a yellow.  Free kick from San Jose goes out for a corner.  Header from Lenhert goes wide.  Goal Kick.
  68. San Jose substitution.  In: Sam Cronin Out: Khari Stephenson.  
  69. San Jose controlling the ball a bit in the Fire defensive end.  Fire snuff out the opportunity.  Oduro tries to chase down a long ball down the left hand side.  He is killing it tonight.
  70. Lehnhart fouled by Cuesta.
  71.  
  72. Ensuing free kick is a bit dangerous but the Fire defense handled it well.
  73. Oduro tries to back heel to Sega but his inner Blanco fails him.
  74. Fire Substitution In: Orr Barouch  Out: Diego Chaves.  Chaves has been battling a foot injury but if that wasn't the issue I don't really like this sub.  Foul in the midfield on the Fire but advantage is played.  Ampaipitakwong gets the ball on the right hand wing, Sega is there with him.  He drops the ball towards the top of the box for Coralles.  Coralles mis controls and is heading towards the goal line when he drops a magnificent back heel back to Ampaipitakwong who puts in a great cross (OK tell me this guy starts for SJ on a regular basis) to Wondo who hits a picture perfect header just inside the far post.  2-1 San Jose.  Not a whole hell of a lot you can do about that one.  Three excellent individual efforts made this play for San Jose.
  75.   
  76. Fire substitution In: Baggio Husidic Out: Daniel Paladini
  77. Replays of Chaves getting subbed off as he was pretty pissed throwing a water bottle.  I'm with you Diego!
  78. Husidic and Nazarit get in each others way off a Sega cross.  
  79. Somehow Marco was not fouled getting crushed between two bodies.  Weird non call.  Marco gets the ball on the outside and then dribbles it out of bounds.  Marco gets the ball back off the throw in and puts in a looping pass to Oduro who is just inside the top of the box.  Oduro tries to volley it but has the ball cleared before he can get his foot on it.  
  80. Corner for the Fire.  Pappa takes the corner and its punched away by Busch.  Pause is there to collect the punch.  All the bigs stay up front waiting for the put back.  Pause dumps it back over to Pappa.  Pappa inexplicably dribbles around and then drops it back to Pause.  All the defenders still waiting in the box.  Pause drops it to Husidic.  Husidic passes forward to Pappa.  Again all the guys are still in the box.  Pappa has space to hit the cross with his left foot but again decides to dribble around and inexplicably passes it to Husidic who is surprised by the pass but manages to collect it.  He dribbles to the right a bit and then FINALLY hits a cross into the box where everyone is STILL WAITING.  It is a great cross that Gibbs gets to with a diving header and puts the ball past Busch near post. Goal Fire. 2-2.  Gibbs is stoked about his goal and celebrates with no shirt, blows kisses to the fans, carries Pause halfway down the line and then hugs de los Cobos and another assistant who I don't recognize. Big moment for Corey here.  By the way his back tat is amazing.
  81. continued celebrations Corey eats his yellow for celebrating.  Fire Substitution In: Gaston Puerari Out: Dominic Oduro
  82. Fire hold a bit of possession as the press for goal number 3.
  83. Johnson off his line to grab a goal.
  84. Puerari fouled from behind. Marco takes the free kick and Busch punches it away.
  85. San Jose tries to counter but the Fire have numbers back.  Gibbs ends up conceding a throw in to snuff out some danger.  Puerari tracks back to disrupt San Jose.  Johnson collects the ball.  
  86. Shot by Wondolowski but Johnson is there for the easy save.  
  87. San Jose Substitution.In: Brandon McDonald Out: Ramiro Corrales.  Fire free kick taken by Marco Nazarit gets a head to it but it is easily gobbled up by bush as he was to far away to make a difference.  
  88. Fire continue to push forward.  Pappa has the ball on the left does some fancy dribbling and then hits an awful cross to no one.  That needs to better from Marco.  
  89. San Jose looking to kill time on the throw in.  Seem content with the draw.  High boot from Husidic in the offensive end gives up a free kick in a dangerous position.
  90. Ampaipitakwong should take this.  Him and Convey stand over the ball.  Convey takes it and its a nice cross but Johnson comes out and punches it away.  
  91. Dangerous back header from San Jose but Busch is right there to grab it.  His defender had no idea where he was.  Puerari tries to find Bone but his pass is a bit off.  
  92. Throw in for the Fire.  Nazarit ends up offsides .  Busch blasts the ball long.  
  93. Nazarit tracks down the ball in the box ends up with Marco trying to pump a corner in it gets cleared.  Gibbs pushes up and hits another cross but to no one.  Pappa gets the ball and tries to shoot but its blocked.  He gets it back puts in a cross it finds Nazarit's head but he is unable to snap his header down and pushes it over the bar.  Final whistle blows.

Decent game from the Fire.  Good comeback.  Hopefully the firing of DLC motivates this team to be stronger throughout the game.  

 

I did find Marco Pappa's performance to be lacking.  He wasn't getting much done down the left hand side and the switch to the right didn't exactly make him have an impact either.  He looked like he was more content dribbling at players instead of making decisive passing decisions.  Also when watching the game at Toyota Park his defensive effort was minimal tonight.  Lots of slow trotting to get back.  It is really to bad as he is better than that and has proven before that he can track back with the best of them.  Oduro worked very hard tonight even having to play on the left a side he clearly isn't comfortable with.  Yet he did the switch and then continued to work hard and ended up with a goal.  If I was rating guys with numbers I'd give Marco a 3 and Oduro a 7.  Oh wait everyone gave them 5's and 6's?  My bad.

 

The first goal was pretty inexcusable.  Paladini essentially let his man run into the congestion in the box and score a garbage header.  Inexcusable really.  The team is way to vulnerable on set pieces and hopefully Frank will work to fix that.  Again good fight shown from the team and an incredible 4 posts hit off of two shots tonight. The Fire had the better of the first half tonight which really was a first for a long time.  Unfortunately they were unable to score any goals before conceding one.  This is something that needs to be stopped.  I'd like to see the team play from the front again.  

 

My initial reaction to the DLC firing is below.  I wrote it up on Monday but felt it was to short to post.  Instead I added it here.  

 

Monday morning I thought this team was committed to a rebuilding process.  It clearly wasn't.  The firing of DLC indicates that "someone" lost their nerve.  While DLC might not have been the man for the long term process firing a coach after 1 1/3rd of a season is to soon in MLS.  Clearly the brain trust of owner Andrew Hauptman, Managing Director Javier Leon, and Technical Director Frank Klopas decided this was needed to move forward.  The question of why still hangs in the air.  Hopefully someone will at least try to answer that Tuesday (results seems to be the unsaid answer, which of course, no kidding I get it).

 

Make no doubt about this, Klopas' job is on the line.  If this team doesn't make the playoffs he will be fired. These are his guys and now he needs to make them work in the way he envisioned when he put this roster together.   Klopas is going to have to make some lineup changes to go along with a tactical re-imaging of the defense to start this moving forward. It also needs to happen quickly.  Anything less than three points this weekend will be seen as more of the same. 

 

This move smacks of panic.  Replacing the head coach in the middle of the season is typically not a recipe for success.  Last year Ben Olsen took over DC United in August after 18 league games were played.  Olsen coached the team to a 3-8-1 record over the last twelve games.  A slight improvement over his predecessor, Kurt Onalfo, but nothing good enough to get the team into the playoffs.  Onalfo was also fired in August of 2009 (Onalfo must hate August) from the Kansas City Wizards and replaced by Technical Director Peter Vermes.  Vermes failed to get the Wizards into the playoffs as he ended up going 3-6-3 throughout the rest of the season.  Vermes managed to somehow make the team worse as they didn't even score a goal in the month of August.   While Klopas has 23 games to work with recent history is not on his side. 

 

I hope Frank succeeds.  If he doesn't this franchise will become Toronto 2.0.