The Fire went to Montreal on Saturday with one objective: Three points. What happened instead was zero points and a look at what a big-name player can do. This was a game that Yallop and company were calling a must-win, a game that could have continued growing the positive momentum somehow built from a win and two draws in the previous three games.
The Fire started out the game strong, controlling the ball and breaking up the attack. Then all of a sudden they were down 1-0 when one-time Fire player - albeit for, like, 5 minutes - Didier Drogba collected a cross from Nigel Reo-Coker. Even with Eric Gehrig draped all over him, Drogba was able to spin with the ball and slot it home past Sean Johnson in the 27th minute. The Fire pressed to find an equalizer knowing their season could be on the line in Canada, and Harry Shipp won a PK as he was brought down trying to make a play. Jeff Larentowicz stepped up and buried it to make it 1-1. The lead didn't last as a Marco Donadel corner kick found the wide-open head of Wanderille Lefevre at the back post to make it 2-1. Just over a minute later, after a bit of hard work from Kennedy Igboananike, his low cross found the foot of Gilberto, who ensured that the game would be tied heading into halftime.
Coming into the second half, I thought, "Hey, the Fire have the momentum, this is their best chance at getting their first win on the road this season - that the Impact just don't have enough to keep up with the Fire." What happened next? The Fire take the lead through an Iggy header from a Shipp corner. Now I'm thinking, "Wow, the Fire might actually pull this off!" Boy was I mistaken. Ignacio Piatti, probably the quickest thinker on the field, recognized that the Fire's defense was more worried about arguing a foul than defending a quick free kick that went to the foot of Drogba who powered it past Sean Johnson. At 3-3 the momentum swung back to the home side, and the big Ivorian, in his first MLS start, completed a perfect hat trick (right foot, left foot, head) when a cross from Callum Mallace found Drogba, whose one-timer was initially saved by Johnson, was quickest to the rebound to head it in for his third goal and eventual winner in the 65th minute.
There was still time fore the Fire to make a come back and try for the three points - but something happened to the Fire's, uh, fire. Once Mike Magee and Matt Watson came in in the 75th minute, the Fire seemed to have just given up. There was absolutely no sense of urgency as the Fire were being outplayed and outhustled all across the field. Something happened - and if I am Yallop, I would be very afraid of what could happen going forward.
Trying to get to the bottom of this and everything else is an unending task with Yallop. The hole that he has dug in the past year and a half is just getting deeper - and if he can't figure things out, than what's the point? What will be the point of keeping him around next year if it is going to be another repeat of 2013 and 2014? How is a professional coach with a 21% winning percentage through 60 MLS games still employed?
Man of the match
This one is easy this week: Sean Johnson. Yes it could have went to Igboananike but I thought that without Johnson in net this game could have easily gotten out of hand in the second half. Despite 4 goals getting past him, Sean Johnson still recorded 7 saves and some of them were his typical highlight reel saves. One thing I have to wonder though is how much longer is he going to be here for? He has the talent to play in Europe, his age is definitely on his side, but how long will he stick around?