James Bridget Gordon: Sooooooooooooooooo that was kind of a bullshit game. Yeah, taking a point out of LA is fine, but the Fire really should've won this one. And also, one point out of nine from the roadtrip is really unacceptable.
So, let's have it. What went wrong here?
John Carollo III: One man one one back post at least twice and Fire win that 2-0.
Alex Picchietti: Also feel like it was a rough game for the coaching staff -- like Jigs said, two set piece goals, and I think taking off Accam was a really poor decision.
John: One step forward; two steps back.
Bench Harrington and Bava; Bad set pieces and subbing out Accam.
One step forward; two steps back.
Alex: Also, Basti kinda disappeared in this one for me. Felt like we controlled the midfield for a good portion of the game, but that slowly slipped away toward 60'.
Mike Tooley: I was torn. I loved seeing us come out of the gates strong a really outplay them. Before the road trip started I would have signed up for draws in any of the games. But given we lost the first two and and then were leading in this one, the only conclusion I am left with is that we left some points on the table that could come back to haunt us later on. Really could have had 4 points on this trip.
Alex: I don't mean to rag on the way things are done here, but what the heck is up with the light show? Can't we just celebrate a goal without a ridiculous laser show? flares going off, the stadium is pitch black? It's bad enough we have a cheerleader on a podium. Are people not entertained enough by the sport itself that they have to have a magic show to get excited?
James Bridget: I've seen that light thing in Premier League and EFL games lately too. Chelsea, notably. It's a thing now, I guess. <shrug>
Alex: Really? Yuck. I know a lot of people were harsh on Leicester for the clappers and goal music.
I just loved Schweinsteiger's reaction. Immediately grabbing the ball and screaming at the ref.
James Bridget: That was pretty great.
So I have two thoughts about the game, and for the sake of transparency I should say I'm cribbing from Matt Doyle at Major League Soccer Soccer Dot Com here.
So first, I think this was less a quality issue and more a problem with the Fire taking their foot off the pedal. Plenty of good teams are guilty of that at one point or another, but I do think this is peculiar to cf97 because Pauno really loves to bunker when he should go for the jugular. (See also: the Accam substitution.)
And second, LA were demonstrably better when Van Damme and Jones came off. The back line was less shaky, and Jones checking out game Dos Santos more freedom to roam. And yeah, the goals came from set pieces, but apart from that the Galaxy's attack was able to stack a lot more pressure on the Fire. Made them tired, made them harried, made them nervous, all of which made the set piece goals just a little easier.
Alex: I'll pick up on your second thought: really good point. I thought when Boateng came on, he changed the game. Extremely active, and a thorn in the side of the Fire. Totally different threat than Jones and gave us some issues.
James Bridget: And I think this could be the real tragedy of the game-- Onalfo might actually finally realize his team are better without Jones and Van Damme, stop giving them starting minutes, and the Galaxy will stop sucking. We may have inadvertently screwed over the rest of the league.
Alex: Yeah -- if I don't have to see Jermaine Jones play ever again, I'll be just fine. (That wasn't directed at Bruce Arena at all...seriously...)
James Bridget: AHEM that's Fire Legend Jermaine Jones, thankyouverymuch.
Alex: Ah, I hate it when I get his title wrong
James Bridget: Right behind Didier Drogba in the queue for future Ring Of Fire inductees.
Ruben Tisch: This is the first time Pauno has made an error like this that I can remember. It's his second year in his first senior level job, I'm actually impressed he hasn't bottled it more often.
James Bridget: It helps that expectations for him were pretty low.
"Ok Pauno, this is your first senior team gig and this team needs a lot of work, so for your first season just try to finish above last place."
<Fire finishes in last place>
"Well, that's ok. We'll try again next year."
Ruben: And this year they're playing better and are not last so far. So, Improvement.
James Bridget: For sure. And even with recent struggles, we're not quite in Panic Mode yet. Seattle was in last place in July last year and they won the whole enchilada.
Ruben: On another note, Drew Connor looked good. I thought he played well, and while he was beat for pace a few times, he recovered well, and was never noticeably out of position.
James Bridget: Yeah, agreed. Connor did pretty well. And by "pretty well" I mostly mean "better than Michael Harrington." Which at this point is the only metric that matters.
John: I know we're past this topic, but I do want to give a shoutout to Basti for his handling of the lights situation. Completely classless move by LA and should be a majorly fineable offense. My automatic thought when it happened was, "take away the goal; they don't deserve it." That's a technical in basketball and a 15 yard penalty in football, there needs to be a consequence for risking player safety.
Alex: I agree. It's JV nonsense. Like they had a 16 year old in the A/V room messing around. Now I'll go back to yelling at children to get off my lawn.
James Bridget: I think I'm less het up about it than y'all. It was silly but they stopped play right away until the lights came on, which took all of five seconds. Pitch invaders take more time to deal with.
Alex: To be fair, a pitch invader is usually an idiot fan. this was a club employee's actions.
James Bridget: Yeah, and some club employees turn out to be idiots.
Alex: Hah. I do see where you're coming from, luckily no one was hurt and they did get it squared away quickly
James Bridget: I'm not even convinced this was intentional. I really think someone just hit the button accidentally.
Alex: Could be. after the second goal, they hit the lights immediately. it seemed like they were just late on doing it after the first goal.
John: Accidents may happen, but they need to be punished when done on that scale.
James Bridget: Sure, but I really think the proper "punishment" is a stern talking-to. This really wasn't that big of a deal. We're just calling for blood because we're opposition fans. Perspective, my dudes.
Alex: Either that, or it was some sort of Ocean's Eleven attempted robbery gone wrong.
James Bridget: ... actually, Alex, I like this idea. This is now canon.
John: I want to see the movie now.
Alex: Personally, I think we should know where Brad Pitt and George Clooney were during this event.
James Bridget: (The Italian Job was better tho.)
John: It'll be like that first mission in Watch_Dogs.
Alex: That's a good debate...Italian Job vs. Oceans. And all the Van Damme talk had me flipping through 80's movies late Saturday night.
John: Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Vinnie Jones!
James Bridget: A Proper Don, that Vinnie Jones.
John: He makes a good villain.
Back to the topic at hand about Drew, he's a good dude and had a decent run out at RB; but he's a much better 6.
About Van Damme, was there ever a definitive reason he left the game? Were we just that dominant it made him angry?
James Bridget: He was Bad At Soccer. I really think that was the reason.
Alex: Yeah, that was weird. very early to make that sub, but I think Onalfo simply had enough.
John: Just read Onalfo's comments and he said something about leadership and giving up two goals.
James Bridget: Which is the diplomatic way of saying he was Bad At Soccer. Poor play substitutions happen but usually those are done at halftime. That Onalfo felt he couldn't wait that long is remarkable. I can't imagine Van Damme will be around for much longer.
John: That's probably the "leadership" part of it. Onalfo wanted to assert that he was in charge? I'm no expert on the Galaxy, but it sounds like he lost the locker room recently and was trying to gain it back.
James Bridget: Yeah, maybe.
John: So what do we all think of Lamp's return?
James Bridget: Unimpressed, but not demonstrably worse than Bava. So, I dunno.
John: He looked literally the same, but that does not make Bava's signing look any better. I wouldn't want to send out a rookie keeper against the reigning champs, but I want to see Cleveland suit up soon.
James Bridget: I don't see that happening, barring an injury or a training ground fight. Lamp will get some minutes in the Cup but I'd imagine it's going to be Bava going forward, still. At most, Lamp and Bava might flip for a while. I can't see Cleveland actually getting minutes.
Alex: He might have been screened, but he was pretty slow on the first goal. A few other nervy times, but overall meh.
So what are you guys expecting to see Saturday night? A successful return home? Another disappointing result?
John: I say we can take a win. It's a home game, so we don't have that lingering over us.
James Bridget: I think Seattle is still really good and they're coming into the weekend pissed after losing to Toronto. We'll have our work cut out for us.
Mike: Agreed with JBG. Seattle is still in the post MLS Cup winning doldrums. They havn't really hit top gear yet so it's bound to happen some point. They are too good to keep putting up goose-eggs on the score board. Having said that we really need a win now. You can't really take 1 pt from 9 and then come home and get another poor result. It's a big game and it will be really interesting to see the tone of the players and how we look out of the gates in the first 10 to 15 minutes.
Alex: The team desperately needs to get 3 points. It's been quite a slide the last few weeks, although I really think the performances improved each of the last three games. I think we find a way to win.
Mike: Yea finding a way to win this one is all that mattes. I'd even take an ugly win. Seriously three points and that is that. Looking slightly ahead we have two midweek games coming up. So expect Pauno will have his full team to pick from against Seattle, but after that we might see some squad rotation and that can be a crap-shoot.
James Bridget: So, we gotta talk about Zonal Marking. We conceded those two goals because of poor defending on corners. Zonal Marking, specifically.
I want to kill it. Kill it until it’s dead. Then kill it
John: Zonal marking works if you're able to cover all the spots. We were not covering all the spots, nor do we have a defense that can cover all the spots. All we needed was a man on the back post, but instead we get hit twice. Either do it perfect or don't do it at all.
James Bridget: I think the problem is we never cover all the spots but insist on doing anyway. Hence why I want to kill it til it's dead.
Alright, let's wrap things up. If you could implement one ridiculous pyro or stage effect at Fire games, what would you do?
John: Like "The Night The Harlem End Burned" except bigger. Whole section, maybe even the Sky Deck. Drop it right at the 60th minute.
James Bridget: Ok but people will literally die though.
John: But you said ridiculous. I'd be fine with just one flare, but ridiculous implies a bit of danger as well.
James Bridget: It absolutely does not.
John: If there was a way to do it safely, I'd like it to happen.