Are the Fire a good team? That remains to be seen. However, I do like their trajectory. With 18 new players on the roster, they are getting better as the season goes on
And without further ado, here are the ratings from the committee of one:
Robert Beric: 7 – A highly active first half, getting into dangerous spaces. A clinical finish on the slick thru ball from Mihailovic. Seems to run himself out of too many plays by getting offsides, but he is starting to force defenses to account for him, opening spaces up for others.
CJ Sapong: 5 – His hold up play in seeing out the game was fine. There was nothing particularly spectacular or noteworthy, which is good when trying to see a game out. He had several good recoveries in his 23 minutes. I really like him as an option off the bench because he’s so versatile that if you need a goal or to see a game out, he can be an integral part of either.
Fabian Herbers: 8 – He was the HTIOT Man of the Match. Another strong performance from the German. His work rate is amazing. He seems to find the place to be within the system to create opportunities for himself and others. If I had to find one criticism, he left the ball too close to Guzan on his goal, but that’s getting picky.
Ignacio Aliseda: 6 - He was not bad tonight by any means, but the focus of the attack seemed to be on the other side tonight. He was exposed a bit on Atlanta’s opportunity, which was snuffed out by Shuttleworth, in the first half, but all in all, a solid performance. Nothing great, but nothing bad either.
Alvaro Medran: 6 – A solid workman like performance. He was solid with his interchanging with Gimenez and spent more time in a reserved role tonight. No complaints, but again, nothing spectacular.
Gaston Gimenez: 7 – As the season goes on, the larger his footprint is on every game. He spent a lot more time advanced tonight than he has in previous games. The first goal for the Fire was because of him. He dispossessed Hyndman and played Herbers through for the goal. And the rest of the game flowed through him, which is exactly what should be expected.
Djordje Mihailovic: 8 – It felt like every time Djordje had the ball in the first half, something special happened. Some sort of chance was created. His pass through to Beric on the Fire’s second goal was smooth. Just a great performance by the home-grown on a night where the attack went through his side of the field.
Jonathan Bornstein: 6 – A relatively quiet and steady night for the veteran defender. His passing was fine. His defending was good. The amazing save by Shuttleworth originated on the left side when Johnny B’s dive header to push the ball forward was a bit clumsy. However, no goals allowed is a steady night.
Francisco Calvo: 6 – Like the rest of the defense a steady, but unspectacular night. He was bailed out by Shuttleworth on Adam John’s header in the 58th minute. However, that mistake did not cost the Fire. Not called upon to do as much and a shut-out win is always a good night for someone in the back four.
Mauricio Pineda: 6 – This seems to be a theme for the backline. He was bailed out by Shuttleworth on Jahn’s effort in the 19th minute, but at the end of the day, a clean sheet is a clean sheet.
Boris Sekulic: 6 – He had some nice combination play with Mihalovic in the first half, but nothing spectacular or noteworthy. His defending was solid and steady, which is perfect when your team is in front for 83 plus minutes.
Bobby Shuttleworth: 8 – He was called upon to make two huge saves and he did exactly that. He kept a clean sheet and was very active in breaking up chances the entire night. His presence was noticeable. The only reason why this rating is not higher is he did not steal the game. He kept them ahead in a game they should win, but his best performance in a Fire shirt to date.
As usual, TJ was joined by Hot Time’s Patrick McCraney on the Minivan Dad Soccer Pod immediately after the match. Give it a listen!