Breakdown: Fire at Crew


T.J. Zaremba dissects the dumpster fire that was Chicago’s performance against the Columbus Crew

Sometimes numbers are needed to tell a story, and sometimes they are not. In this case, perhaps there’ s no data needed to expand on the 2-0 beating the Fire endured at the hands of the Crew last Saturday night. The game itself told the story perfectly. However, I’m going to use infographics to tell the woeful tale anyway.


As you can see above, this game was over in the first 30 minutes. The Crew took the lead and forced the Fire to chase the game. When you are not a possession team, as the Fire clearly are not, this is the result.


To get the win, one side used strong goalkeeping and a masterful number 10; the other side was the Fire. For the Crew, Fredrico Higuain was everywhere, imposing his will on the match like a designated player should.


Federico Higuain


  • Circle = Shot; Soccer Ball = Goal (Green = On Target; Red = Off Target; Yellow  = Blocked)
  • Squares = Distribution (Green = Successful; Red = Unsuccessful; Yellow = Key Passes;  Blue = Assist)
  • Inverted Triangle = Dribbling (Green = Successful; Red = Unsuccessful)
  • Upright Triangle = Defense (Blue = Interception; Gold = Recovery; Purple = Clearance; Green = Tackles; Yellow = Blocks)

For the Men in Red, the designated player available, Juan Luis Anangonó, was everywhere but had zero impact, which is typically the case for the 25 year-old.

JL Anagano


For 45 minutes, attacking midfielder Benji Joya was on the pitch, I guess.  To the naked eye, it was difficult to tell at times. I’m not sure why Coach Yallop continues to send Joya out there when he is so far out of his league right now. It may be due a to lack of healthy options at attacking midfield. That said, why not slot Harry Shipp at CAM? After all, Yallop’s got plenty of wingers.

Joya Distribution

Joya Distribution

Joya Heat

After seeing the two graphics above, I actually needed to look back at the listed starting formations to verify that Joya, not Dilly Duka, was slotted in the middle. In Duka’s 61 minutes, he spent too much time stepping on Joya and Shipp in the middle instead of staying wide right like Patrick Nyarko typically does.  


Dilly Duka

As you can see below, Grant Ward’s debut 30 minutes were more effective, as he stayed wider in the attack half. 

Grant Ward

Grant Ward

Click here to see Quincy Amarikwa’s impact on the game. No chalkboard necessary.

The two keepers’ respective performances epitomized the match itself. Steve Clark was strong in his penalty area, leading his defense, and his distribution was smart.

Steve Clark

Steve Clark


  • Squares = Distribution (Green = Successful;  Red = Unsuccessful; Yellow = Key Passes; Blue = Assist)
  • Upright Triangle = Defense (Blue = Interception; Gold = Recovery; Purple = Clearance; Tackles = Green; Yellow = Blocks)
  • Diamond = Goalkeeping (Green = Save; Yellow = Catches; Blue = Punches)

Sean Johnson, however, was what we have come to expect. His athletic talent is undeniable, but his game management and distribution leave something to be desired.

Sean John

Sean Johnson

Johnson plays too many long punts and goal kicks instead of building the ball out of the back. At some point, I do not believe this is by design. I don’t think he sees the outlet pass quick enough, which forces him to play long.

Perhaps this tweet from Stupid Americans’ fearless leader Brian Smith sums up the match with the eloquence it so richly deserves.



Follow OTF Soccer on Twitter @OTFSoccer


T.J. Zaremba was BarnBurner #110 and 1998 second-half season ticket holder in Section 8 of pre-mothership Soldier Field. After over a decade on walkabout, with a handful of guest appearances, he returned in 2011 and has been a regular (when his commitment to Uncle Sam allows it) at Toyota Park with his wife and the Hamster. Follow T.J. @TJZaremba

*infographics courtesy of and

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