Dispatch: Chicago Fire (0) at Colorado Rapids (0)
OTF contributor Daniel Casey harangues yet another Chicago Fire draw…
A midweek match is nearly always underwhelming. But even with lowered expectations this match was poor and dull.
The combination of match and travel fatigue with injury left Chicago to field a rather odd line-up. Four central midfielders, a winger, and a target man made up the midfield and attack. Matt Watson has drawn the utility straw, adding left winger to his resume alongside right back and his natural central midfield. By the 60th minute, it was evident Watson was completely gassed, and while he didn’t embarrass himself out on the left, it was clear that he was well out of position, uncomfortable, and ineffectual.
Benji Joya was slotted into the false nine role, listed as a forward on the quality MLS info and stat sheets. The idea that a central midfielder, who has a natural tendency to play as a defensive mid, was slotted there was surprising. Joya is a talent and will be a very good MLS player but he’s not a forward, a false nine, or a winger, and putting him into these roles is misguided. To his credit, Joya brought the only energy on the Chicago side to the pitch.
But only one player with energy means an entire team’s performance will be disenchanting. To begin, Chicago took all of six shots with none of them on target. Of the nearly 250 passes, Chicago’s accuracy was barely more than half (56%), a failing grade by any rubric. The Fire never even attempted to win possession, losing the battle 65/35. Perhaps the only bright spot was that even though Colorado had twelve corners, the Fire never suffered a defensive lapse. In fact, this was the team’s first clean sheet of the season.
Such feeble numbers are the result of having fielded a slew of players out of position. The key issue being that, unfortunately, Joya is not the kind of player who can give Juan Luis Anangonó the partnership he needs.
Oh, and as an aside—Dear MLS announcers, here’s a phonetic ‘Ah-nahn-goh-noh’ so please take a moment and start correctly saying this simple fucking name because you’re being paid to correctly say things. I don’t get paid for anything, yet I say it correctly every time.
Just as so many Chicago supporters believe in the acquisition of a creative attacking midfielder as the team’s panacea, the management seems to only see attacking in terms of target man with a false nine. Anangonó cannot play up top alone; he cannot succeed as a lone striker. He can only succeed with a strike partner at his side not behind him.
I think that Anangonó has been getting too much flak from supporters. Has he produced? No. Has he been given the opportunity to produce? At best, we can say, ‘Sort of.’ Also, we need to get over the faux Designated Player status. It is not Anangono’s fault that the team paid a transfer fee that put his contract in the DP slot. We Fire supporters are experiencing a bureaucratic Designated Player.
Rightfully, we are displeased with the experience, but taking it out on Anangonó is misplaced. We need to be directing our legitimate vitriol at the ownership and at the byzantine MLS rule book, which would inspire Kafka. Every day that we refuse to address this, the tighter the Gordian knot that is the ‘top’ division of North American soccer becomes.
Ok, enough of that…it kinda got away from me there.
To the match at hand, I contend there is no more to say about it. It was dull, uninspired, and tiresome. A collective shrug followed the whistle Wednesday night. I leave you with are my favorite statements on last night’s match from Twitter:
Positive note, this many corners would have gotten Colorado at LEAST two goals last year. #cf97
— Chicago Fire WUFC (@FireWUFC) June 5, 2014
These aren’t the chances you’re looking for. #cf97
— Dan Martin (@fugexlac) June 5, 2014
I heard if you say Anangono three times….nothing will happen. #cf97
— Red Dawn Hornline (@RedDawnHornline) June 5, 2014
— Gabriel García (@egge28) June 5, 2014
These matches make us really appreciate the 5-4 nail biters like NY. Uninspiring, but a clean sheet & could prove to be a huge point #cf97
— Kevin Egan (@kev_egan) June 5, 2014
— Anthony Galante (@AntwonGalante) June 5, 2014
Given the schedule, I guess I’d rather have tonight’s dull match than the excitement of Amarikwa or Shipp straining a hamstring.
— Jim Jazz (@books_and_beer) June 5, 2014
— ChiFireMatch (@ChiFireMatch) June 5, 2014
That is the first clean sheet of the season for #cf97
— Orrin Schwarz (@Orrin_Schwarz) June 5, 2014
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