Breakdown: Fire at Sporting Kansas City
T.J. Zaremba dissects another one point pick up for the Fire.
On the surface, the Chicago Fire tying another game is not news worthy. After all, they are the “Kings of the Draw”.
But, considering Sporting KC is number two in the East, did not have a midweek game, returned US International Graham Zusi to their 18 and were in front of their fans at Sporting Park, I conclude the Fire took a point instead of dropping two.
Frank Yallop’s makeshift lineup was addition by subtraction. The absence of Amarikwa and Larentowicz allowed some young players to step into better-suited roles.
Chris Ritter became the facilitator instead just a defensive midfielder.
It allowed Harry Shipp to be in the center of the park, which eliminates a huge hole on the left side of the Fire’s counter-attack defense. Alex manned the left side excellently before coming off at half due to injury.
Dilly Duka was unable to duplicate Alex’s production in the second half.
Finally, it put the captain’s band on Mike Magee. He stepped up with a MOTM performance for Squakwa. To me, the most impressive part was his defensive work when required.
LEGEND FOR FIELD PLAYERS
- 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)
This lead to the Fire’s several quality chances in the first half, including Mike Magee’s miss in the 2nd minute (not included in the graphic).
Overall, it was an even first half with each team taking advantage of awful turnovers in the back, as Squawka’s numbers indicate.
However, the second half was a different story. Aside from two great chances in the 57th minute for the Fire, Sporting KC controlled the game.
The inclusion of a fresh Graham Zusi in the 63rd minute played a big part of Sporting KC’s domination.
From that point on, the Fire went into all-out defending and played for a draw. It leads to a statistical beat down for the entire game.
The Fire rarely had possession in the second half.
When they did have possession, they gave it right back. They completed 36% of their passes after the 60th minute. Let me say that again, 36 PERCENT while playing with 11 players!
The Fire countered that move with bringing on Bakary Soumare, and the Malian center-back was huge in preserving the draw.
Sean Johnson’s performance improved as the defending became more desperate.
A point on the road against the defending champs minus two regulars is a good result. However, the Fire gave away too many points earlier this season, and their league leading 10th draw puts the Men In Red one step closer to playoff elimination.
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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 mlssoccer.com and squwaka.com