AS IT HAPPENED: Game 4: Chicago Fire vs Chivas USA

I've been a bit lax on recapping Fire games. I KNOW. I've been busy and lazy all at the same time. So now I'm delving into the game from two weeks ago. I need to watch it again so I thought I would document the experience. Suffer along with me as we relive the horror in preparation for tomorrow's game against the NY Red Bulls. Lineups:

Fire: Tornaghi, Thompson, Berry, Anibaba, Segares, Nyarko, Paladini, Larentowicz (c), Rolfe, Alex, MacDonald.

Chivas: Kennedy (c), Burling, Velazquez, de Luna, Iraheta, Mejia, Soto, Avila, Alvarez, Aguedelo, Bowen.

Weather: cold and windy.

Second: MacDonald gets the ball and runs into the defender. Crowd and fans want a foul but it is not happening. Also IT IS VERY WINDY.

Third: Alex makes a great run but Sega's pass is 'intercepted' by the defender. This pass could have been better. Later in this minute, Alex gets the ball outside of the box, makes a great pass to MacDonald who shoots right at Dan Kennedy. Bit of a weak shot.

Fourth: Chelis DOES NOT LIKE THE COLD. He is bundled up like it was -15 degrees out.

Fifth: Soto trips Nyarko. Free kick earned. Ensuing free kick is a good ball from Paladini that defended excellently by Alvarez. Larentowicz was lurking and was dangerous.

Seventh: Alex gets the ball again and drives down the middle of the field finding Rolfe on the left flank.  Nothing comes of it but this is the type of play that wasn't seen much in the first three games.

Tenth: MacDonald earns free kick 15 yards outside the box. Paladini with another excellent free kick that forces a save from a shot that looked like it came off of Berry's head. Replay shows it came off the defenders head.

Eleventh: Nyarko gets clattered down by Bowen as he was chasing down the ball. He stays down for a bit.

Fourteenth: Nice flick on with the boot from MacDonald. Rolfe unable to get on the end of it but good play from our DP who really has been shit so far this year.

Fifteenth: Paladini with another terrific cross after reset on a corner. Just misses Berry's head. Paladini really impressing in the first 15 minutes.

Seventeenth: Alex kicks at the player who has grabbed the ball after a Paladini turnover (first real mistake of the game). KICK HIM IN THE FACE NEXT TIME ALEX.

Twentieth: Chris Rolfe an absolutely terrible pass back to Larentowicz which is promptly intercepted. They were trying to play the one-two and it failed miserably. Rolfe has been an issue this season so far.  Before this Chivas had a nice spell of possession.

Twenty-Second: Yellow on Paladini after a tough challenge that the ref played advantage on. Live it looked legit.

Twenty-Fifth: Chris Rolfe gets a pass at his feet and is immediately dispossessed of the ball. That isn't good enough from a player of his caliber.

Twenty-Sixth: Burling scissor tackles Nyarko down. He got the ball but he also gets a foul and a yellow for his efforts. Good card from the Ref.

Twenty-Seventh: Off the ensuing free kick Paladini hits another good one this time it ends up almost at the feet of Larentowicz but a the diving head of a Chivas defender (couldn't make out who) disrupts the play and Larentowicz falls.  Good play from the defender, you could argue for a peno but it would have been very harsh.

Twenty-Ninth: Terrible turnover from Paladini. Just ugly. Needs to do better. He had options and took to long to make the pass just on the Fire half of midfield.

The word gaffer was just said by a US based broadcaster. DAN KELLY YOU ARE TRYING TOO HARD.

Wells Thompson has been really good with his passing but his positioning has been utter shit.

Thirty-Second: MacDonald holds the ball, makes a great pass to Sega on the wing. Sega's cross is a bit high and wide by Larentowicz puts it back into the box and finds the feet of MacDonald who gets off a shot while falling backwards. Ends up being a weak shot but this was an excellent spurt of offense.

Thirty-Fourth: MacDonald with some good hold up play just outside of the box and earns a corner. Corner ended up not working. Short corner was tried but failed.

Thirty-Eighth: Wells Thompson takes a long range shot and it just sails wide.

Thirty-Ninth: Chris Rolfe on a breakaway but is absolutely stuffed by Dan Kennedy. Great movement from Rolfe to get in while having three defenders within close proximity. Would like to see a better shot from him there but this was better.

Fortieth: Thompson taken down by Bowen. EL DIABLO comes out of Wells as he pushes Bowen for the wreckles challenge. WAY TO GO WELLS.

Forty-Second: Thompson tracks down and has a very nice tackle deep in the defensive end. Even though he hasn't been great at RB you appreciate his veteran ability to improve as the game goes on.

Forty-Fourth: Alex does some nifty work on the right wing. Flicks the ball out to Nyarko who then hits a poor cross.  Nyarko had a chance to take a run at some players but opted to hit a corner. Patrick is great on the ball and should really look to utilize those skills a bit more.  Especially when he has support in front and to the side.

Forty-Sixth: Alex fights through a tackle, advantage called by the ref, Nyarko is offsides when Alex makes the pass. Alex has put in the best offensive forty-five of any Fire player this season in terms of creating for his teammates. He best be in this position tomorrow.

Halftime: Best half the Fire have played all season. Things are about to get horrible but we shouldn't forget that this was a pretty solid half of soccer all things considered.

Second half of awfulness underway!

Forty-Seventh: Alex marauding down the left wing and he shoots/crosses to no one. Nyarko was heading that way but didn't burst into the box.

Forty-Ninth: Nyarko with the ball in the middle flicks it to Alex while under heavy pressure  Alex passes ahead to MacDonald who didn't make the run and would have been on sides. Frustrating moment.

Fifty-First: Ball won by Thompson who gets it to Paladini. Flicks it to MacDonald who holds the ball and waits. Finds PALADINI making the run into the box. Dan is on sides, shoots, beating Kennedy, OFF THE OUTSIDE OF THE POST. Wow. Paladini had all the time in the world to do something with the ball as no defenders came with him. I would argue that his instinct to shoot was correct as he did beat one of the better keepers in MLS.

Fifty-Fourth: MacDonald gets free. Cuts the ball back and makes a pass towards Rolfe. Run is late and the pass wasn't good enough but you can see the ideas starting to come together.

Fifty-Fifth: Avila wide open in the box off a cross and hammers a shot in and Berry deflects it out off his knee. Tornaghi looked to have it covered.

Fifty-Sixth: Ensuing corner: Burling gets his head onto the ball and Tornaghi pushes the ball over the bar! Good save.

Fifty-Seventh: GOAL MEJIA. Gets the ball outside the box and hits an amazing strike that finds the top corner. Terrible positioning from the Fire defense. No one was near him or even within distance to close down.

Unfortunate timing on the goal as the Fire were dominating chances in the first ten minutes of the second half.

Sixty-Second: Santos is on for Paladini. THIS IS A COMPLETELY TERRIBLE SUBSTITUTION. Paladini was the impact midfielder in the first and second half. Might have been the best offensive player on the field for the Fire. Hate this move. Would have rather seen Larentowicz or Rolfe come off.

Sixty-Fourth: GOAL NYARKO~! Santos dribbles into THREE CHIVAS DEFENDERS, somehow finds MacDonald who inexplicably is able to turn with the ball on THREE CHIVAS DEFENDERS and slip the ball to Nyarko who calmly finishes past Kennedy. Good goal but it should have never happened. The Chivas defending was just abysmal there. Dan Kennedy has to be heavily displeased with his defenders.

Sixty-Eighth: Quincy Amarikwa is on for MacDonald. WHAT ARE YOU DOING FRANK? A completely insane substitution. MacDonald was starting to put his mark on the game. He just created a goal, was holding up the ball well and linking with other players.

Almost directly after the substitution. Thompson wins the ball, gets it to Nyarko on the right flank who beats his man and gets the cross off. Santos dummies the cross and Amirakwa dives in but misses the ball. Good attempt.

Thompson is really pushing up the field and getting involved offensively. It would appear as if the Fire had moved to a three-man back line at this moment.

Seventy-First: Rolfe has the ball on the turn and inexplicably chips a pass towards Sega. The pass was terrible and Sega got knocked down in the box. Chris should have taken the shot.

Seventy-Second: Thompson channels the defensive dark arts and gives Villafaña a push over the sideline. Villafaña gets him back by looking for a foul and receiving it. EL DIABLO working hard at right back.

Seventy-Third: Correa on for Bowen. I've missed some of the Chivas subs due to lack of graphics. I believe this was their third and final substitution. Free kick: GOAL JOAQUIN VELAZQUEZ (1st MLS goal). Off his head and nestling into the netting hanging from the back post. Tornaghi got caught in no man's land. He came out for the ball and then stopped and was easily beaten. Absolutely terrible goal to concede. Terrible goal keeping and the marking wasn't that great either.

Seventy-Fifth: Santos takes the free kick from outside the box. Hits off the wall and deflects to Kennedy who has it covered. Dan Kennedy has a manly throw to Villafaña who gets the ball to Aguedelo who bumps Larentowicz off and then curls a beauty past Tornaghi. Live this looked to be an issue between Tornaghi and Larentowicz but the replay indicates that Larentowicz got out done by the incredibly talented Juan Aguedelo.

The crowd has now died.

Seventy-Seventh: Nyarko gets the ball on the wing, finds Alex in the center near the top of the box. He rips a shot with his left foot that is saved by Kennedy. It goes out for a corner. The ensuing corner leads to nothing.

Seventy-Ninth: Free Kick for Alex way outside of the box. Chips it in. Larentowicz gets up for it and puts his header on frame but it is right at Dan Kennedy.

Eighty-Third: Someone send Amarikwa to the Blanco finishing school for diving. That was atrocious. Alex rips a great shot at Dan Kennedy forcing a save. ALEX BETTER BE FUCKING STARTING TOMORROW.

Eighty-fourth: Avilla gets down the right flank and hits a low shot towards goal. Tornaghi gobbles it up.  Amarikwa hits a terrible cross. BLANCO FINISHING SCHOOL FOR YOU YOUNG MAN.

Eighty-Fifth: Alex was chopped down and is in a lot of pain. He hobbles off the field.

Eighty-Seventh: Yazid Atouba on for Alex.  The free kick finally happens and Amarikwa is called for a hand ball. GREAT GAME QUINCY.

Eighty-Ninth: OWN GOAL ANIBABA. Mother of christ. Correa hits a shot that Anibaba tries to parry away but instead it goes into the net. Ugh.

Ninety-First: Santos shoots and it is nowhere near the goal. I'm so glad we are paying him $120k per year.

Ninety-Second: Chris Rolfe shoots way over the bar.

Ninety-Third: Nyarko gets a shot off the volley on target and forces a great save out of Kennedy.

Final whistle mercifully blows.

Alex was great in this game. Larentowicz was very good for most of the game (outside of his involvement in the third goal). Paladini and MacDonald were both excellent and getting subbed off were both glaring mistakes by Klopas. Both of their substitutes were largely ineffective (a descriptor for most of Maicon's career) or terrible (HI QWINCY).

A lot of blame for the Fire's ineffective start lays at the feet of terrible owner Andrew Hauptman. I don't have a ton of issue with this. Hauptman doesn't spend money on big money players. We don't have an A list MLS star or even a B list MLS star. That is INEXCUSABLE and if Andy isn't interested in acquiring those types of players he should just sell the club.

Not enough criticism has been aimed at Klopas. His coaching has been pretty bad at times this season. His initial decision to play a diamond formation was one of foolishness (that most of us supported, me included). Jeff Larentowicz is a proven, good, MLS player. So why has he been so ineffective? We aren't talking about an aging player either. This is a Twenty-Nine year old league veteran. Klopas needs to put him into a position where he will be most successful.  Same goes for Lindpere. Klopas needs to up his own game to get the team out of their funk.

Tomorrow should be interesting.