AS IT HAPPENED Game 5: Chicago vs New York

You know the start of the season has been rough when you look at people before the game and go "Let's just get in there and have a good time". There was a talk of three points here or there but most people were prepping themselves for another failure. Then the lineup came out.

Fire: Johnson, Jumper, Anibaba, Berry, Thompson, Lindpere, Paladini, Larentowicz, Pause, Rolfe, MacDonald.

No Sega, Alex, Duka, Friedrich, or Nyarko. There were Nineteen healthy bodies available for selection. The only two not dressed were Brandon King and Victor Pineda. 

Red Bull:

Here we go:

Mike Petke's cardigan is simply amazing. Nice big black buttons, matches well with his blue tie and well tailored white shirt.

Klopas on the other hand pin striped suit jacked, checkered blue shirt with no tie.  Looking very good. The sidelines are well dressed today.

First: Pause's presence immediately felt as he intercepts a ball and completely disrupts the Red Bull offense. Love you Logan! The heart and soul of the team is back.

Second: Fire earn a corner from a Heath Pearce fuck up. Nothing comes of it but Lindpere is back on corner duty. Too bad as Paladini was doing a good job on them. Perhaps he will get the other side?

Third: Juninho hits a free kick a free kick wide. The announce booth calls him the Brazilian Maestro of free kicks. I like to think of him as the Brazilian Maestro of robbing Red Bull of their monies but to each his own.

Sixth: Taylor Twelman's senility kicks in "You don't want Jalil to be your third center back" This is going to be a long fucking broadcast. What is it with the English language broadcasters on the big networks? They are almost all universally horrible.

Ninth: Lots of non eventful midfield play. 

Eleventh: Jalil with a long throw in as he stands past the boards. Hilariously he has to ask the ball boy for another ball twice. Toyota Park ball boys are awful. They have been for years. Throw in amounts to nothing.

Thirteenth: The MARAUDING Wells Thompson gets the ball and delivers a terrific pass at the feat of MacDonald. Mackie tries to lace a through ball for someone but no one was making a run (which is typical). Wells is a clear upgrade at right back in terms of passing and ability to have interplay with the midfield. El Diablo best start tomorrow.

Fifteenth: Thompson is key to holding possession. He comes down the right side finds Paladini. The ball bounces back out to Thompson who then quickly hits a longish pass out to Berry. Both of these passes were accurate and taken quickly

Sixteenth: Berry takes a professional yellow as he hauls Luyindula down. Smart play from the youngster.

Seventeenth: RED BULLS GOAL. OLAVE with a tremendous overhead finish. SERIOUSLY GUYS THAT WAS A TERRIBLE GOAL TO CONCEDE. Juninho hits a rather awful corner. Tim Cahill gets his head on and weakly heads it into the box. Brandon Barkledge then gets his head on it and nods it again towards the middle. Olave hits a scissors type shot that finds the back of the net. Anibaba looked caught out of position but Rolfe's challenge was also not good enough on Barkledge's header.

Twenty-First: Heath Pearce changing his shoes while Juninho tamely hits a free kick right into Sean Johnson's giant hands. 

Twenty-Second: Hunter Jumper quality cross count: 1. No one is able to get on the end of it but again that is more due to the lack of runs coming from the strike force/midfielders than anything else.

Twenty-Fourth: Larentowicz gets the ball on the outside of the box. Johnny Steel's arm gets in the way and HANDBALL IS CALLED! Rolfe takes the Penalty. Rolfe takes a two step run up and pushes it wide left. MOTHER FUCKER. 

Twenty-Sixth: MacDonald working his ass off and gets the ball back. Finds Rolfe at the top who threads it through to Lindpere but it is just to far for Joel. MacDonald has been tremendous so far. Haven't noted it so far but his workrate has been immense.

Twenty-Eighth: Chris Rolfe makes a TERRIBLE pass right at the NY defender. He had a wide open Lindpere. Things are going really bad for Chris right now. 

Twenty-Ninth: Now it is Larentowicz with a shitty turnover. This time unable to find Paladini at the midfield stripe. PULL IT TOGETHER.

Thirtieth: MacDonald is killing Holgerson. KILLING HIM. The Fire were able to build some possession out of the right back spot. A quick triangle formed with Wells, Joel and Chris. It was nice and led to a free kick. Wells passing continues to be invaluable.

Thirty-First: Hunter Jumper quality cross count: 2. Robles handles but another quality pass. On the counter Jumper gets beat by Luyindula who then fucks up the shot and misses the net completely. AYE AYE. Hunter even started with better position. More attention to detail for the second year man is needed there.

Thirty-Fourth: Paladini with a bad toe poke pass. Turnover deep in the Red Bull end. Paladini gets muscled off the ball by Berklage who hits a cross right at Dax McCarty who heads it low but Johnson has it covered. 

Thirty-Seventh: Wells Thompson gets forward on the flank, and drives towards the box and then hits a shot that whistles over the goal. 

Fortieth: Fire earn a free kick and Paladini takes it. Very nice free kick that goes into a dangerous spot. Jumper is trying to get there but nothing comes of it. 

Forty-First: MacDonald gets free in the offensive end but takes too long to do anything with the ball and ends up turning it over. The counter attack IS ON. Luyindula gets the shot on the wing and Johnson makes a foot save. Relatively solid positioning from Anibaba and Berry on that. That kind of turnover has to be eliminated.

Forty-Third: Luyindula gets an early ball and looks to be free but has his run stood up by some nice positional defense from Anibaba. Peguy is having a rough game.

Forty-Fourth: GOAL PALADINI! This play pretty much comes from nothing. MacDonald had the ball in the box but was dispossessed by Olave. The ball pings back out to Jumper who hits quality cross number 3. It looks like Robles is going to snatch it but Paladini is there to strike home the header! FUCK YES. Tremendous work from Daniel just to get to challenge for the ball.

Lots of people including the Twellman are saying that the cross got caught up in the wind. This is probably not true. If you look behind the goal you can see someone holding a flag near ground level. THE FLAG IS NOT MOVING IT ALL. It is just hanging there limp. The reality of this is that it was a well hit cross that Robles misplayed because he is a shitty keeper (Kevin Hartman should be starting for NY in about a month). 

HALFTIME

Weird half of soccer. Missed penalty, weakly conceded goal off a set piece, great effort goal from Paladini. MacDonald was really good and had a large impact on the game. Easily his best effort of the season. 

Forty-Seventh: Luyindula gets through again and blasts a shot right at Sean Johnson. Peguy fitting right in with many MLS imported strikers.

Fifty-First: Robles is so bad. MacDonald gets into the box and Olave shields him off from the ball but Robles for whatever reason can't handle the ball. EMBARRASSING. Holgerson picks up a yellow card for being awful.

Fifty-Third: Some really good build up from the Fire. They ping the ball around the offensive end. Paladini to Jumper to Berry to Thompson to Paladini to MacDonald who shoots right at Robles. THIS WAS GOOD YALL.

Fifty-Fifth: Rolfe gets the ball from Pause. Rolfe finds a oncoming Lindpere who slips past his defender gets the shot off, takes a minor deflection from Robles and just goes wide. Good work. The Fire offense is running very nicely in the second half. The goal really boosted their confidence.

Fifty-Seventh: Fire defense gets a bit cut open but nothing comes of it as the final pass from the Red Bulls was poor. Thompson got stuck in no mans land and tried to defend two guys instead of just going with the runner. Nothing came of it but you would like to see that handled better.

Sixtieth: Nice spell from the Fire as they build possession up the field. Thompson again involved in the build as he works well with Paladini down the side. Dan's return pass isn't great but Wells effort forces a desperate piece of defending that moves the ball forward to a well positioned Lindpere. Possession ends after another Hunter Jumper quality cross (4) but no one is there to challenge for the ball. 

Sixty-First: Thierry Henry on for Johnny Steele. Henry immediately wins a free kick. Juninho hits another poor free kick right at Johnson.

Sixty-Third: Luyindula gets a terrific through ball from Henry. Thompson does enough to get the ball away from the frenchman.  Santos on for MacDonald. I hate this sub. HATE IT. MacDonald probably had another six to ten minutes in him.

Sixty-Fifth: Henry offsides. Paladini takes a long shot from distance. Goes well over the bar.

Sixty-Sixth: Luyindula beats Anibaba around the corner and then has a shot opportunity but instead choses to dive, poorly. Yellow card given to Peguy. Anibaba is having a rough night against this guy.

Sixty-Eighth: Free kick earned for Chicago. Paladini takes it and delivers a great cross which finds the head of Maicon Santos who heads it wide.

Sixty-Ninth: Henry from just outside the box gets some space and rips a shot past a diving Sean Johnson but it goes off the post! Rebound amounts to nothing. MARK HIM. Anibaba again with the poor defensive play. 

Seventy-First: Paladini is really bossing the midfield around right now. Gets the ball deep, dribbles into space and finds Rolfe in the box who gets tripped up on the ball. Fire midfield starting to gain control.

Seventy-Fourth: Good defensive shell from the Fire. Excellent positioning from all involved.

Seventy-Sixth: Loyd Sam on Peguy Luyindula off. Luyindula looks like he has picked up a knock of some sort.

Maicon Santos hold up play has been terrible so far. He just isn't performing at MacDonald's level.

Seventy-Eighth: Larentowicz gets a ball gifted to him in the offensive end. He tries to rip one his signature shot at goal but he scuffs it and it goes harmlessly wide. Unfortunate.

Pause, Larentowicz and Paladini are really starting to suffocate the Red Bull midfield. Fire slowly starting to choke the life out of New York's offense. Luyindula coming off has also helped.

Eighty-First: Juninho gets the ball outside the box but rips it wide. The replay also indicates his shot was high as well. Looked scarrier on TV than it did in person. Nothing to get worried about.

Eighty-Second: Santos shows up and wins a ball. He drives forward and gets off a shot. It is deflected and Robles handles with ease.

Eighty-Third: Rolfe fights to win the ball off an Anibaba clearance. He flicks it up and Paladini fights through McCarty to win the ball. Paladini dribbling in space now with Maicon on the left. He flicks a through ball to Maicon who runs alongside the ball into the box. He fakes a shot and cuts back making JAMISON OLAVE look like an old fool as he tackles the air. Maicon goes back after the ball and pokes it past an oncoming Robles with his left foot and into the back of the net! GOAL MAICON SANTOS~! Fantastic finish and great work from Paladini and Santos. LINDPERE ATTEMPTS TO DANCE WITH MAICON IN THE POST GOAL CELEBRATION! AMAZING.

HOLY FUCK WE ARE WINNING?!?!?

Eighty-Sixth: Fire defense well positioned to handle the immediate response from New York. In particular good work from Lindpere and Paladini as calming defensive influences.

Eighty-Seventh: Corben Bone on. Chris Rolfe off. New York sub Rubin Bover on Brandon Barklage off.

Eighty-Eighth: Wells Thompson takes a foul from Thierry Henry. GOOD ON YA WELLS.

Eighty-Ninth: Paladini earns a free kick from Juninho who just lazily kicked him. Paladini takes the free kick and finds the unmarked head of Jeff Larentowicz in the box. Larentowicz heads the ball towards the far post. Santos bursts past the turn style that is Holgerson and flicks the ball into the net past Robles. GOAL SANTOS! A BRACE FOR THE BRAZILIAN! IS THIS REAL LIFE? Again with the left foot for Maicon. Olave's defense of Larentowicz was also embarrassing. 

Ninety-First: Mike Videira in. Joel Lindpere off. VIDEIRA WITH THE LOGAN PAUSE HEAD GEAR! 

Ninety-Third: Corben Bone with a golden opportunity but he muffs his first touch. Bummer.

FINAL WHISTLE

Good win for the Fire but definite room for improvement going forward. It will be interesting to see what sort of lineup changes Frank makes for tomorrow's game with the return to healthy of Nyarko, Friedrich, Duka and Segares. Personally I would like to see Anibaba go to the bench. His work in this game was pretty substandard at times. Thompson has been good at right back and should continue to see minutes. The midfield threesome of Pause, Larentowicz and Paladini I would prefer to see remain untouched. No matter how you slice it big decisions for Klopas regarding his starting lineup tomorrow.