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Soccer Wed Sep 08 2010

Chicago Fire v Toronto FC Liveblog from Toyota Park

ToyotaPark.jpg6:18 Heyyyyyyy everybody. See that photo up there? I just took that with my phone. There are currently 18 people in the stands right now. It's sort of creepy, although it's just a Wednesday, the crowd will get here eventually. I do like that now - a good 75 minutes before kick off - is when they announce all the anti-racism, anti-prejudice, anti-feminist, anti-drunkenness rules. The 18 people here took note, I guarantee it.

In the surprisingly traffic free commute down I-55, I was listening to the most underrated LCD Soundsystem song off their new album: "Home."

Here's my preview of today's game over at Chicagoist.

I'll be back closer to kickoff (730). Email me your favorite LCD song or Fire comments at

6:49 Starting lineups are out:

Fire: Johnson (GK), Kinney, Brown-C, Robinson (D), Nyarko, Pause, Thorrington, Banner, Ljungberg (M), Castillo, John (F)

Fire bench: Dysktra, Conde, Krol, Bone, Husidic, Carr, McBride

Toronto FC: Frei (GK), Usanov, Harden, Cann, Attakora (D), Peterson, de Guzman, Gargan, LaBrocca (M), de Rosario-C, White (F)

TFC bench: Conway, Garcia, Hscanovics, Henry, Santos, Gala, Nane

7:21 Bob Bradley just left the press box after talking to us for about 20 minutes. I'll tell you one thing: the whole "piercing blue eyes" thing? Definitely legit. When asked if there was anyone in particular he was watching in today's game, he said no - but I'd be surprised if Baggio Husidic and Sean Johnson haven't been on his board at some point.

Tailgate's esteemed editor Brian Lauvray also wants you readers to know you can holler at us via Twitter at Tailgate's, Brian's, or my account.

Just a few minutes to kick off.

7:34 Whee! National anthems been sung, a short moment of silence for 9/11, and I have to say, it's like 20 degrees. I got my summer skin on and it feels colder than that new Freddie Gibbs.

Also, mad props to Section 8 who are loud as hell.

0 mins Alright cue the Matrix-esque, too loud motivational music. This time it's FIRESTARTER. Seriously. And as cheesy as it is, that's perfect. The Fire need three points here to kickoff a serious playoff run.

Aaaaaaand - Collins John is gesticulating - Freddie's hoppin around - we got handshakes ALL over the place, people - video montage kickin - ref checking people didn't sneak any shanks or automatic weapons onto the field - aaaaaaand - asks the keepers if they're ready - more jogging in place! more quick touches and tiny sprints! - ok, sreiously what's the delay here? - again the players gather around the circle - Collins John gets back to gesticulating - ref looks down - and - and - and TWEEEEEEP!

Let's do this.

2 mins Toronto holding the ball from the kickoff. Tactical note: Mike Banner, who dropped to left back after Segares got his red card last week, iw playing left back again today. That's sort of a vote of no confidence to Krol, but to be fair, Banner did well last week and is more of a threat going forward.

Of course, just as I type that De Rosario gets some space past Banner and shoots wide.

3 mins Got my first email of the day. Someone called Nicholas says the best underrated LCD song is "Someone Great." I'd agree, Nick, except that it's not really underrated. Everybody loves that song. Plus it's got an incredible video.

5 mins Nery Castillo showed a great turn of balance and pace there to break through the midfield after a TFC throw was cleared, but he's tugged back and the Fire give away the ensuing free kick. That's encouraging from Castillo.

7 mins C.J. Brown will have to do better than that with out Conde starting - he scrambled an easy clearance, missing a few times, miscommunicating with Johnson, and giving up a corner. The corner's cleared, as is the ensuing TFC throw. It's out for another corner.

8 mins That one's played short and crossed in. CJ cleared in and got a boot in the face for his efforts. Ouchie.

10 mins CJ is getting treatment on the sideline. AND THANK GOD! The Fire PR people have turned on the heating lights in the press box. Operation: Stop Shivering is underway.

Oh right, the game. TFC is dominating possession - the Fire need to find a way to break out of their own third.

13 minsCJ, head wrapped, comes back on to applause.

14 mins Ty Harden is a big boy. He just tried to turn the corner on Banner and was denied, though. Good stuff from Banner.

15 mins Finally! A breakthrough! John is played in beautifully and takes his shot maybe a bit too early. Frei makes a great low save and the rebound comes back to John but defenders sliding in from all over the place blocked his second effort. Now the Fire are holding the ball a bit better.

Also to Nicholas: I'm sorry. You're right, I didn't demand underrated songs.

17 mins Pause JUST misses a cute chip to get Castillo into space. Good defending by TFC.

18 mins Banner is elbowed on this near side - the ref calls a foul but no card, and Banner and Freddie try to do a cute quick free kick but Banner just kicks the ball out of bounds. Uhhhh, yeah. At least the ball isn't stuck in the Fire half anymore.

20 mins Another foul in a potentially dangerous area, this time on Nyarko on the far side. Two man wall. Freddie lines it up - too far for a shot - and swings in a mediocre ball that's cleared.

TFC break well in numbers but the final ball is cleared out by CJ. It's yet ANOTHER corner for TFC - and the Fire have had problems defending them recently, even with Conde playing.

22 mins It's handled by the Fire, and Robinson this time gets a knock to the dome.

Coming down the near side, TFC have a legit call for handball. CJ clearly got a forearm on Banner's cross after Johnson fumbled a low cross. Another corner!

23 mins White got an open header but it goes wide. Fire take the goal kick real quick like and Nyarko sprints allllllllllllll the way past half, jukes a couple Toronto turkeys, and is just mauled by Cann, who picks up a yellow. Castillo takes the free kick - it's headed out for a corner.

25 mins Freddie's corner is cleared.

26 mins At long last the Fire work the ball - on the ground - up the field, with great one-touch passing from Freddie, Nyarko, and Kinney. Nyarko's final ball is long though and out for a goal kick. Bummer.

28 mins Fire win a corner after some good work by Thorrington down the line. It feels like the game is evening out now.

29 mins John's header from Freddie's corner is over. I guess if the game's evening out then someone on TFC will have to have their head smashed in and bloody like CJ Brown's. Not that I'm advocating such play, because, you know, that's like bad "sportsmanship." Meanwhile, another TFC goal kick is over hit giving possession straight back to the Fire. That's a waste - and Frei's done that a few times already.

31 mins LaBrocca tries his luck - and that's all that you can call it - from, like, 30 yards out. If that's what the TFC offense has become, the Fire will not lose this game.

33 mins I'm enjoying these exchanges, Nicholas. My favorite underrated LCD song? I really do like "Home," but I think "Never As Tired As When I'm Waking Up" might take the cake, even though it sounds like a Radiohead song. Whatever.

Back to the game - Freddie's played in but Frei comes out to clear. TFC playing it a bit risky with their line so high up and it seems that the Fire midfielders finally realized they can run right through it. On the other side, de Rosario shoots from 30 yards and it goes wide. I mean, really, TFC was doing quite well in the first 25 minutes passing this way and that. Now they're settling for shots from distance.

34 mins Guzman picks up another yellow for TFC but sorry, I couldn't see who he took down all the way on the far side. Castillo's free kick is cleared out for a corner.

38 mins Aaaaanyway, Castillo is fouled about 22 yards out at the corner of the box but Freddie's free kick is wayyyy over and wide. You expect better from Freddie.

36 mins Freddie's corner is headed wide by Kinney.

37 mins On the ensuing goal kick, Robinson goes up to win the header and is undercut by de Rosario, landing sort of awkwardly. He's fine and and all, but I'm gonna keep writing about it because it was that sort of crap that messed up my shoulder cartilage and made me get surgery.

39 mins John is working hard out there, and he deserves credit because he's stuck all alone up top when Nyarko, Freddie, and Castillo don't make it up to support him. He wins a ball and turns the corner, but the ball gets away from him and he concedes a goal kick. That's the thing though, if he had had help in the middle he could've played it in a bit earlier instead of taking that fateful, doomed touch. That's right, fateful and doomed.

42 mins Castillo zig zags around with TFC players chasing him around midfield. It's fun to watch, and definitely takes skill, but maybe he should've played Freddie in when the Swede made a quick diagonal run across the box. Either way, the fans are more involved and TFC look totally out of it.

43 mins It's all starting from the midfield, where the Fire are winning every 50/50 and header. Now they have to turn that possession into something dangerous, like this run by Freddie that ends in a corner...

...which John heads wide.


45 mins Castillo's witched with Nyarko and wins a freekick on the far side. He and Freddie link up and Freddie again gets all the way to the touchline but can't get an effective cross in. I have to say, Freddie looks a bit off the pace, maybe a bit rusty after his break from suspension.

45+ mins Some cute work in the midfield by Castillo, but what is this I hear? Some groans? Fans are a little restless of all castillo's tricks that don't result in anything.

And now there's some chaos as TFC play an early ball in and claim a Fire defender swatted it with his hand. I didn't see anything, but their appeals were certainly impassioned.

45+ mins Tweet tweet! Half time. Both sides had some good chances, but TFC's best chance was probably CJ Brown's handball that referee Ramon Hernandez didn't see early on.

Castillo and Freddie looked good in possession, but nobody's going to remember their dribbling unless it turns into something. And by something I mean a goal. Or three.

Coffee time. Back in a minute.

HalftimeOMG I'm back again. Halftime stats hold the secret to every soccer game. Ha - no they don't.

Let's see here. Four corners apiece, two yellows for TFC (de Guzman and Cann), and the Fire have six shots to TFC's four. Feel enlightened?

45 mins Fire sub: Conde for Thorrington. Also I should've said the foul count is Fire: 2 and TFC: 12. Twelve! Yeesh you would think we were playing New England or something.

Conde is playing in midfield, btw. TFC win a corner.

47 mins It's headed out for another corner which is cleared, sent back in, and gathered by Johnson.

48 mins INCREDIBLE MISS! Freddie beat the trap as I said he would in the first half, by running right through it, was definitely onside, had at least THIRTY YARDS to contemplate how he was going to beat Frei, and put it wide. Wowwwww. Fans really wanted that one.

50 mins John decides to put a free kick from 35 yards out, and frmo a terrible angle, towards goal. As someone up here said, "Whoa. Good thing nobody's in the party deck" - because that's where the "shot" went.

51 mins Some sloppy play in the back by Chicago just turned what should have been some simple passes into an opportunity for TFC, who steal the ball and get in a cross - but Johnson catches easily.

So far Conde hasn't made THAT much of a difference in midfield. That was an interesting halftime move.

56 mins Ball's staying in the midfield for the most part now as both teams vie for control of the second half. Too many cheap give aways by the Fire. This one gives TFC possession midfield, where it's swung out to de Rosario and eventually ends up out for a goal kick. Still, it's a waste of Fire possession.

TFC sub: Maicon Santos on for Jacob Peterson.

59 mins TFC's relentless crossing leads to a good chance for Santos (or maybe Attakora) and another corner is cleared. Coming down, Nyarko turns Harden but his cross is collected by Frei.

61 mins Conde shows us some passing for the first time today - his tender through ball is JUST too heavy for John and Frei collects again. Looking better now for the Fire midfielders, now Freddie has some space in the middle to run and play John in - Frei again has to come out to clear.

62 mins John is called offside...when he wasn't. That's frustrating for Fire fans, especially because he had plenty of space to get it and Frei didn't look like he was going to beat him to that one (for once).

65 mins TFC doing their sloppy passing through the midfield thing, but still, the Fire can't turn their possession into anything. Someone's got to step up here.

66 mins Attakora heads over for TFC. They just keep crossing and crossing and crossing.

68 mins Yellow to Nyarko. The tackle didn't look THAT bad, from up here. Ensuing free kick is out for a goal kick.

Yawn. Neither team look like they're going to win.

70 mins Nyarko shows off his pace on the far side and is basically murdered by Usanov, who gets a yellow. Castillo gets a shot on the free kick but it's into the side netting.

72 mins LaBrocca tries to sneak a curling shot from distance past Johnson. But Johnson is a professional goalie, and he just catches it.

73 minsTFC imposing themselves now with cross after cross after cross. Robinson and CJ are doing well but all it takes its one mistake...

And sure enough, on a long through, it's flicked to the back post where Banner swings and misses and Johnson is forced into a great save at his near post. Yeesh.

75 minsNyarko pours down the far side, turns in, finds Castillo in the box. Castillo takes a touch and tries to place it back post, but Frei saves. Castillo should've done better, methinks.

Fire sub: Calen Carr on for Freddie.

77 mins De Rosario rips a dipping shot from idstance and Johnson does really well to catch without giving up a rebound.

Attendance has been announced as 12,891. Not even close to the 21,000+ we've seen recently but who can blame them on a windy Wednesday night/Jewish New Year. I mean, it's not like the fans are giving up. Right? Right?

79 mins TFC sub: Nick Garcia for Usanov. A slightly attacking move, that.

Meanwhile, Castillo puts a freekick from maybe 40 yards right at the upper corner and Frei has to scramble to get over from where he expected the cross to be to punch over. Castillo's ensuing corner is punched out for a throw. Two exceptional free kicks by Castillo right there.

81 mins Did you know that Frei means "free" in German? Yeah, well so did I.

82 mins Fire sub: Our hero Brian McBride on for John. That's a straight swap. Also, it was exactly at this time that John came on against LA on Saturday and scored just six minutes later.

84 mins TFC sub: Joseph Nane for O'Brian White.

85 mins Robinson plays Castillo in through the middle (again through the middle, note) but Castillo's ruled offsides. Another really close (read: wrong) decision by the nearside referee.

87 mins De Rosario receives a ball about 25 yards out with Robinson all over his back, turns, and fires wide. How many times have we seen him score with that sort of technique?

89 mins Fire are controlling possession easily now, even though TFC look to break by playing de Rosario like the play above. This possession leads to a good volley from distance by Banner but Frei catches and doesn't give a rebound to the three Fire players who came in to make sure.

Time running out...

90+ mins Uhhh three minutes stoppage time. That's plenty of time. Where it all came from? I have no idea.

90+ mins Santos tries a volley that might have been dangerous except that he shanked it out for a throw. Both teams definitely short of ideas.

90+ mins With the fans pleading for the Fire to throw it forward, Conde refuses and plays it short to Castillo who dances and dances and dances and dances and gets through some ridiculously small spaces before being taken down just 20-25 yards out just to the left...

...Castillo takes it but it's right off the wall! And the ref blows for full time right away.

That's it.

Full time So: Another draw at home, another chance to make a serious move up the standings gone, and another rather disappointing night for fans and players alike.

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nicholas / September 8, 2010 7:47 PM

yes ben, i agree that Someone Great is not underrated, but then again:
"I'll be back closer to kickoff (730). Email me your favorite LCD song or Fire comments at"
underrated? where does it say that?

nicholas / September 8, 2010 7:58 PM

ben schuman-stoler, apology accepted, now what's your favorite underrated LCD song?

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