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Fri Oct 08 2010

Chicago Fire v Columbus Crew @ Toyota Park: Legal Pad Edition

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Fire subs: Dufty - KWS - Husidic - Nyarko - Carr - Castillo - John

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Crew subs: Gruenebaum - Iro - Burns - Ekpo - Oughton - Garey - Lenhart

Lineup change: Krol was scratched so Ristic will move back to LB and Nyarko comes in at LM. That makes a huge difference.

Toyota Park showing an awesome video compilation of old Fire highlights in honor of the Fire's 13th birthday. I can't help but think about how far the MLS has come on jerseys. Good lord were some of those terrible. Also, remember going to Soldier Field to watch the Fire play on grass that was 5 inches too long with BEARS endzones still intact? That was embarrassing. As much as I hate driving out I-55 to get to Toyota Park, it's incredible to think how far we've come.

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Pregame arguments in the pressbox ended when I broke down the problem with insufficient width in modern 4-2-3-1 formations.

15 mins Fire sub! KWS comes on for Dasan Robinson. Robinson looked to have pulled something (quad?) pretty bad. KWS has played well when he's had the chance the second half of the season, so I wouldn't expect a dropoff in quality in the back.

The entire Columbus Crew traveling fan section have vuvuzelas. It's annoying, and, because of their yellow bumblebee-esque look, totally appropriate.

29 mins GOAL! Fire 1-0 Crew. Lowry gets in on the right side of the box, cuts with the outside of his left foot to turn Chad Marshall all kinds of nasty, and, in on goal, curves it to the far post with the outside of this right foot. Great goal.

So, like, where was this for the past three months?

Oh - and that was the 600th goal in Chicago Fire history. Cool.

38 mins A couple yellows for Crew players in the past few mins. The Fire are finding space to the outside. Nyarko, especially, is looking good. Maybe the Krol scratch was more fortunate than we thought.

41 mins Pappa hits the post on a good counter with Freddie and BMB slashing ahead of him. If they don't get another goal out of this extended period of control, the Fire are going to rue these missed chances.

45 mins Halftime. A really good half of chances for both teams and some terrible refereeing. More in a bit.

"A bit" Freddie has been mauled all over the field, once in the box early in the half for what looked like a certain penalty, once in the middle of the field starting a counter attack (but ref Edvin Jurisevic didn't brandish Moffat's second yellow), and other times. As I've said before, the Fire are best when they play directly through Freddie, as much as possible. The goal didn't come from him, though, it came from remarkable individual work by Lowry:

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It's a tricky second half for the Fire because they need that second goal to wrap this up but they don't want to give Crew any counter attack openings. Crew have too many dangerous players to expect this game to finish 1-0.

Some halftime tactical analysis. Our right side has been better than our left side, probably because of the positioning of Kinney vs. Ristic and their services forward:

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53 mins Fire are continuing this second half the way they played the first: with real passion, commitment, and energy. Their movement is better than it's been all year.

54 mins GOAL Fire 2-0 Crew. McBride the hero finishes a wonderful, full field move that ended with Freddie playing Nyarko's who's low cross found McBride at the near post. Just as I was saying! It was a goal of movement, of style, of speed, and this is really fun to watch. The only problem is whether it's too little too late for the season.

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60 mins Crew sub: Expo on for Gaven. Gaven was dissapointing. Remember when he was the next great young American star? That, uh, didn't pan out.

66 mins Dysktra is finally forced into action. He makes a great kick save on a low shot that came through traffic. Crew are starting to get into this game.

71 mins Now it's back and forth, with Freddie trying to squeeze counter attack through balls into Nyarko, BMB, and Pappa and Crew gaining the upper hand in possession. Dysktra's come up big twice already, and he'll probably be called on again.

Guess what tonight's attendance is. Ok here:
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76 mins Fire sub: Carr in for Nyarko.

79 mins Crew sub: Lenhart for Mendoza.

83 mins Fire sub: Husidic for Pappa.

89 mins Encapsulating the whole night for the Fire, Ristic hustles behind the play - even as Lenhart beats the Fire D and Dysktra and slides a shot surely into goal - and clears it off the line. The points look to be the Fire's, and it's because of an attitude and a desire like that tonight. Really refreshing to see.

Of course, if SJ win and Colorado tie, it's all for nothing.

Full time TWEEEEEEEEET! A cathartic cheer rises from the 15k + on hand at Toyota Park. Lucky them, they got to see the best soccer of the season. The Fire were on all night tonight. They deserved all three points. The players, applauding the fans, seem as relieved as everyone else - this was them reach their potential. For 90 minutes, we saw what the Fire can be. Will we have to wait until next year for it to mean something? Either way, Carlos de los Cobos better start this same 11 Tuesday against KC.

That's all for tonight. Thanks for reading. Happy Friday.

 
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Jeff / October 8, 2010 7:39 PM

The beauty of having a blog no one reads is the freedom to do anything. I love it.

ben / October 8, 2010 7:41 PM

it's called "experimental journalism."

Brian L. / October 9, 2010 2:59 PM

This is hilarious and awesome. Hat off to you.

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