Published on March 19th, 2017 | by Jeff Engelhardt0
Player Rankings: Chicago Fire vs Atlanta United
Remember that glorious Real Salt Lake match where we had a hard time ranking players because everyone was pretty solid? Well, we’re working under the complete opposite conditions here as it is nearly impossible to rank anyone considering the team had possession about 17 percent of the time.
Even worse, Atlanta United out-passed Chicago by more than 700. More. Than. 700!
It was an utterly dominant display by Atlanta as they carved up a 10-man Chicago side for 80 minutes. Taking all that into consideration, it is very difficult to call anyone the best player in the match. So please understand no one had a good game, even the player at the top of this list. But because I like a challenge, I am going follow my rules and find a way to rank this lot of sad, sad performances from best to worst.
XI: David Accam – He had a a good header in the 69th minute on a Michael Harrington cross and flashed briefly in the first half after beating Michael Parkhurst in the box. He also drew a foul on Miguel Almiron to stick him with a yellow. That’s all it took to earn the best performance in this one.
X: Luis Solignac – It was always going to be tough first start of the season going to Atlanta and got even more difficult when Arturo Alvarez was subbed off so the Fire could play with an extra defender after Johan Kappelhof’s red. Solignac did his best to help defensively and somehow helped keep Atlanta to only one goal for 60+ minutes.
IX: Nemanja Nikolic – There has to be nothing as frustrating as defending an entire match without a chance on goal for a striker like Nikolic. To his credit, he didn’t slouch or complain and defended as well as he could, even on the right side at times. They did try to use Nikolic as a threat on the counter, but every pass was well out of his reach.
VIII: Joao Meira – It’s hard to put a defender this high when four goals are conceded, but Meira looked the most composed of the bunch and actually had a header near the end of the first half that was the Fire’s best chance. Led the team with four clearances and added three recoveries.
VII: Dax McCarty – Obviously Atlanta’s midfield had its way and Dax and Juninho were brought in to stop that. But Dax still completed more than 20 passes, including the key pass on Meira’s header. He had eight recoveries to boot. He made a nice breakup in the midfield in the first half that led to an almost-break for Nikolic.
VI: Juninho – Like Dax, didn’t break up Atlanta’s relentless pressure, but gets put below Dax because he was less effective with passing. While the throw in that led to the red card was awful, Juninho didn’t help matters by being caught flat footed.
V: Brandon Vincent – He was a bit unlucky to have Julian Gressel’s shot take a deflection off him for an own-goal to start the game. He settled in though for as much as one could and Atlanta quickly realized attacking down the Fire’s right side was much more beneficial.
IV: Jorge Bava — Not much he could do on the first or third goals, but looked slow and unsure on the second and fourth goals. He did have a highly entertaining insane run like 15 yards out of his box. I would not recommend it, but I laughed out loud. So points for that I guess.
III: Jonathan Campbell — Came in to replace Kappelhof after he was sent off with a red. Worked hard all game but was victimized on the second goal with a poor clearance and the third goal with a poor clearance. His effort was there, but you could tell it was his first start in a hostile environment with his team down a man.
II: Michael Harrington — He was really bad. Atlanta just lived on the Fire’s right side of the field and eventually wore out good old No. 5. He made the terrible throw that led to the red card. The team needs an upgrade here. I think we’ve all said it before when it comes to the right back situation. But, I hate to pile on completely so he did have a nice cross to Accam in the second half.
I: Johan Kappelhof — Yes, Kappelhof didn’t have much of a choice in cleaning up the miscommunication mess from Harrington and Juninho on the throw in, but a red card is a red card. Pulling down Josef Martinez might have seemed like the best play, but just letting him in for a chance, in hindsight, was probably the better option. He played 11 minutes and his decision put the Fire in the situation to play 80 minutes down a man. You’re not good if you don’t play, and he just didn’t play.