Published on May 2nd, 2017 | by Ryan Voyles0
Player Rankings: New York Red Bulls vs Chicago Fire
Alright guys, let us huddle together one last time and express our disappointment about last Saturday’s 2-1 loss against the New York Red Bulls.
It should have already been obvious in the original game recap and subsequent podcast, but Saturday’s road match was about as frustrating a match the Fire have had in recent memory. Forget just a point, the Fire had the chance to take all three points and hand the Red Bulls their first regular season home loss in over a year. Instead, we’re talkin’ missed opportunities, brain farts and whatever else a team can do to shoot itself in the foot.
But hey, we’re pretty chill guys here at Fire on Ice, so let’s start from the cream of the crop for our Men in Red in this week’s player rankings!
XI: Dax McCarty – As expected, the former Red Bulls captain did everything he could Saturday night to help his new team prevail over the side that unceremoniously dumped him this offseason. Set up the lone Fire goal on the night, and nearly headed in the tying goal in the dying minutes of the match. Along with completing 71 percent of his passes, McCarty recorded five interceptions, three tackles and one clearance on the night.
X: David Accam – The hips don’t lie, as Accam looks more and more like his old self after battling lower body injuries in the early going. Despite not having any shots, he registered five ‘key passes’ on the night and twice set Solignac up with a golden opportunity to put the Fire on the board. We’ll get to Solignac in a bit…
IX: Nemanja Nikolic – The Hungarian tested Luis Robles with five shots in the first half alone. Finally broke through in the 59th minute when he capitalized on McCarty’s dazzling build-up play and slotted a ball past Robles for his fifth goal of the season.
VIII: Brandon Vincent – As mentioned in the podcast, the second-year player has quietly developed into a reliable left back for the Fire. Helped set up an early chance for Nikolic, but will need to improve on his 64 percent pass completion rate if he really wants to become a key playmaker.
VII: Johan Kappelhof – Was not challenged too often by the Red Bulls, but his three interceptions and one clearance in the box helped to keep the Fire in the game until the very end.
VI: Bastian Schweinsteiger – The road trip seems to be taking its toll on the German superstar, as he had his second straight relatively quiet match in the midfield. Was more active than other Fire players on the offense, but two of his three shots were well off-target and his 71 percent passing completion rate was nowhere near where it was when he was so vital for the Fire in his first three matches.
V: Joao Meira – Given the toughest assignment of the game, Meira was unable to keep Bradley Wright-Phillips off the scoreboard. Meira was slow to pick up Wright-Phillips on the Red Bulls first goal, and fell down in an effort to stop the Red Bulls game-winning goal (though a bump from BWP seemed to be the cause of the fall). Did make six clearances and four interceptions to prevent the match from being a total letdown.
IV: Juninho – Caught a bad break with his interception attempt set up the Red Bulls first goal of the night. Completed 80 percent of his passes, but only one was a forward pass into the offensive area. Seems he’s still trying to find his place on the field in the wake of the Schweinsteiger addition.
III: Jorge Bava – Made two aggressive plays to erase potential scoring chances for the Red Bulls, but also provided his usual mediocre distribution and nervousness inside the box. Tough to fault him on the first goal, but seemed slow to react on what would turn out to be the game-winner.
II: Luis Solignac – The post-game scapegoat (non-Harrington category), Solignac squandered two opportunities that could have helped the Fire claim at least a point in the match. While one could argue a handball on the first chance, Solignac bundled a chance in front of goal in the 66th minute that could have been finished off with just a decent touch. After several impressive performances this season, Saturday is a night Solignac would probably like to forget.
I: Michael Harrington – Nothing left to say that hasn’t already been said here. Remains a target for any opponent’s attack, which unfortunately continues to be a winning strategy against the Fire. Had one interception and one clearance on the night, on top of completing only 66 percent of his passes.