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Morning Ticker: Sweet revenge for Fire, Guzan earns praise and Onyewu’s Liege wins


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Three years of playoff disappointments were healed on Thursday with three goals as the Chicago Fire toppled the short-handed New England Revolution, 3-0, at Toyota Park.

Displaying the dangerous offense and stingy defense that has the Fire a game away from the MLS Cup final, Chicago overwhelmed the Revs after the sides played an even first half until Chris Rolfe’s goal just before halftime set the tone for the rout.

The defeat seemed inevitable for a Revs team missing key starters and playing with an injured Shalrie Joseph. After three straight trips to the MLS Cup final, the Revs just couldn’t avoid a rash of major injuries that doomed New England to its first Eastern Conference playoff loss since 2004.

Now the Fire will take on the winner of the Columbus-Kansas City series in the Eastern Conference final next Thursday.

Here are some of the other stories from Friday morning and Thursday to get your day started:

High praise for Guzan after UEFA Cup win

Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill sang the praise of American goalkeeper Brad Guzan after Guzan’s stellar performance in Villa’s 1-0 UEFA Cup win vs. Slavia Prague on Thursday.

"I think he’s a great goalkeeper in the making and I’m delighted he got his work permit, and I think he’s following in a long line of great American goalkeepers,” O’Neill said.

"I thought he was brilliant and all the things we felt we saw in him when he was in America, we’re delighted they’ve come out.”

Here are some highlights from the match, including several quality Guzan saves.

The victory and shutout came in just Guzan’s second appearance for Aston Villa, with the first coming in the Carling Cup.

Onyewu’s Liege tops Sevilla

U.S. national team defender Oguchi Onyewu helped Belgian side Standard Liege post a 1-0 victory against Spanish power Sevilla in UEFA Cup play on Thursday. The victory came in Liege’s first match of the group stage.

Onyewu was the lone American field player to take part in UEFA Cup action on Thursday, with Guzan being the other American to play in the UEFA Cup on Thursday.

These are just a few stories to get your day started. What did you think of Chicago’s performance last night? Impressed with Guzan’s UEFA Cup debut? Can you see Standard Liege making a deep run in the UEFA Cup?

Share your thoughts on these stories, and any other stories from this morning, in the comments section below.


  1. brentmcd- i agree, i never understood how single foot players made it so far….

    Mapp has a right, its just not accurate and less powerful 😛

  2. kebzach – could be like me who took the day off work and made the drive from Indy 😀 not everyone has the ability to drop work like that tho :-/

    AI17, pray KC wins, and then call in sick

  3. shocking thing to me is that Justin Mapp has absolutely no right foot whatsoever. how does someone become a professional soccer player using one foot only? I admit his left is pretty good (sweet cross on the second goal), but if I’m a defender it’s pretty easy to take that left foot away, and then the guy becomes basically useless (refer to Zanetti in last year’s Copa America). amazing

  4. Ashame that we’re held hostage by ESPN for these Thursday night matches. I had to watch a game on TV. Why can’t both conference finals take place on a Saturday night? College Football isn’t taking away from the MLS crowd and even those without Soccer Specific Stadiums, they can play on a Sunday or Saturday when the team they’re sharing a stadium with isn’t top dog.

    Posted by: Al17


    Yes, what a shame that a television network wants to pay a rights fee to show MLS soccer on TV. An absolute shame if you ask me.

    Don’t give out grief about not being able to go to games. Just admit that not every game can be scheduled for everybody. And, for many of us, myself included, it often requires taking a few hours off of work to get to games. If the game is important enough for you, you’ll make it work in most cases.

  5. What Jay-Z said. The key to beating the Fire this year is to beat them up a little bit. The Fire seem to have figured this out here lately and are playing tougher. Look how little Blanco rolled around and did his little act last night (I realize he still did some). Even McBride fell a few less times than he could have.

  6. I forgot about Castro’s dangerous play kick. I think after he was subbed, Rolfe pulled his jersey off a bit and you can see bruising, possibly from where Castro’s foot hit him in the chest. It’s pretty nasty if you’ve got a chance to see it.

  7. Thanks for the highlights of the Villa game. From that little peak it doesn’t look like Guzan has lost anything sitting on the bench. I’m excited to continue to watch him develop.

  8. The Revs are in dire need of an influx of new players. I liked what I saw from Nyassi, but overall they lack the spark that the Fire clearly have. It’s time for the Revs to rebuild and spring for a DP.

  9. Yeah, that said, Castro should have had a card on the kick to Rolfe’s chin, and Joseph should have had one for what looked like a hockey check on Blanco. But we won, and neither player was injured, so it’s water under the bridge… until next year.

  10. Thorrington’s tackle was nasty. He’s not conservative in his tackling in the opponent’s half, and unfortunately he nailed Laurentowicz. At the same time he can be incredibly clinical in his own 18, and makes astonishing and clean pickpocket tackles that are the equivalent of a striker nailing a bicycle kick. I guess that’s an indictment of his foul on L. last night when you think about it, but I don’t think he ever goes in to injure. He’s much more cavalier in the offensive half.

  11. My bitching –

    Igwe should have seen a straight red for the tackle on Rolfe and as someone else mentioned, I was also impressed at how fast Rolfe got back on his feet.

    Thorrington’s tackle should was a yellow card offense.

    Castro damn nearly took of Rolfe’s head and didn’t even get a warning – should have been a yellow at the very least.

    The game –

    Great win for my Fire although we should have closed this game out in the first half considering how the Revs played.

    Ashame that we’re held hostage by ESPN for these Thursday night matches. I had to watch a game on TV. Why can’t both conference finals take place on a Saturday night? College Football isn’t taking away from the MLS crowd and even those without Soccer Specific Stadiums, they can play on a Sunday or Saturday when the team they’re sharing a stadium with isn’t top dog.

  12. Julio, you asked to be corrected if you were wrong, so allow me to oblige……Conde did not say that. I believe you are thinking of his fellow defender Bakary Soumare, who did express his desire to become a US citizen and play for the Nats. But since its going to take a few years to happen, he recently decided to play for his home nation of Mali.

  13. The Revs have possibly the worst luck in the MLS. We might have been able to pull it off with the following (pick one): Ralston, Twellman, Shalrie Joseph at 100%, Jeff Larentowicz for 90′. I’m not going to pretend that Khano Smith (not that he ever deserves to play in the MLS ever again) and Chris Tierney wouldn’t have been a help; Igwe was not anywhere near decent all season.

    Stevie Nichols, I think your time is near. With Parkhurst looking overseas, I fear a total defensive collapse and a year or two of mediocrity in New England.

  14. “Anyone else think that two-footed leave-your-feet tackle on Rolfe early in the second half was classless and should have been a straight red?”

    I wouldn’t think I would see myself agreeing with anything kpugs says, but I find it odd that with all the discussion on Thorrington’s tackle, no one mention’s Igwe’s. To me, Igwe’s tackle was worse in intent/execution, it was only the outcome that differed.

  15. Attendance was 17k+ which is pretty awesome for a weekday game. The team really did some good stuff, they even set up things all over the city this week to sell tickets and market.

    And section 8 was sounding great last night.

  16. I wonder if Guzan will be the keeper for the last 2 group stage games? Friedel is close to setting a record for league games in a row, but with Villa on 6 points after 2 group stage games and FK Zilina coming to Villa Park, qualification appears to be a cinch. If they beat Zilina and get to 9 points, surely he’ll get the start at Hamburg.

  17. Am I missing something about the attendance? The supporters behind the goal looked and sounded awesome, but I could swear I saw tons of empty seats elsewhere in the stadium.

    BTW, I am unreasonably happy to see the Revs take a seat for the rest of the playoffs. I’m no fan of theirs, but I expect Chicago to win it all this year.

  18. “do you mean by Bob Bradley or a European club? Bob did call him for T&T game, but he declined.”

    Well, of course Cooper got calls by European team too, and FC Dallas declined.

  19. – Cooper gets a look.

    Posted by: Fly the Coop


    do you mean by Bob Bradley or a European club? Bob did call him for T&T game, but he declined.

  20. I agree that the early second half tackle on Rolfe should have been a red, not so much on Thorrington’s tackle. The tackle in the second half was about as ugly as I’ve seen and I’m amazed Rolfe walked away from it as quickly as he did. The Revs seemed to have a tackling mindset last night, probably due to the fact that Chicago has played poorly when they get beat up and can’t get into a rhythm. I’m surprised that it took until the 80th minute for somebody on the Revs to finally get sent off, but not at all surprised it was Albright when it happened. Tackle happy is not the way the game was meant to be played, but it is within the rules, so I suppose you can’t fault them for their approach.

    Thorrington plays hard, and he’s gotten carded before for his playing style. He’s not a dirty player though and the challenge was legit, though late. Laurentowitz’s injury was an unfortunate consequence, but you can’t retroactively card somebody due to injury.

    All in all, more of the same from the Revs this year. Chicago has thumped them 12-1 on aggregate over 4 games this season, so there really shouldn’t be any crying from Revs fans. Chicago has had the Revs’ number all year, it seems.

  21. That game was really fun to watch, and I must admit the atmosphere looked amazing. Playoff electricity in a packed SSS. I dream not only of that for NYRB when our stadium is done, but for all MLS teams. That is how this sport will grow. Flares, streamers, flags, signing all match long… those things are just something that the other sports in the US do not have to offer. It’s so much different that the run of the mill flashing lights, blaring music, dance team, mascots, blah blah blah that has consumed all the other sports. It is the beautiful game, and last night was a glimpse of the possibility of that right here in America. It’s happening.

  22. I have a feeling those expansion teams in 2011 will be playing in SSS before NE gets a sniff at one.

    Too bad, I will probably end up going to more Revs away games then home games in the next couple of years.

  23. You missed a stellar, passionate end to end Copa Sudamericana second leg game between Chivas de Guadalajar and River. River went up 2-0 in the first half which would have gotten them through to the semi-finals, but Chivas came back in the second half to tie it 2-2. River missed 3-4 golden opportunities to put in a third goal which would have virtually assured their passage through. It was an exciting, end to end match with the Chivas fans crazy all night (and I’m not a Chivas supporter). If the MLS could emulate this style of play and games like this, it would draw a lot more fans. Watching the Fire- Rev game at the same time brought out the contrast.

  24. Ives,

    Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t W.Conde say he dreams of play for the US National team one day?

    If so he is 24 or 25 years old, if he becomes a US Citizen he would be so 2-3 years down the road, wouldn’t by than he be passed his prime?



  25. I just want to mention that Blanco’s no-look pass was sweet. Which in turn got Albright sent off.

    I don’t think it’s bad sportsmanship at all to do that kind of stuff. Blanco’s at home, his team is kicking ass and the fans are going nuts. Why not add a little flair to the game?

    I may be wrong and some might disagree but it really isn’t that big a deal, IMO.

  26. thumpjosh: you are right about what appeared to be a stellar atmosphere. I just relocated to New England and was at the game last Thursday. What a dreadful place to see a game. It reminded me of going to Fire games at Soldier Field, down right boring. Here’s hoping the Revs get to work on a stadium.

  27. Awful tackle by Thorrington on the Pippy Longstockings last nite and should’ve been a straight red.

    I understand the physical play that’s engrained in the American game but seriously, it looked like a rugby match out there at some points.

    I find it funny that Albright tried to berate Blanco for “diving” when he himself tried to get Blanco carded for a challenge where he jumped about 5 feet in the air to avoid coliding with Reis.

    That was pretty classless, then again, it’s Albright. Can’t believe a guy like him can make a living playing this sport. What a hack.

    I’m hoping for a Chi-Col conference final.

  28. Anyone else think that two-footed leave-your-feet tackle on Rolfe early in the second half was classless and should have been a straight red?

    Don’t get me wrong, I hate both theams. But that was awful, and the MLS ref of the year is a moron for not sending him off. But hey, the MLS ref of the year is only going to be better than all other MLS refs, and otherwise worse than any other living ref.

    But in all honesty what would I expect from New England? I may rip the Fire fans, but their organization is okay. The Revolution on the other hand are a bunch of crybaby classless whiners, and that includes Nicol. He’s a good coach but I am sick of his behavior, and it has obviously passed on to his team. New England can suck an egg.

  29. Whats next following good performances from Guzan and Gooch?

    – A performance from EJ that justifies his reputation as a goal-scoring machine?

    – A move by Charlie Davies to a decent club?

    – A stretch of play by Dempsey that returns him to 2006 form.

    – Adu gets off the bench at Monaco.

    – Cooper gets a look.

    Here’s hoping…

  30. holy crap what a game…. i was in section 119 right behind the goal… needless to say i took off work and am taking a half day today due to the large amount of alcohol i consumed…. and i’ll be taking next Thursday off as well…

    have to watch the highlights, but the fire came out blazing…. the revs didnt seem to have many chances and of those chances busch seemed to have an easy night on….

    goals by rolfe, conde and segares…. way to go backline….. heres hoping we thrash whomever we play next…

  31. I think that the tackle on Jeff should have been a red. Studs up, from behind (Okay, it was more from the side.) Look at the Mathis red card from the Houston game last year, this was a much worse tackle.

  32. it was great to see a crowd like chicago’s on TV. new england fans, take note and get it together.

    …also get a stadium for chrissakes.

    go fire!


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