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Fire shows flashes in loss to AC Milan

SeedorfHusidic (Reuters)


During the first half of Sunday’s 1-0 loss to AC Milan, the ball bounced toward Patrick Nyarko. With midfielder Ronaldinho running at him, Nyarko touched the ball over the Brazilian star’s head and ran on to the ball.

“It was great, I was laughing it off with my teammates,” Nyarko said. “It was one of the best moments of my career as of now. I told him he was probably going to do me later, but I don’t care. It was really fun I’m glad I pulled it off.”

It was moments like this that seemed to be the subject of post-game banter for Fire players, who weren’t able to replicate D.C. United’s 3-2 victory over the Italian giants. Still, the Fire were able to put on a respectable showing in front of a sold-out Toyota Park crowd of 20,356.

“Once in a lifetime,” Justin Mapp said. “You might not step on the field with those guys again. We didn’t get the win, but good night with the crowd and everything. “

Long-lasting memories aside, there was still a game played. Although the Fire hung with the Italian Serie A club, they showed some of the same mistakes and deficiencies they showed in previous games.

For the third time in the last three games, a defensive giveaway led to a goal when C.J. Brown wasn’t able to control a ball on the right side of the penalty box in the 47th minute. The ball bounced behind Brown, and Clarence Seedorf ran onto it, taking a touch around goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra, and placing the ball into an open net from a side angle.

Still, the Fire were able to create chances. Brian McBride flicked a ball over AC Milan goalkeeper Dida in the third minute, but the ball also went over the bar.

Nyarko once again showed his speed and excellent ball control, as he played in right midfield in the first half and up top in the second half, and Justin Mapp was also able to weave his way through defenders.

But once again, though, Chicago wasn’t able to finish.

“This is the part of the collective game where we are not good. We are not good because all the time we have some opportunities very clear chances to score and we miss,” head coach Carlos de Los Cobos said.

It didn’t help that forward Collins John was sick and unable to play, leaving Nyarko as the only forward in the second half with Brian McBride coming out at the break for midfielder Julio Martinez.

The Fire, though, have only one goal in their last four matches, and all of de Los Cobos’s constant lineup tinkering has seemed futile.

“Good finishers, they are very difficult to find in the world.  For me it’s no excuse, I am the coach, I need to work and give confidence to the players and try to understand that only with work, we can improve,” de Los Cobos said.

News and Notes

For most of Saturday’s game, right back Dasan Robinson had the job of defending Ronaldinho, who received by far the biggest cheers from the crowd.

Robinson and Ronaldinho had a conversation before the game, as Robinson spent January touring Brazil on a cultural exchange program, and was able to meet his family in his hometown of Porto Alegre.

He was able to make a few effective tackles on Ronaldinho, leading to a pat on the back from the Brazilian.

“Just try not to dive in,” Robinson said, when asking about his strategy against the former FIFA World Player of the Year. “I think that’s always been, kind of, one of my things where I try not to dive in, always try not to let the guy make his move and go with him, so that’s what I tried to do tonight. I think it worked out.”


Clarence Seedorf was asked after the game whether he ever planned on coming to MLS.

“To do what?” he asked playfully.

“I will, hopefully, very soon be involved in MLS in one way or another because I think it’s a market that deserves to grow because of enthusiasm and because of what football can bring to society. It’s always a consideration,” he finally added when prompted that the question focused on him playing soccer.

The Dutch midfielder was complimentary of the state of MLS.

“My feeling is that the MLS is improving,” he said. “Every time we come back there is improvemement. Every time we come back there is some improvement, and that’s important. It is a process, as we know. But the thing I like is that the crowd is understanding the game, great mentality, I would say the American mentality in sports, in general, great sporting culture and that will help football grow fast.”


  1. I honestly wish the MLS would finally switch to a single table scoring system. I’m SOOOO sick of MLS teams being completely complacent with sucking for the first half of the season and just picking it up during the summer to make a solid playoff run. No disrespect to you Chet, but I don’t like hoping they pick someone up during the summer….it seems all too common place to hear something like that…I think that with the length of the US league the teams should make the bulk of their personell strategy BEFORE the season starts and tinker in the summer window, not hope they put together a good team after the season starts

  2. With Nyarko’s excellent form this season, I was wondering… does he have US citizenship? I don’t think he does but I can’t find any info on it online. If he does I think he warrants a call up to the US, if Ghana doesn’t notice him first. Even though his finishing is poor, his combination of work rate, pace & ball control is something no other player on the US has, IMO.

  3. BooThisMan is right; I think you misinterpreted his comment. It wasn’t pompous, he was taking responsibility for the Fire’s inability to score, as any good coach should.

  4. Nyarko is the Fire’s best player. McBride is well psst his prime and will probably retire after this year. The defense has made many errors in the last few games. Forwards have been ineffective and midfield lacks aggression and creativity. I love de los Cobos and his approach. Hopefully, we will get some better players coming over after the World Cup. MLS needs an infusion of gate attractions and veteran quality players. The Fire is going nowhere with the current roster. Mapp may be akilled but he has never realized his potential and always seems to be operating at half speed. I like Sean Johnson more than Andrew Dykstra.

  5. Your response doesn’t even make sense. Are you an idiot?

    As I recall I saw about the last 15 minutes of the first half, and then just a little of the second half. I didn’t actually turn it off. I just stopped watching it and did other things with it on in the background. As for your fixation on “a minute”, I would have thought it would be obvious that that was a figure of speech. I didn’t use a stopwatch! However long it was, it was pretty quick. Regardless, it has no bearing on what I said. Your post is nonsense.

  6. You’re nuts if you think McB is close to being our best player. The guy probably shouldn’t even start on this team, but he’s famous.

  7. Your story is BS, unless you totally missed the first half, you couldn’t have stopped watching after “a minute” since the events you described went down after the reserves were subbed in for the 2nd half.

  8. At times, it can be tough to watch MLS games when you’re not a supporter of either Club.

    I can sympathize with that.

    In addition, what you’ve described is a lack of effort and passion, something I’ve been harping on all season and is primarily exclusive to this season…under DLC.

  9. Seedorf is such a class act. Honest with a dose of humor.

    Obviously, he has no intention of retiring while playing in MLS and for that I respect. I do, however, love that he would like to play ” a role ” within the league.

    Perhaps a minority owner, ambassador or maybe even a personal man within a Club? Any addition of his services would be a welcomed one, for us MLS fans.

  10. I’m not a fan of either team and I have a million soccer games I can watch. That’s a really stupid comment.

  11. After seeing how Chicago gave up the goal, I really don’t understand how they stayed even with A.C. Milan in the first half or even managed to lose by only one goal. The way the goal developed for A.C. Milan made it seem like Chicago had been paid to throw the game, except that if you had bribed Chicago to throw the game and they gave a goal up like that you would be upset that they made it so obvious!

    I only watched a small part of the game. I was amazed that MLS was undefeated against so many top notch opponents and was curious to see if Chicago was going to continue the trend against A.C. Milan. Then in about a minute I not only became embarrassed for Chicago, but also for the league.

    Chicago had the ball in their own half on the right side and then made this absurd pass that was so bad that it looked like the Chicago player deliberately gave the ball away. Under no real pressure, the ball was passed backwards towards Chicago’s goal right to an A.C. Milan player who immediately ran for goal thankful for the idiot pass. Luckily A.C. Milan were not able to take advantage and Chicago got the ball back almost immediately. This time in their own half on the other side of the field. The Chicago player ran with the ball for just a few steps and then just kind of ran it right to an A.C. Milan player, like he was blind or something and couldn’t see the opposing player there. This time the A.C Milan player lofted a pass into the left side of the penalty box. After seeing the last two possessions by Chicago just given away immediately for no apparent reason, I wondered if they were going to pay this time, but the pass was off and the ball was too far ahead of the intended receiver Clarence Seedorf and the ball went right to two Chicago players standing on the left side of the penalty box about twelve yards out. When I saw this I thought they couldn’t mess this up. I was wrong! Clarence Seedorf continued running after the ball even though it seemed like he had no chance of getting it. Once again, Chicago seemed like they were in some kind of daze, and neither Chicago player seemed to want to take possession of the ball that was right in front of them. Even though the two Chicago defenders were close together with no apparent gap for anyone to go through, Clarence Seedorf continued running at them and just took the ball and squeezed right by them and ran in towards the goal line to score from a sharp angle.

    I was so disgusted that I didn’t bother to watch the rest of the game!

  12. I think it is becuase of the players, during the off season we lost blanco, rolfe segares, soumare. Thorrington has been injured all year. we have guys like husidic and lowry starting in CM and they barely played at all last year. yeah the guys he brought in are not good but i think he will learn from those mistakes. I am waiting to see what happens during the summmer transfer window. Before I start to worry about de los cobos.

  13. i think your right, but it isnt because of the players….de los cobos is a sadsack and makes very strange decisions it seems almost every game

    Fire have the tools, seriously look at it…Mcbride, John, Nyarko ,Pappa, and Conde

    The players hes brought in have been an utter mess as well, cue Julio Martinez

  14. “Good finishers, they are very difficult to find in the world. For me it’s no excuse, I am the coach, I need to work and give confidence to the players and try to understand that only with work, we can improve,” de Los Cobos said.


    That’s funny, we had no trouble scoring goals before you showed up.

    This is one of the most insulting, ignorant, and unaware things a coach could say.

    Guess what Cobos, you are detracting from confidence. You are tinkering with the line up, every single game. “I am the coach.” Pompous jack*ss.


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