All of the talk prior to Thursday’s match centered around Sporting Kansas City’s new stadium, but after 90 frustrating minutes the only thing on the Fire’s minds was yet another match without a win. It’s been 75 days and 11 matches since the Fire finished a match on top. Despite coming close to breaking that streak on several occasions the Fire never really looked like earning all three points at LIVESTRONG Park.
Offensive inefficiencies – It’s not the first time this season the Fire have failed to find their offensive rhythm and at it won’t be the last. Christian Nazarit tested KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen with a fine header in the first half, but otherwise saw very little of the ball and looked more and more tired as the match progressed. Gaston Puerari worked his socks off once again but was ultimately inefficient on the attacking side of things while Diego Chaves, who had been dropped to bench for a well earned rest, entered the fray in the second half but never looked like getting anything going. Dominic Oduro was the most threatening for the Fire, using his speed to create several opportunities while forcing Nielsen into several saves before the Danish ‘keeper received his marching orders for handling outside the penalty box.
Sega – One major bright side from the Fire’s past two draws is the form of Gonzalo Segares. Apart from an early misjudged header in his own box early in the first half, the Fire’s first choice left-back was in fine form and proved difficult for KC to get past. Yamith Cuesta and Cory Gibbs also looked solid on Thursday. Note: Segares wore a black armband to honor the death of his girlfriend’s mother.
PaldadiniXI – After all the calls for Daniel Paladini to start for the Fire, the former NASL midfielder has started and impressed in back-to-back matches. He looks intent to shoot from outside whenever he can and who can blame him. His powerful drive in the first half looked goal bound only for a vital deflection to interfere while his long range effort in the second half was spilled by Eric Kronberg, allowing substitute Orr Barouch to come inches away from giving the Fire the lead.
Penalty drama – Following Barouch’s effort that cannoned off the cross bar, Omar Bravo found himself with possession in the Fire penalty box only for Bratislav Ristic to interfere with a stalwart challenge that grounded the former Mexican forward. The disapproval of LIVESTRONG Park was clearly evident as referee Michael Kennedy opted against giving KC what initially appeared like a clear penalty. Upon review, however, it appears Kennedy was spot on (no pun intended) in his decision not to award the home side a penalty kick. His decision is still up for debate, but Ristic looks to have just gotten enough of the ball to fairly thwart Bravo.
What rivalry? – A lot of the talk heard from Kansas City this season has not been about their new stadium, but instead about this new rivalry with the Chicago Fire. As for the Fire, the club has never considered KC to be a rival and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Rivalries aren’t made overnight, they are built over time and Thursday’s match did little in devel