Breakdown: Fire vs. Whitecaps

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Quincy watching a different game than anyone else (www.theprovince.com)

T.J. Zaremba breaks down the Fire’s latest step in their march toward the league record in draws…

The result of Wednesday night’s game between the Fire and Whitecaps was never in question. It was going to be a tie. The only question was if it would be 1-1 or 0-0. It turned out to be the latter.

The challenge is to find something insightful in a 0-0 snoozefest to analyze. Thankfully, the changes and non-changes to the Fire’s starting lineup have provided me with enough, because the game itself did not.

Stats are good, goals are better (squawka.com)

Stats are good, goals are better (squawka.com)

The obvious change is in the center backs. After last week’s fiasco in San Jose, Coach Yallop decided to leave both Soumare and Hurtado on the pine pony where they belong. However, instead of pair Patrick Ianni with Steve Kinney like he did earlier in the year, the Gaffer dropped team captain Jeff Larentowicz to a center back spot.

The results for the defense were positive. Those at the match could witness just how much more communication there was and thus they controlled the game.

Larentowicz was steady under pressure and moved the ball out of the back productively instead of the usual kick and run offense used in the past.

Big Red doing work (mlssoccer.com)

Big Red doing work (mlssoccer.com)

LEGEND FOR FIELD PLAYERS

  • Circle = Shot; Soccer Ball = Goal (Green = On Target; Red = Off Target; Yellow  = Blocked)
  • Squares = Distribution (Green = Successful; Red = Unsuccessful; Yellow = Key Passes;  Blue = Assist)
  • Inverted Triangle = Dribbling (Green = Successful; Red = Unsuccessful)
  • Upright Triangle = Defense (Blue = Interception; Gold = Recovery; Purple = Clearance; Green = Tackles; Yellow = Blocks)

For a first league start at center back, Larentowicz had a solid game and helped Ianni to his best game of the season.

Not bad for a beginner (squawka.com)

Not bad for a beginner (squawka.com)

This also allowed Lovel Palmer to continue his strong play and gave Segares his best game according to Squawka.

Dominating performance (minus one goof from Segares) (squawka.com)

Dominating performance (minus one goof from Segares) (squawka.com)

There was also a change in Sean Johnson as well. While only really tested once (and he came up huge), his distribution was noticeably quicker and successful.

86% passing success is a season high for Sean John (mlssoccer.com)

86% passing success is a season high for Sean John (mlssoccer.com)

With the relocation of Big Red and Harry Shipp finally getting a night off, the midfield lacked any sort of creativity.

Failure going forward nets no goals (mlssoccer.com)

Failure going forward nets no goals (mlssoccer.com)

Magic Mike Magee performed his disappearing act once again.

Imagine how much worse Magee would be without the raise (squawka.com)

Imagine how much worse Magee would be without the raise (squawka.com)

Just look at where he took possession. There is no rhyme or reason to it. This is how he was all night. I’m not sure if this is by design, but based on the lack of connection between him and the rest of the team, I doubt it.

WTF Mike? (squawka.com)

WTF Mike? (squawka.com)

I have said it before and I’ll say it again, Quincy time is OVER. His job, along with Magee’s is to score goals and they are not doing that. In fact, they are rarely coming close.

Strike Partners or Perfect Strangers? (mlssoccer.com)

Strike Partners or Perfect Strangers? (mlssoccer.com)

After last week’s disaster at San Jose, this was an encouraging result for the Fire defense. The offense showed once again, without a healthy, productive Harry Shipp, it is essentially useless.

Leaving the stadium, The Coach (a longtime youth soccer coach with season tickets near us) shrugged his shoulders and said, “Not enough talent”.

The Coach is right.

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Follow OTF Soccer on Twitter @OTFSoccer

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T.J. Zaremba was BarnBurner #110 and 1998 second-half season ticket holder in Section 8 of pre-mothership Soldier Field. After over a decade on walkabout, with a handful of guest appearances, he returned in 2011 and has been a regular (when his commitment to Uncle Sam allows it) at Toyota Park with his wife and the Hamster. Follow T.J. @TJZaremba

*infographics courtesy of mlssoccer.com and squwaka.com

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