On Fire: With or without Grazzini, where has offense gone?
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Shut out for the second time in two games on Sunday, Fire head coach Frank Klopas and his players were peppered with questions about their anemic offense following their 2-0 loss to the LA Galaxy, which ended Chicago's four-game unbeaten streak.
The conversation would have been much different had Jalil Anibaba and Patrick Nyarko finished their wide-open chances just outside the six-yard box.
Anibaba’s chance came in the 11th minute, after a corner kick cross fell to the ground and bounced to his feet at the corner of the six-yard box, but his open volley went wide.
HIGHLIGHTS: Chicago 0, LA Galaxy 2
“It rolled out to me and I lined it up, but I just didn’t connect well,” Anibaba told MLSsoccer.com. “I wish I could have gotten another one of those, but it happens.”
Patrick Nyarko thought he would finish his second header goal in four weeks when he saw a cross approach his head in the 41st minute. But the Ghanaian speedster didn’t time his leap right, and his header fell harmlessly to the right of the goal.
“I think I jumped early because I think I got a little excited,” Nyarko told MLSsoccer.com. “The only option was for me to head it back to where the goalie was coming from. That was where I could get power, but I think I jumped too early.”
In four league games without midfielder Sebastián Grazzini, the Fire have scored just one goal.
But three of those games were on the road, and the other was Sunday’s 2-0 loss to LA, so it may be early to tell how much the Fire miss their playmaker.
Klopas wasn’t buying it when he was asked if the Fire are starting over without Grazzini.
“We play the same way,” Chicago’s coach said. “Alex is an attacking midfielder, [Chris] Rolfe is an attacking midfielder, we have [Rafael] Robayo that is very good with the ball, very good going forward. We have players that can create. With every player, you gain a little bit in one area, you might lose a little bit here, and gain a little bit there.”
When Landon Donovan came on in the 66th minute on Sunday, the Fire knew they were in trouble.
The Galaxy captain helped Chicago’s chances of a comeback in the 78th minute, when he stripped Rolfe of the ball and led a counterattack that ended with Robbie Keane beating Sean Johnson to the near post for his second goal of the night.
“It’s great to have a player like him coming in to a difficult game,” Rolfe said. “When you have a player like that you can bring in like that late in the game, it helps a lot.”