Not too many games this entire season have the Chicago Fire been totally outplayed. In looking back across their schedule, a match on the road in Columbus would stand out with only a 2-0 defeat. But what the Fire saw and endured for 90 minutes was a rattling 5-1 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium on Wednesday night July 23.
The Fire (3-5-11, 20 pts) still continues to suffer with playing games on the west coast and dropped its record to 1-11-3 over their last 15 matches. But the club just couldn't stay or keep up with the same intensity as the Quakes (5-8-5, 20 pts). It was the first time since April 11, 2009 that the Fire have conceded five goals in a MLS regular season contest. The Fire fell 5-3 on that date to the San Jose Earthquakes.
“If you look at the game as a whole, we were really poor," said Chicago Fire head coach Frank Yallop after the match. "I thought San Jose played really well and that usually ends in a bad result for us. It was a disappointing night for our group. We were really flat defensively and we seemed disinterested, which is alarming.”
For Yallop it was a return back to the place he coached before and it was the first time to take on his former team. However, Yallop was left with a memory of not a good performance on the field.
“It’s just nice and you have a lot of great memories and fans here in San Jose," Yallop said. "So for me, it’s always nice to come back and see old friends, see the crowd and remember the good times that I had here. When you come back with another team, you want to do really well and make a good game of it, but we didn't do that tonight.”
As for the match, the Fire was fortunate to nearly have the score standing at 0-0 at the break. But in the remaining seconds of stoppage time, San Jose made a play work in its favor. Jason Hernandez sent a long ball down the left sideline to Shea Salinas, who got in behind the Fire back line and curled one past Fire keeper Sean Johnson for the opening score.
Second half, the Quakes kept their intensity and pushing going forward.
In the 52nd minute, a combination play from Yannick Djalo and Atiba Harris fed Chris Wondolowski whose shot was saved by Johnson, but Harris followed through unmarked and tucked in the rebound for a 2-0 lead.
Then, 10 minutes later, Harris took the ball away from Chicago's defender Bakary Soumare. He passed it off to Wondolowski who put his shot between Johnson and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and into the right corner of the net for the three-goal advantage.
The Fire got a goal back in the 75th minute. Substitute Grant Ward scored his first MLS goal by beating San Jose keeper to the far post that made the score 3-1.
“I saw that Matt (Watson) received the ball and that there was a lot of space behind their fullback," Ward said. So I hit it first time and got a good strike on the ball.
"When I come on the field, especially as a sub. I always look to bring on some energy and try and get some life into my teammates. I just try and make an impact. It was great to see the field, but it would have been better if I came on under better circumstances."
San Jose added two other goals, when Djalo chipped a ball over Johnson at the 79th minute for one and Cordell Cato added the other one five minutes later.
The Chicago returns home trying to regain its composure of effort facing Tottenham Hotspur in a friendly Saturday 7 p.m. CDT at Toyota Park.