For their fifth match of the season, the Fire hosted an in-transition D.C. United Team led by Wayne Rooney. It would be a fairly boring match as both teams combined only posted five total shots and pass completion rates under 75%. The Fire would line up in a 4-2-3-1 with the same XI as last week’s win against Inter Miami despite the return of Miguel Navarro from his time with the Venezuelan National Team.
*Players are listed in the order they lined up, followed by substitutes in the order they appeared
Chris Brady (7) — Getting his first clean sheet of the season, Chris Brady was mostly untested on the night, but recorded three saves total. Because of the clean sheet, Brady became Major League Soccer’s second youngest clean-sheet holder in history, only behind Gaga Slonina.
Arnaud Souquet (6) — Despite the quality performances of Jonathan Dean, Souquet would start at right back again for his fifth game for the Fire. Composure-wise, Souquet was better than he had been in the past and made fewer passing or dribbling errors when the team was in transition or holding possession. When in the attacking third though, Souquet did not have any notable impact, and defensively he only won 28.6% of his duels. With performances such as this being Souquet’s norm for the Fire, he continues to leave a lot to be desired.
Carlos Terán (7) — Terán put in another quality performance in the backline for the Fire, and engaged in a team-high 17 total duels, winning more than half of them because of his incredible physicality. Passing wise, Terán could have done better, but no major errors would amount to anything major including a squandered opportunity from Christian Benteke.
Rafa Czichos (7.5) — The better of the two center-halves, Rafael Czichos had one of his better performances of the season. The captain put in several tackles in the Fire’s own 18-yard box to stop D.C. United from getting into goalscoring positions and did well to get the team moving forward into transition. Czichos also won 87.5% of his 16 duels, which is extremely impressive, and tied Jonathan Dean for most tackles won for the Fire with three.
Jonathan Dean (7) — Continuing to start at left-back despite Alonso Aceves and Miggy Navarro both being available, Dean would put in another solid shift for the Fire with his physical side of the game being notably solid. Jonathan Dean tied for first amongst the team in tackles and was tied for second in the percentage of duels won. With Aceves still settling in and Miguel Navarro’s game showing little signs of improvement, it is entirely possible we see Dean as the starter for large stretches of the season.
Gastón Giménez (6) — In another quiet night from the Fire’s midfield pair, Gastón did little to make an impact on the game. Without doing anything to get a hold over D.C.’s midfield pairing of Mateusz Klich and Victor Pálsson, the Fire failed to ever get the game going for themselves despite out-possessing the black-and-red 57.9% to 42.1%. Giménez would be substituted in the 83rd minute for Mauricio Pineda.
Fabian Herbers (6) — Starting again next to Gastón Giménez, many fans did not think Fabian Herbers would be playing as much as he currently is at the beginning of the season. After his matchweek 1 heroics against NYCFC, Herbers has really only fed the idea that he is currently starting as a center midfielder because of the Fire’s issues with depth at the moment. The German failed to make an impact in a game against the 13th-place team in the Eastern Conference, and if won it would have sent the Fire into a playoff position.
Brian Gutiérrez (7) — As Xherdan Shaqiri continues to struggle with injury, Guti continues to be the Fire’s go-to attacking midfielder. Although not getting any formal attacking contributions, Brian Gutiérrez had another good showing for the Fire, creating a good amount of chances for his teammates. His best piece of service came in the 91st minute with a whipped cross to the head of Kei Kamara, but Tyler Miller would ruin any hopes of back-to-back Guti to Kamara last-minute winners.
Chris Mueller (7) — Linking up well with Brian Gutiérrez once again, Chris Mueller really should have scored in this match. The winger constantly found himself near the opposition goal and was frequently getting into dangerous positions, but nothing would come out of it for one reason or another. Mueller had 0.51 of the Fire’s total one expected goal but overall had a good performance.
Maren Haile-Selassie (6.5) — Haile-Selassie’s ability to get into and run down the right hand channel is something that can be very important to the Fire’s success once the striker pool gets sorted out, but tonight the winger left fans wanting more. His overall play was good, but his service was notable off in comparison to games prior. This can be from a combination of his own errors and the team’s strikers making mediocre runs into the box, but regardless, the attack from the whole team was on and off on the night.
Kacper Przybyłko (5.5) — After scoring against FC Cincinnati two weeks ago, there seemed to be a possibility Kacper was going to find some form. In this match, the Pole didn’t manage to even register a shot on target and was largely ineffective for most of the time he was on. Pryzbyłko would be substituted in the 64th minute for Kei Kamara.
Kei Kamara (6.5) — Being introduced in the 64th minute for Kacper Pryzbyłko, Kamara, unfortunately, did not juice up the attack in the manner he did against Miami. Kamara would be given a wonderful opportunity to score in the 91st minute from a Brian Gutiérrez cross, but Tyler Miller would make a wonderful save to keep the game at 0-0.
Mauricio Pineda (N/A) — Pineda would be substituted on for Gastón Giménez in the 83rd minute of play, and would only play 13 minutes, thus not playing enough to warrant a proper rating.
Ezra Hendrickson (6) — One of Ezra’s biggest managerial weaknesses has been his failure to adapt to games, and this is no exception. Only making two substitutions this time, once again they were simply like-for-like, and subbing on a defensive midfielder in the last ten minutes of a game where your wingers are running out of gas leaves a lot of heads scratching. With Jairo Torres, Federico Navarro, and Xherdan Shaqiri likely soon to return, it will give Ezra significantly more flexibility for his team, but at the moment he cannot figure out how to break teams down at all, amounting to this snooze-fest of a match.