The Fire played their first scoreless draw of the season in a match where neither team looked particularly hungry to score. The team did have to shepherd its way through multiple possible concussions (and it started without Mauricio Pineda, already under the concussion protocol), and substitutions, starting with GK Spencer Richey, did a good job preserving the point for the Fire after starting GK Chris Brady came off injured in the first half.
Chris Brady (7.5) – Brady had three saves on the night, including a beautiful save in the 23’ where nothing other than his force of will – or joints – kept the ball out of the net. He did struggle somewhat with playing out of the back at times, but did all that was asked – and more – as he left the match midway through the first frame with an injury.
Miguel Ángel Navarro (5.5) – He managed to pick up multiple fouls on the night and was clearly playing with a hot head. Most of Toronto’s better opportunities came on his side, and his passes seemed uncalibrated at best. Getting a yellow in the 33’ is almost a gift – he could have had one earlier – but the fact is the card was a product of his own handiwork. He gets extra credit (not reflected in his score) for the care he showed to Chris Brady when he was injured, staying with him and demanding the referee’s attention instead of joining the play.
Rafael Czichos (7.5) – Czichos’ performance suffered in the first half as he struggled to communicate with Kendall Burks, but the captain gained steam as the match wore on, and the captain’s communication with others on the back line was essential in organizing the team’s back line. His coordination of the team’s defense in a 0-0 draw raises his profile for the match.
Kendall Burks (7) – Burks deserves credit for breaking up plays against some of Toronto’s brightest stars, but he started the match looking shaky: At one point in the first half, he was clearly outplayed by Toronto’s DP Bernardeschi, but he responded by growing into the game and outhustled the same Italian star later in the match on two occasions. He bent early but did not break and made a number of key recoveries as an equal part of the Fire didn’t concede through the game, despite being significantly less game-tested than his linemates.
Arnaud Souquet (6.5) – Souquet didn’t make any notable defensive lapses, nor did he make any defensive plays that were above his pay grade but didn’t contribute that much in the first half offensively, despite running well and making sure he was in the right place at the right time.
Maren Haile-Selassie (6.5) – His runs continue to be dynamic, and he can stretch the field, but his final touch is still not consistent. To his credit, he gets into threatening places in behind but hasn’t been able to translate that to play that consistently results in finishes for himself or anyone else
Gastón Giménez (7.5) – Gastón managed to do a good to great job holding possession for the Fire throughout the game, and made the midfield difficult for the hosts to play through. Despite some good chip passes, however, he ultimately wasn’t able to make progressive passes that generated real opportunities, but he is showing more mobility than he has of late and clearly hustled throughout the game.
Federico Navarro (6) – If hustle was all that mattered, Federico would be a 9, but it’s not, and he managed to commit a lot of silly, unnecessary fouls that gave up almost in equal measure what the Fire’s first U-22 signing had given the team. Some of his fouls gave up free kicks in risky areas, and could have cost the Fire dearly against a more committed opponent
Xherdan Shaqiri (7.5) – Shaqiri was once again the best passer on the field and went as far as delivering a beautiful curling ball midway through the first half that presented a golden opportunity for the Fire to capitalize. In the second half, he played almost too selflessly, passing in the 55’ when he had a golden opportunity to score. Still, on net, Fire owner Joe Mansueto is finally getting the player he paid for.
Georgios Koutsias (7.5) – The young Greek player is showing the skill and athleticism that brought him to the Fire on a U-22 initiative deal and had some incredible first touches as well as a lot of hustle.
Kei Kamara (7) – Kamara’s dedication to the team is noteworthy – he contributed more on defense than any striker has reason to – but he struggled to get involved offensively, and it feels like his targeting sensors need to get recalibrated. His speed and hustle, though, leave younger members of the squad with no excuses.
Spencer Richey (7.5) – It’s difficult to come into a game as a goalkeeper cold, but that’s what Richey was asked and that’s what he did, as has happened so many times in this year. He did make an error that gifted Toronto with a beautiful chance, but quickly recovered, and he made several other key saves throughout the evening.
Brian Gutiérrez (NR) – Guti delivered accurate, if uninspired passes, and seemed to come into the game devoid of ideas. That’s not entirely his fault – both sides seemed to be under a sense of collective amnesia. No rating, in part because it’s clear that he’s more of an impact player as a starter instead of off the bench, minute management be damned.
Kacper Przybyłko (5.5) – Former Fire commentator and friend of MenInRed97 Tyler Terens said it perfectly during the broadcast: The striker is “not exactly fleet of foot,” and was not a like-for-like sub for the departed Kei Kamara. He did show dedication to being involved where he could, but in the end, fell short of the assignment.
Alonso Aceves (5.5) – The U-22 player came off the bench and showed a tremendous amount of hustle… but that was tempered with some equally bad giveaways. The drive is there, and we’ve seen flashes of talent but not the finished product, and he still looks far too often like a kid who knows he’s made a mistake, so tries to recover – elaborately – for his coach before getting back into his mom’s van after the game. There’s something there, but it’s not there yet.
Fabian Herbers (6) – The German came on as a second-half replacement for Gastón Giménez but struggled to make an impact in his 20 minutes. Still, he looked competent in the double pivot role, so he can clearly be a somewhat reliable break-glass option at that position.
Jairo Torres (NR) – After a stretch of play that showed why the Fire signed the young Mexican from Atlas as a Designated Player, Torres came off the bench and failed to make an impact. Like Guti, he may play better when he starts and knows what his role is coming into the proceedings but didn’t do enough one way or another to receive a fair rating.