Whitecaps 2 Fire 1 - recap and ratings

The Fire are now sole holders of the longest consecutive road winless streak in MLS history. A remarkable 28 game run without a win away from home was capped by a loss reminiscent of many others over the last three seasons. Lackluster play (in the first half), a decent run that wasn't quite good enough to win (in the second half), and the seemingly inevitable late game heart breaker.

The team can take some solace in that they played well enough to get a point during the final 45 minutes but there is no hiding the fact that they are still missing significant pieces offensively. Perhaps Khaly Thiam will help and David Accam's return will surely change the look of the side but approaching a third of the season completed, Chicago has one win to show in eight games.

"I believe we had a very good second half and that we were close to getting a win on the road. We will keep fighting, keep working and keep the faith. In three days we have another game, so we have to prepare and recover for that opportunity. I think the guys are very committed and they have the teamwork to succeed, but we have to keep fighting and believing," said Veljko Paunovic after the match.

Wins are needed quickly in order to maintain that belief.

Player ratings

GK Matt Lampson (6) - Credited with nine saves but many where of the long distance and relatively routine variety. Did deliver an impressive stop against Nicolas Mezquida in the 22nd that kept the game scoreless at the time. Vancouver was able to find some gaps in the 3-5-2 in the first half but the Fire tightened up in the second. Wasn't rattled after the ugly collision with Kudo.

D Johan Kappelhof (5) - Has played better inside at center back. Perez slipped behind him on the first Vancouver goal. Excellent ball to Ramos in the 7th minute set up an early chance for Calistri.

D Jonathan Campbell (5.5) - The center of the back three had the best match of the defenders. Had more clearances (10 total) than any defender on either team.

D Joao Meira (5) - Trailed the play to his side on the first Vancouver goal. Matias Laba's pass to set the play up was perfect but Meira looks to be no more than a journeyman/spot starter at this point.

M Rodrigo Ramos (5.5) - Other than the early cross, he was better and more involved in the second half than he was in the first. Still plays a bit soft when pressure on the ball is needed.

M Arturo Alvarez (5) - Three shot attempts were wide of the mark. A few decent moments in passing combinations. 32 of 39 passes completed wasn't bad.

M Razvan Cocis (5.5) - Put in the work and helped on several recovery runs to deny possible chances. Not much going forward as Vancouver won the overall possession game 60-40.

M Michael Stephens (5.5) - Provided some connection in the final third during the first half. Set up Calistri's biggest chance in stoppage time. Wasn't bad during his forty-five minutes but there's no denying that Polster was more effective in that spot.

M Michael Harrington (5) - Didn't get much forward as a wing back. The first Vancouver goal also came from his side.

F Joey Calistri (6) - Stepped in to replace Gilberto, who wasn't one-hundred percent in training this week, and delivered some chances but didn't finish. His attempt in the 7th minute sailed high and Ousted came up big in first half stoppage time to deny him. Set up Igboananike with a good pass in the 24th.

F Kennedy Igboananike (6) - Scored the Fire's only goal and contributed two of the team's three shots on target. The other attempt was saved nicely by Ousted in the 24th. Hit the post late in the game before the Vancouver game winner.

M Matt Polster (6.5) - Replaced Stephens after half-time and his presence seemed to change the team dynamic. Cleared a ball from the goal mouth in the 58th, his steal in the 62nd led directly to the Fire goal, and a seventy yard run on the counter in the 73rd led to a shot that just missed the far post. He was in the vicinity of Perez's bicycle but sometimes the opposition just makes the play.

M Brandon Vincent (5) - Subbed in for Harrington in the 63rd. Didn't provide much more than the veteran had.

M Collin Fernandez (5) - Came in for Alvarez in the 85th.

Next up

Another turf road game in New England on Saturday.

Filed under: 2016 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • Revs sign Kamara. Fire waiting for .... I don't know what they're waiting for. I thought they looked OK last night but they are not even in the conversation anywhere.

  • In reply to Doug:


  • 3 shots on goal vs 12 for Vancouver.

  • Now it makes sense why everyone schedules the Fire for Stadium openings.

  • "Lackluster play (in the first half), a decent run that wasn't quite good enough to win (in the second half), and the seemingly inevitable late game heart breaker." Hasn't this been the moudus operandi for the FIRE the last 3-5 seasons? Most certainly for the YALLPED era.

  • Yawn....wake me up when Peter has the NASL team up and running.

  • It's a sad day for me when I really don't care if I miss watching this club play. I look at the lineup getting posted, see that it is a "3-5-2" but it is really a 5-2-1-2 with no chance of being any good. I then see Polster, Vincent, and Johnson on the bench for no reason at all. How can Polster be ready to play 45 minutes and not a full 90? It's crazy to me. Johan, VIncent, Campbell are the only players that Pauno brought in this year that have some sort of future with this club. If we look at the standings this year, Colorado and Philly are flying right now. Those were the two teams ahead of us last year. Colorado already has 23 points from 11 games. We had 30 points last season. We will be lucky to get 30 points again this season. Literally nothing has changed with the way this club plays. They are a pretty miserable group of players that will need another COMPLETE overhaul after this season. The only players that are good enough to be considered for MLS teams on this roster are Polster, Johan, Campbell, Sean Johnson, and Vincent. Literally everyone else would be a good squad player on a USL or NASL roster. We absolutely deserve to have the longest winless streak in MLS history. This club is where players go to collect a pay check and fail miserably at playing soccer. This team is no different than the team that Yallop assembled.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    I think Igbo gets a lot of undeserved criticism on this board. I keep reading about how he isn't good enough, but last year he was the second leading scorer on the team with 7 goals, and is currently the highest scoring fire player with 4 goals in 8 games. That's not a bad start to a season. I think he has good work ethic, and even last year I remember there being a number of times when he was one of the few fire players on the pitch trying to make something happen and chasing the ball when it needed to be chased. All those things that you saw him doing yesterday, he did those last year too. It just took him a bit to get his footing. Personally I really like him in that holding forward role. I think he can be a very strong physical presence and can contribute with goals and assists. I don't necessarily see him as a 15 - 20 goals a season type of player. There are very few wondos who put double digit goals up every season. But I do see him as capable of putting in a solid 8 - 12 goals a season. Which isn't bad for a holding forward. With that being said, we still need that forward who is going to put in 12 - 20 goals a season. Someone the opposition really fears. Is that Accam? I don't think so ( I also so see him in the 8 - 12 range. probably a few more then Igbo per year). Unfortunately, Gilberto isn't showing us that he is that player. And I think that is the biggest problem with our offense. We need that one more top goal scorer in the mix.

    If you look at the average goals scored per team last year, its 46.85, with Chicago having 43 and a median goals scored by the league of 45.5. If Accam and Igbo are good for 20 goals between them, and you can get that striker who can put 16 goals in (of which only 8 players did that last year), then you need to find some people on the fringe to put in 11 goals to be average. The top 4 teams scored 62, 58, 58 and 56 goals (. Red Bulls, Crew, Toronto, Galaxy). If we want to be in that range, then we need to strengthen our midfield with a few guys we can expect 3 - 6 goals from a year.

    Looking at Calistri yesterday, I liked what I saw. He definitely looked like a rookie though. But I liked that he was getting himself into space and he was finding dangerous situations. His being green showed in his finishing though. He doesn’t seem to have that composure yet that strikers have. Like on that shot in the seventh minute. Stay Calm and put it far post. That will come in time and I hope he has the opportunity to get the playing time needed to make something like that more natural. If I were to pick one of the two between Calistri and Gilberto to work through their issues as a starter, from what I saw last night, I think I would rather see Calistri get the nod. He had a lot more Fire in him than Gilberto has this year, and he is teachable. Might be an easier road to get him putting balls in the back of the net then getting Gilberto over his confidence issues, or whatever the problem is.

  • In reply to edubs:

    By the way, only 7 players have scored more goals than Igbo this year. Maybe you want to think about that before people keeping saying how Igbo isn't strong enough for the Fire.

  • In reply to edubs:

    Igboananike is a DP forward. We are praising a 7 goal season? Igboananike is a role player on any team in this league. Unfortunately calling someone a role player for us means that he is one of our best players. Igboananike doesn't start for 90% of the other teams in this league. We are now praising players for trying hard. He has had a decent start to this season, and hopefully it continues, but there are better players available for less money than him.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Igboananike on $200k would be a great move. Igboananike on $900k....not so much.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    So how many goals does he need to score to be worth his DP status? Like I said above I see him in that 8 - 12 per year range. Currently if his form holds, he is on track to score 15. Does that make him worth 900K then? That puts him within top 10 scoring players in the league for last year. Realistically, I do think he can get 10 this year. That's top 15 scoring players in the league based on last years numbers. Where, in 7 games played, Gilberto has yet to put one in the back of the net.

    Here we are on this board lamenting the lose of Accam, who had 10 goals last year. Does that justify his salary? 10 goals on the year? If that's the bench mark, then yes I think Igbo can hit that this year.

    Last year, he's a new player in the league. On a team that has no identity and couldn't string a game plan together if its life depended on it. Factor in Yallops inability to play people to their strengths and Igbo getting thrown in and out of the lineup for Magee or Gilberto. I don't think he did that bad last year considering those things. I have higher expectations for him this year. He's settled into the team, Pauno is playing him more appropriately, and he has shown that he works hard. He may not have the best foot work out there, but he does create his own chances like Wednesday night. A nice goal (not unlike the one he scored against Montreal), and a ball that beat the keeper but hit the post. If he continues doing those things, he will hit 10+. Also I think that when Accam does finally get back on the field, his speed will widen the field a bit and give Igbo a little more space. All while giving Igbo an outlet to go to when he has done the hard work of getting the ball into a dangerous spot. If they are played correctly, I think the two can be a strong duo with 20-25 points between them.

  • In reply to edubs:

    If he scores 15 I'll buy you lunch...and maybe dinner. ;)

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    HAHA! Deal!

    But seriously out of curiousity, what stats does Igbo have to make in your mind to justify 900k? Is it 15 goals on the year with a handful of assists? In his role as a secondary striker, is it really accurate to expect him to be the top goal scorer? It seems to me that expectation falls on Accam this season. I would argue that the person who is falling short on their production expectations is Gilberto. We have 3 attacking DPs who are all expected to put the ball in the back of the net. For the three of them to deserve their DP status, what would your expectation for all three of them be?

    I guess the point I'm driving at is what is the expectation of work product for Igbo, given that we have 2 other DPs in that attacking role and it is not feasible to expect all 3 of them to put up a 15+ goals season?

  • In reply to edubs:

    Probably the biggest draw back against Igboananike last year and part of this year has been his inability to pass and play without the ball. It hampered him last year and was evident to most who watched more than one training session. He's been better at that part of his game lately. He had trouble last year with those concepts and he struggled there in training camp this year. To be fair, he has gotten better and his work rate is always very good. My point is, you can find players with similar production and similar quality for much less than $900k that can play in MLS. If you're going to spend $900K on one player, he better damn well sure be a difference maker or you're going to be at the bottom of the league.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    900k in this league is a lot of money. We have to expect more than just running around the field to be good enough. He was signed as a DP forward. 15 goals should be right around the bare minimum for a DP striker. Iggy isn't going to 15 this season. We haven't had a double digit goal scorer in forever. If you think Accam and iggy are going to score 20-25 goals between them then you are extremely optimistic. I think the 15 you projected for iggy is a better combination of the two.

    And don't even get me started on Gilberto. He is a miserable player. He offers no more than Matt Fondy. He can't trap, pass, or shoot a soccer ball. Our 3 DPs are nowhere near good enough. Accam can't stay healthy for more than 5 games and the other two are worth 1/5 of their current salary. We have a miserable collection of players lead by a guy who seems to barely keep his head above water after 9 games. We could be out of the playoffs by July.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    A couple things rubberband.

    The last year we had someone score double digits was last year. It was Accam with 10.

    Igbo and Accam had 17 goals between them last year, is 20 really a stretch when Igbo has had good form lately?

    Where as I said Igbo was on track for 15, I said realistically I expected 10+. He will surely hit a dry spell at some point.

    The thing that bugs me about the, "he's a DP and should score 15+ goals" conversation is that we have 3 DPs. You can't expect that all 3 of them put up 15+ goals. And no I'm not going to start with you on Gilberto. I think we agree there. But what you can expect is that they combine better. To Guillermo's point, his passing and play without the ball needs to improve.

    I for one hope that Igbo improves as a holding forward and keeps growing into that role. I know at 27 there's not much time to grow in that position, but I have faith in Igbo.

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    Caught the second half and I thought 3 players played far better than the rest of the team in Polster, Igbo, and Kappelhof. Polster played like a box to box midfielder and was very effective in doing so. Man did he bring in some energy. Igbo might have had his best half I have seen. I think he is steadily finding his game a little more each game. If they can keep him around after this season as a non-DP, I say go for it. Unfortunately, he looks best when he lines up on the left wing in Accam's spot... Kappelhof has great vision and distribution out of the back. Just about everything positive going forward started with him. Aside from maybe Cambell, for large stretches, about everyone else looked like traffic cones for large portions of the half... The winning goal was just a random fluke but they still deserved to lose for not burring chances and leaving the game open until the end. Sounds like the first half was hard to watch...

  • I place 100% of the blame on Kapplehof for the first goal, second goal was Perez being in the right place at the right time.

  • I believe now is when that "patience that's going to be needed" comes into play.

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    I believe in patience, but its the lack of seeing improvement which is starting to wear on me.

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    If the plan is to finally play young players like Callistri and Vincent instead of old re-treads like Gilberto and Harrington, I'll have some patience, but I'm still not convinced that Pauno is actually committed to playing young players.

  • Turning a team around in Major League Soccer does not require a three year plan. Take a look at Colorado. I think that Pauno is giving us the old snow job. How long before our beloved coach takes some responsibility? He has discarded very good players without any concern over quality replacements. He starts a third string keeper at best over a keeper that dedicated his off season to the US National team camp. Yet Pauno takes no responsibility over the train wreck that currently is the Chicago Fire. This team needs some real changes! I am one of the few people that remained a loyal season ticket holder, but this team has sunk to a new low. I really believe that the Fire needs a real coach. I never was a fan of Frank Yallop, but I am coming to the realization that Pauno is even worse! How can that be? At one time, the Chicago Fire had a real presence in this city. Man that was a long time ago. The city of Chicago deserves a real professional soccer team. Not this current rubbish!

  • In reply to westmalle:

    N-Rod has as much to do with the current roster as Paunovic. He should also take blame. N-Rod's track record speaks for itself. He was the architect of the worst team in MLS history and people seem to overlook that.

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