Fire stay undefeated in preseason, roll Montreal 4-1

The Fire's recent history of preseason success continues. In hammering home some glaring defensive mistakes by a mostly reserve Montreal Impact starting eleven, Chicago attackers showed that they will be dangerous when presented with chances.

David Accam got it going in the first minute by finishing a clean chance created by Michael de Leeuw after stripping Impact defender Wandrille Lefevre of the ball in a dangerous spot.

Dax McCarty scored his first goal for the Fire in his second preseason game in the 15th minute to make it 2-0. His rocket half-volley from the top of the goal area was a result of an Accam steal on the left side and a layoff from Nemanja Nikolic to set up the uncontested shot.

An own goal by Montreal's Kyle Fisher in the 18th minute was deflected into the net following a Michael Harrington cross.

Nikolic scored in the 64th when John Goossens' shot fell to de Leeuw, who found him streaking toward the far post for a tap in.

A late handball call on Drew Conner resulted in a penalty kick goal for Ignacio Piatti in the 88th to finish the scoring and give Chicago a 4-1 victory.

The Fire are now 3-0 in preseason. Before making plans for November soccer however, recall that last year's team broke camp with a 5-0-1 record. There are some good signs but still plenty of work to be done against better opposition. The next preseason contest will take place on Sunday against Miami FC.

Veljko Paunovic started with what very well could be his opening day eleven in this match.


Bava; Harrington (Campbell 72'), Kappelhof (Calistri 83'), Meira (Conner 78'), Vincent (Dekovic 72'); McCarty (Doody 78'), Juninho (Fernandez 78'); Alvarez (Goossens), de Leeuw (Arshakyan 72), Accam (Solignac 61'); Nikolic (Bronico 72')


  • As reported here weeks ago, the Fire have announced a new USL partnership with Tulsa Roughnecks FC.
  • Djordje Mihailovic was not available today due to illness.

Filed under: 2017 Pre Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • Dax and Juninho and are a two-man fortress in the middle. Opposing teams are going to be extremely frustrated playing the Fire. They both always seem to be in just the right spot the intercept a pass or swipe the ball away from an opposing mid. I liked the way they both moved the ball forward. They immediately look forward. They also are both able to get by the first level of mids and then make a pass. This is going to be like the days of Chris Armas dictating the flow of the game. Excellent acquisitions!

  • In reply to Krasov:

    Agreed - very much enjoyed them controlling midfield and connecting the back and front lines

  • Campbell better be starting at CB.

  • In reply to Bumsteer:

    totally agree. Unless they sign a RB, Kap goes out wide and Campbell and Meira should be in the middle.

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    In reply to Krasov:

    Campbell should start, Kap should not go out wide. Its a glaring hole but Kap is a top CB in this league and should not be played out of position.
    I will also give credit where credit is due. Harrington still looked very shaky on the defensive side of things today but going forward he played a few pinpoint perfect crosses into the box and overall made some positive play in montreal's half. I just skimmed through the match but saw two that were really impressive. The one that led to an own goal was good, the one that Nicolic bungled was a pinpoint perfect low cross right to his foot.

  • In reply to Bumsteer:

    100%. Meira looked better last year as the year went on, but he started the year as an OG waiting to happen, so that isn't saying much.

    Harrington actually looked great going forward today, but I'd rather have Vincent - JC - Meira - Kap than

    Vincent - Meira -Kap - Harrington

    or better yet....

    Vincent - JC - Kap - "Amazing RB"

  • In reply to Shinny:

    I agree. I don't think Harrington is the answer. Either way, Kap starts and Campbell starts. Where is the only question. If Harrington can play well, great. If not Kap is a better option at RB than Harrington. I would be happy to be proven wrong because then Kap and Campbell will be able to pair up in the middle.

  • Eric Gehrig has been officially named as an assistant coach.
    Steven Purcell as new head athletic trainer.
    Reade Whitney as new assistant athletic trainer.

    Last year's head trainer is now in Atlanta.

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    Our starting CBs need to be Kap and Campbell. Kap can play RB well but he's a better CB. Meira is a nice depth piece and is an acceptable fill in for an injury but wouldn't be a regularly starting CB on my roster. We obviously need to spend the money and sign a decent RB as Harrington's defense is questionable at best (though he did have some nice balls into the box today). My guess is that Polster will likely be our starting RB when he comes back from injury. He played defense in college and we need to find a way to have him on the field along with Dax and Juninho. Personally I'd also be looking to acquire a starting caliber LB as well as I do not feel as though Vincent should be in the starting lineup yet. He's young, still developing and has potential for sure but he really has done little to impress me overall.

    Pauno's seemingly never dying infatuation with Arshakyan needs to stop immediately as it really makes me question his overall judgement of talent. That 6'4 traffic cone wouldn't make the practice squad for an NASL team yet he continues to take up an INTL roster spot for CF97...

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    In reply to Joe Brancato:

    I was maybe Vincent's biggest critic last season, but I did notice in this friendly he was dribbling with his head up and finding very incisive passes...something I rarely saw from him last season.

    I really wonder what they spent to get Arshakyan because unless it was significant, you would think he would already be gone. Its unfortunate that he's still there taking up a international roster spot and Guillermo Delgado was turned away at least in part I think its safe to assume because of that INTL status. If I had to guess, they have Arshakyan as a role player and are trying to groom him into an Alan Gordon (not gonna happen). Someone you can throw on with 5-10 minutes left in a game and try to swing in a bunch of aerial balls into the box.

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    In reply to Carl Miller:

    I like Vincent's overall potential but he is simply not a starter at this point in his career. He is not fast and doesn't position himself properly so that opposing forwards can't take advantage of said lack of speed. We clearly need a RB, RW, CAM and I would argue a starting caliber veteran LB for Vincent to learn under for a season or two. Our back line is already shaky at best and when injuries start to hit it'll be an absolute mess. We clearly need more signings and it seems like Nelly and CO are happy to stand pat and keep bringing in USL level trialists hoping to find a gem on the cheap.

    Can we get back to rumors of a team sale again soon?

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    In reply to Carl Miller:

    Also, what's most frustrating about Arshakyan is how he was Pauno's go to sub after his acquisition last season while quite literally never providing any impact at all... Pauno was quoted several times last season talking about how important it was for him to get game time for his overall development while Colin Fernandez sat on the bench in St. Louis... Hell, even in yesterday's game I'm pretty sure that Arshakyan once again was subbed in earlier in the game than CF. I'm not sure if Pauno's pride or judgement of talent are to blame for Arshakyan currently wasting an INTL roster spot and honestly I don't know which of those two reasons are more frustrating. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Pauno is simply not a good professional soccer coach. Virtually ever starting 11 of his contains at least one real head scratcher and he does not seem too concerned with developing our domestic, homegrown talent.

  • Nice to see former Fire player David Vaudreuil as coach of the Roughnecks. We don't have much connection to the past these days, so I'll cheer for even that little scrap.

  • I know it's preseason and we always win in preseason but I dont recall the Fire clicking like this in the past couple of years. This team looks like it has chemistry, they seem to like eachother and believe in eachother (at least offensively.) They're attacking with confidence and moving the ball quickly and accurately considering it's preseason and they're not used to playing together.

    Dax, Juninho, Nikolic all seem to be who we hoped they would be and MDL and Accam look better than last year. I realize it's preseason and it's presumptuous to start gettting excited but it's hard not to. We've been starved of quality for the past 3 years and have barely been watchable since 2009. I'm still worried about RM, RB and GK. I don't know if we can compete at a high level without a traditional playmaker. It seems like we're still playing a counter attack style but instead of the counter starting from the defense, it starts with Dax and Juninho. Last year I knew we were garbage in preseason. Even though we won, they were sloppy unconvincing wins and our lack of quality was apparent. Lets hope that this year IS different.

  • In reply to john:

    Exactly. The relationship between Dax, Juninho, Nikolic and De Leeuw is already impressive. The sad part about preseasons past is that I was excited about sloppy, unimpressive wins. This team would not be happy with a win like that. They have the ability pressure defenses better than just about any Fire team since Blanco left.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    We might just have a decent middle-of-the-table on our hands.

    On a related note, I'd seriously question if Arshakyan could even get playing time with Tulsa. At least Matt Fondy showed the effort.

  • Well said John. Granted the Fire are the MLS champs of preseason, but Dax and Juninho look the part. They maintain possession in the MF and link up with the final third with text book passes. Nice to have a couple of real pros in the middle of the pitch.

  • LAFC paying chicharito $15m per year?? Is that going to be subsidized by the league? How many teams have had a total payroll of over $15m before? I'd be shocked it'll the Fire's ever broke $10m

  • In reply to AJties:

    Edit: shocked if*

  • In reply to AJties:

    Both LA and Toronto spent more then 15m on their payrolls. Jozy, Bradley, and Giovinco are 18.5M combined. Granted 15M would be the largest single signing in league history if that were the case.

    I would hope that the league isn't subsidizing the signing either. Garber came out not to long ago saying that they would no longer be providing salary assistance for DP players, except to bring back a canadian home grown player.

  • In reply to edubs:

    Is it possible to be profitable in Toronto with that size of a payroll? They have spent millions on stadium renovations as well. It is almost impossible to get information on team profitability, but what is the best estimate of whether a team like Toronto is profitable or not?

  • In reply to Krasov:

    I would be shocked if TFC were profitable. When they first brought in Defoe, Gilberto and Bradley, the totals of the contracts and transfer fees were nearly $100 MM. That deal was outrageous and far overvalued the players, especially Bradley.

    Contracts like Bradley's set a bad precedent and encourage future players to think they can overpaid too.

    With all of this money being poured into the operation, TFC's ownership is certainly committed, but when will the payoff come?

  • In reply to StaryByk3:

    Depends how you define payoff, right? You could argue that Hauptman is waiting for a payoff, but not on the field. He's watching the average value of a franchise tick up and waiting for his ROI for buying low and selling high...

    TFC almost had an onfield payoff last year, and some would say deserved to have that payoff in the form of an MLS Cup victory.

    You could also argue that given the N. American soccer landscape, there's no genuine payoff possible for TFC given the amount of money they have spent on high-profile players.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    The question is what kind of return are they getting on jersey sales. Bradley, altidore, and giovinco probably all sell a fair amount of jerseys. I would bet that as far as those players salaries are concerned that Toronto makes money.

    As far as how profitable the club is as a whole, they did release those numbers last year or the year before. If memory serves me correctly most teams are in the red. What that number doesn't include is the amounts the teams make from SUM. Which from what I gather from the articles I've read, it's assumed that this puts most teams in the black

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