Fire 2 Timbers 2 - recap and ratings

Without Dax McCarty and Bastian Schweinsteiger, the Fire didn’t enjoy the possession and midfield control that they’ve exerted over the last two months but they still managed to come away with a hard-earned point in a difficult place to play. The Portland Timbers were able to get more looks on goal and found more space in the middle of the pitch without the Fire’s first choice central pairing available, and yet Chicago was still able to head into the final twenty minutes of the match with a lead.

The play wasn't as free-flowing, the passing wasn't as crisp, and gaps weren't closed as quickly but it's a testament to how far this team has come that they were able to get a result in this match in the fashion that they did. Arturo Alvarez delivered as a substitute starter, and Brandon Vincent provided a clutch first career MLS goal to put the Fire even on points with Toronto FC, who defeated Orlando City on the road to temporarily move ahead in the standings.

As it stands at the Gold Cup break, the Fire and Toronto FC are level on points with 38 (11-3-5) but the Fire assume the top of the table by virtue of the goal differential tie-breaker. The Fire will resume play on July 22 away to New York City FC.

Now unbeaten in 11 MLS matches, the Fire have come a long way indeed. The dread of losing road matches has all but disappeared as they continue to show they are capable of winning under every circumstance presented before them.

Player ratings

GK Matt Lampson (6) - Outguessed on the Adi's penalty kick and Blanco's goal came as a result of a clear look. Faced 24 shots and his 7 saves weren't difficult but he was composed under pressure for most of the match.

D Brandon Vincent (7) - Wasn't great with passing numbers but did come through with several key defensive sequences including 5 recoveries and 6 clearances. A fantastic left-footed finish the found the underside of the left corner crossbar and back of the net in the 61st minute gave the Fire the lead.

D Joao Meira (5.5) - A block of Adi's attempt in the 37th after the big forward got behind him denied a good chance but he was out of position on the second Portland goal which opened up the back line in front of Lampson.

D Johan Kappelhof (6.5) - 5 recoveries, 5 clearances, 2 interceptions, 2 blocks. Stepped up well to keep Valeri from advancing the ball on several occasions. Doesn't get much publicity as one of the better centerbacks in the league, but he's in the picture.

D Matt Polster (6) - Left the match in the 35 with an apparent leg injury after he was hit from behind. The Fire were definitely less effective on the right side without him.

M Juninho (5) - Unlucky to have slipped in the 23rd and the ball deflected off his arm to get Portland to the penalty spot. Lost track of Blanco as he attempted to step up on the ball allowing the space for the second Timbers goal. Tasked with a difficult job of replacing Schweinsteiger in front of the backline against a good Portland attack and he did manage to complete 94% of his passes while the team only hit at 73% overall however. Credited with an assist on Alvarez's goal.

M Micheal de Leeuw (6) - Another big effort helped hide the absences of the team's two best central midfielders. Didn't get a lot done offensively but plays like the 60-yard sprint just before half-time to stop a break following a bad pass are what makes de Leeuw so valuable to what the Fire have been able to do.

M Luis Solignac (5.5) - Held back a bit with de Leeuw in trying to cover the middle of the field and didn't have many chances getting forward. Struggled a bit in passing and possession.

M David Accam (6) - Not as prominent as he has been in other games but still was able to get a few balls towards Nikolic for close chances. Credited with an assist on Vincent's goal.

M Arturo Alvarez (7) - Not always pretty but the results were effective. His cross toward Nikolic in the 34th just missed the forward but was dangerous enough to find the back of the net on its own. Also assisted on Vincent's goal. Delivered in his role as a spot starter and enabled the Fire to come away with a point here.

F Nemanja Nikolic (6) - Could have been credited with his 17th goal of the year as it was unclear if he touched Alvarez's cross in the 34th. He set the record straight and the goal was awarded to his teammate. Didn't score but came close on a few other chances. A shot from outside the area in the 83rd just missed and was tipped out by Gleeson for a corner.

D Drew Conner (5) - Replaced Polster at right back in the 35th. Portland was able to generate some play through the right side and several give-aways put the Fire on the defensive unnecessarily.

D Jonathan Campbell (6) - Subbed in for Solignac in the 65th to protect the lead and give the Fire some more size in the back against Adi. A big block on Nagbe in the 88th denied a good chance.

M Djordje Mihailovic (5.5) - Replaced Accam in the 83rd. Complete 5 of 6 pass attempts.

Filed under: 2017 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire

Comments

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  • Any news on Basti?

  • Tough loss. Portland's a tough place to play. Of course, if it was Orlando where refs know to favor away teams, Juninho would not have been whistled for a penalty and we would still be ahead of Toronto in the standings.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    Loss?

  • Thank goodness

    http://www.espnfc.us/chicago-fire/story/3154568/chicago-fires-bastian-schweinsteiger-sets-return-from-hip-injury-for-july-22

  • any word on Polster's injury?

  • In reply to DDT5583:

    Polster said on Twitter it was a minor setback and he'll be ready for NYCFC.

  • Starting lineup for the 2017 MLS All Star team:
    Milkman
    Beasley, Kap, Hedges, Vincent
    Kap, Dax
    Accam, Almiron, Giovinco
    Nico
    I think Pauno is going to be a bit Chicago biased.

  • Do you think that there is still a possibility that Pauno is looking for a new gk? I see that Clint Irwin is a bench player at Toronto so he should take a look at him.

  • Not a great game by any stretch, but still impressive - the Fire teams of 2015/16 would undoubtedly have given up a goal in the last 10 minutes to lose. Especially considering that the first goal was a total freebie to Portland, I consider this a very positive result.

  • Did anyone watch the Us v Panama? The Dax who playes for the Fire did not show up in midfield for the US. He backed off, let the Panama side take control, and put his back four under needless pressure. If Dax sees the field again, I hope he steps up and battles as he does game in and game out for the Fire. He needs to step up if he wants to go to Russia next year.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    I watched the game and I agree. Dax was definitely off that day. I noticed a disconnection between Dax and Acosta too. It was concerning for sure.

    But the whole team for that matter seemed unorganized. Zusi was beaten numerous times, Corona looked lost, and the defense was frozen on the PAN goal cause our CBs were MIA. I even thought Dom partially whiffed on his goal trying to hit it harder than he did.
    We may have been lucky to come away with a point.

  • Agree with both of you....that game wasn't one of McCarty's best outings. I think he'd be first to admit that.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Huge day with a GR agreement. That might get me through the Gold Cup break.

  • Do you have something against João Meira? It seems something personal against him! Do you understand Football or Soccer that you call in USA? João Meira has been the best defender player from Chicago Fire. If Chicago Fire loose João Meira they´ll fall...

  • In reply to Hugo1983:

    Not sure who that's directed at but......Meira's been good this year but he's not the best defender on the team. That's Kappelhof.
    Should he leave, it would not mean the immediate downfall of the Fire. There's a reason why they've been looking for a left footed central defender for months now.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    If you've a blog that comment football you need to know more about it.. anyways!! Do you know football or soccer? Because at that moment they were playing 3 in the back!! If you know just a little bit about it you can change your point of view! No problem, everyone as an opinion! Take care

  • In reply to Hugo1983:

    Thanks for reading. Campbell came into the game and he certainly wasn't playing as a midfielder. There were 3 in the back because some people were pushed out of position. Mistakes happen in football and soccer.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Do you have something against Jar Jar Binks?! It seems you have something personal against him! Do you understand the politics of the Galactic Republic?! Jar Jar single-handedly did what needed to be done in order to establish the Clone Army to defend the Republic. Were it not for Jar Jar, the Separatists would've easily caused the Republic to fail!

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    Meesa not wrongo about Jar Jar.

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    Brilliant

  • GR. What is the status of 2nd round pick Guillermo Delgado? I read in June from Orrin Schwarz he was training or something with the team. But they couldn't sign him cause of intl status. Sign and send to Tulsa in this window perhaps?

    I'd hate to lose that kid. I heard a lot of good things about him.

  • In reply to SteveGreene13:

    Good question.
    I'll ask.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Thanks GR. I appreciate it. You're the best.

  • Goal.com reporting that a Ligue 1 club has offered 3 million for Accam. Would hate to see him go, but that seems like a healthy chunk of change for someone who hasn't renewed his contract.

  • In reply to DDT5583:

    If he left, that would make room for Juan Quintero if that rumor is true. Accam's speed will be sorely missed as that speed is what ofen opens space Nikolic. I think the Fire should serioulsy consider the offer as it is fair to both the Fire and the player.

  • In reply to DDT5583:

    I have not been able to verify that report as accurate.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    MLS.com reported it too, linking to the yahoo.fr sports Twitter account.

    Not sure how much I trust that, unless goal.com confirmed it independently.

    Would not want to lose Accam at this moment. Everyone knows he wants to move to a bigger league, but I wonder if he'd accept waiting till the end of the season...

  • In reply to Modibo:

    Those "reports" are basically rehashes of the original report, not iindependent reports.

  • Guillermo, best guess - is Accam leaving this summer? TIA

  • In reply to go fire:

    My guess is no. Winter more likely.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    You think he is gonna leave us soon??

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Winter is here

  • For those waiting for Quintero news...the wait is over.

    Juan Quintero, via a radio interview in Colombia, has announced that he is staying with Deportivo Independiente Medellin for the duration of his loan or through the end of the year.

    Last week, he told another outlet that he could be back with Medellin but the chance was very small. The result of a move lied with FC Porto and their economic demands.....which ultimately was too rich for MLS/Fire to agree to.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Thanks for the update GR. I'm not sure how I feel about this. On one hand Juan could have been a difference maker at AM and make our overall depth better. On the other

  • In reply to go fire:

    Sorry, got cut off...on the other hand, if ain't broke don't fix it.

  • Maybe the Fire make the swap with Accam to France and Quintero to the Fire in January. I would think that that would work for all involved.

  • Ok, Guillermo, you convinced me. Just got an annual subscription to The Athletic so I won't risk missing any of your exemplary Chicago Fire coverage.

  • In reply to DDT5583:

    Thanks DDT!

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