Fire 4 Whitecaps 0 - recap and ratings

What could have been a letdown following Wednesday night's ouster from US Open Cup play, resulted in the Fire trouncing an opponent 4-0 for a second consecutive home match and assuming first place in the MLS table and a lead in the Supporters Shield race. Toronto FC's 3-1 loss in Dallas combined with the Fire's win pushed Chicago two points clear for top honors in the league. It is the first time since 2005 that Chicago has led the league in total points after at least 18 games.

It is a testament to the leadership and professionalism in the locker room that they were able to put the penalty kick loss aside and continue to build on their home record while facing a team on full rest. The absences of Dax McCarty and David Accam make this victory all the more impressive and is another clear indication that this Fire team will be a force to be reckoned with for hardware this season.

The Fire made this look easy again en route to their club-record tying eighth consecutive home win and tenth league game without a loss. Nemanja Nikolic continued his record pace goal scoring heroics, Arturo Alvarez contributed a golazo, and at long last Michael de Leeuw broke his personal season-long goal drought.

"We had to work a lot on the mentality of the group and actually this win today helps us as a team to understand that everything we were saying and preaching that it's possible," said Veljko Paunovic after the match. "Fantastic performance, fantastic mood, the mentality was great and that's how great teams play but we still have to work a lot to become a great team."

The Fire face Portland on the road this coming Wednesday night before the Gold Cup break and end the month of July away to New York City FC and Sporting Kansas City. All three of those games are also tests of character but this team seems to have a lot of that.

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Filed under: 2017 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire

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  • There is one word to describe this win: clinical. There was never a doubt from the first minute. This team is in sync and is just plain dominant. Great crowd, great atmosphere. Basti's hip flexor needs a rest. I would not play him in Portland even if he says he's ready to go.

  • What a Saturday!

    Dax and Accam in international play, with Dax earning MOTM honors. US looks coherent and cohesive and takes the 2-1 win.

    Fire rebound from a disappointing loss to the joy of home fans before the holiday, dominating an opponent with a record on the edge of the playoffs. Niko's goal-scoring lead is extended, DeLeeuw puts in another huge effort while adding his name to the season's goal-scoring list, Alvarez reminds us that he can be dangerous, and Polster gets two assists to continue his strong season in a second-choice position. And Toronto loses! We take first place in the East and the Supporters' Shield! And then the TP got to enjoy fireworks from the field! Jesus they probably had $2 hot dogs too!

    Over the past few years, this is a weekend I would treat as a dreary obligation. Here's what I would have expected: an ill-prepared and bizarrely positioned Klinsmann squad "whatevering" for 90 minutes, followed by a dire Fire performance punctuated by close-ups of defenders (esp Larentowicz) throwing their hands up in front of their faces in exasperation and pained agony 2-4 times per 90 minutes.

    This is a whole new experience, and I really hope it continues.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    Yes! There were $2 hot dogs!!

  • In reply to Marlin:

    See what I mean?!?

  • A warning note though: July could be a season-defining month for the Fire, with all their games away to division top-3 opponents in stadia that are notoriously hard for visiting teams. Portland on Weds will want to redeem themselves after the tie vs Seattle, and they have Nagbe who's not in the group round GC roster. They're a little frustrated by their away tie against SKC given PK and open goal misses in the 2nd half, too.

    GR highlighted the NYCFC game on Twitter, which may be a match to circle for Fire fans but it's sandwiched in between a home and away for NYCFC vs Toronto. They will want to take the Weds game vs TOR and our game on Sat before heading up to Canada.

    SKC are undefeated at home, and will probably be back to full strength by the 29th with the Gold Cup ending on the 26th, but who knows if Dax, Dom, or Besler will play if the US makes the final. Both teams (GC players excepted) will be on a week's rest. Who knows, though, a lot could change for both teams in the next 3 1/2 weeks.

    With the top 3 meeting repeatedly in the East, it looks like July will do a lot to defining the standings just before the final third of the season, and if the Fire really want to prove their mettle, this would be a great time to do it.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    I would just add to Modibo's caveat. The Fire have been a bit fortunate to catch teams with players missing and/or with tired legs.The trip to Portland will be tough. I'm already planning to make the trip out to KC for the July 29 game. Hoping the confidence built up in the first half of the season can help weather the inevitable storms.

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