There wasn’t much trouble dispatching the University of South Florida in Veljko Paunovic’s Chicago coaching debut. The Fire controlled the play from start to finish and comfortably defeated their first opponent of the preseason by a 3-0 score. Trialist Arturo Alvarez made a case for a permanent spot on the roster with the opening goal and solid overall play. Alvarez scored in the 28th off of his own rebound after a feed from Gilberto following a free kick. David Accam, who tormented USF for a good portion of the first half, tallied just five minutes later.
The final goal came in the 53rd minute when Collin Fernandez played a ball over the top of the defense leading Vincent Mitchell in for the finish.
A few players got chances to show something at different positions. Joey Calistri had a decent run at right back. Mauricio Pineda started at center back.
The match slowed later in the second half as rain hampered the action. Regardless, Paunovic is off to a good start but an MLS test is up next. The Fire face the Philadelphia Union on Thursday at 3 pm in Tampa.
First half: Lampson; Calistri, Keller, Pineda, Harrington; Cocis, Stephens, Alvarez, Accam, Shipp; Gilberto
Second half: McLain; Maher, Doody, Campbell, Keller; Mitchell, Conner, LaBrocca, Morrell, Fernandez; Igboananike