Fire top Whitecaps 3-2

Preseason results will mean very little when March 6 rolls around but for a team that needs to build confidence, the Fire will take victories any time they can. After wins against the University of South Florida and the Philadelphia Union, one of the better teams in the Western Conference would certainly provide a better measuring stick for where the revamped side is right now.

A 3-2 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps featured some shaky moments for a defense that had most of the presumed starters in place for the first time this preseason, but also showed some promise from the high pressure style that coach Veljko Paunovic is looking to deploy.

Trialist John Goossens continues to impress, scoring another goal and playing a good field game. His score in the 5th minute came as a result of pressure on the ball from Matt Polster. An unfortunate bounce in the 24th minute led to an own goal by Johan Kappelof and generous team defending resulted in the second Vancouver score. Gilberto drew a penalty against Kendall Watson in the 51st and converted the spot kick to level the match.

Watson was on the hook again in the 81st when he whistled for a foul on Collin Fernandez in the box, leading to Kennedy Igboananike’s penalty kick winner.

“We think that this tournament will help us to see where we are with our roster and at the same time where we are in the preseason and our preparations,” said Paunovic after the match. “We were very happy to see that we were capable of playing a good game against a talented rival. The result obviously helps for our confidence to continue improving and building our team.”

Line up

GK Johnson (Lampson 79′)

DEF Harrington, Kappelhof, Meira (Campbell 70′), Vincent

MID Polster, Cocis (Stephens 79′), Alvarez (Fernandez 79′), Goossens (LaBrocca 70′), Calistri

FWD Gilberto (Igboananike 79″)


  • Razvan Cocis continues to wear the captain’s armband this preseason
  • David Accam missed the game due to illness and did not practice on Saturday

Filed under: 2016 Pre Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • The Fire were not perhaps great, but solid. The team seemed better organized with less helter skelter than in the past few years, still to early to say how well the will do this year, but seemingly improved.

  • I much prefer to watch a team that employs positive obvious tactics but doesn't have a polished product yet then a team that plays with no unified tactic and just manages to scrape together a point here and there.

  • Every time I've watched the team play this year, I'm reminded of how awful frank yallop was.

    That said, I think the above comments sum up my impressions of this team so far as well.

  • "Purposeful" is the word I would use to describe the new style of play. Seeing 2 or 3 mids flock to the ball after possession was lost was nice to see. Not sitting back and letting opponents crank ball after ball into the box was nice to see. I liked seeing Polster go forward more. The guy is a beast. On one play he was attacking with forwards and then recovered to help the defense on the counter. Does this kid have a limit? He better be thankful every day that Yallop is gone so his skills can improve rather than atrophy. Cocis looks more fit than he has ever been since joining the Fire. He is a smart player. Goosens seems like the real deal for now. Nothing like an Ajax trained Dutch player stuck in Serbia to prove himself in MLS. Let the Serbian connections keep coming.

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    Not a bad performance overall.
    Some thoughts though:

    Kappelhof should be playing RB. He does not strike me as a CB. Even watching his highlight videos with his previous club he seems like he should be playing outside defensively. We clearly need another starting caliber CB. Meira didn't look to bad and that linebacker style, shoulder to the knees tackle on Manneh about 20 seconds into first half stoppage was outrageous and worth a few replays (dumb but entertaining). Harrington should not be starting and Vincent seemed to play pretty well and got all over the field.

    Calistri is not a started but has shown nice versatility and depth so far. Goosens didn't look bad playing in the center and has a nose for the goal and a nice shot. If he can manage to stay healthy he's seems worth a roster spot. Alvarez also looked decent and worth a roster spot as well but I think he still would be best coming off of the bench. Gilberto was feisty all game, gives defenses a headache but will also be booked several times this season for flopping.

    We still need to sign a starting caliber CB, RW, CAM and at least one or two more forwards. We have zero depth up top and should be shopping Iggy hard.

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    In reply to Joe Brancato:

    Also Polester looked awesome, got all over the field. Cocis played solid but I'm hoping we sign another starting caliber DM and have him as depth. If we sign Adu and he is indeed better than Cocis I could see Polester wearing the captains armband if Cocis is not a starter. I know he's young but I really see him taking leadership on the field.

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