Monday, April 18, 2016

Fire Burnt by Impact, season overview

April 17, 2016 - Chicago, IL

Fire Burnt by Impact, season overview
Major League Soccer - Chicago Fire, 1-2-3
By Andrew Oleksiuk

Chicago Fire 1-2 Montreal Impact
Chicago Fire soccer club failed fans at home in a disappointing loss to division rivals Montreal Impact. In the 4th home match of the Chicago Fire season Kennedy Igboananike scored first in the opening half. With a 1-0 scoreline at the half, Chicago Fire was feeling the heat from a solar spectacle over Toyota Park. Montreal equalized in the second half one of many shots on goal attempts therein, but was to be only a prelude to the disappointment to follow. Limiting the damage as Montreal pushed Fire to the defensive edge, Fire goalie Matt Lampson made some trademark incredible saves.

After an invader ran onto the field before the 90th minute, and with Monterrey security seemingly unaware of the pitch invasion until after a man was back up in the stands, the match play was officially stopped. A security melee ensued in the West Side stands and off the pitch, and the referee resumed play as 2 minutes of extra time was being announced at the 90th minute. Montreal Impact scored on the next play - a devastating extra time goal, Piatti, 90’+1, dashing the Chicago Fire’s hopes of earning even a single point in front of the home crowd. The Chicago Fire 1-2 Montreal Impact scoreline ceded three points to the Canadian side in the heat of battle.

Season overview (hex recap)
A sad end to a hopeful six matches for Major League Soccer (MLS) Chicago Fire, whose season has gotten off to a poor start. With 6 points in as many games, there were few sparks for Fire in 4 home and 2 away matches. A short season recap of the previous five games round out the hex:

Opening Day at Toyota Park
Chicago Fire 3-4 New York City FC
Early march brought NYCFC to Toyota Park for the MLS season home opener. This heavy booted affair showed offense prowess but very little defensive toughness. The bright offensive plays took the tiniest sting out a home loss to start the season. Nowhere to go but up.

1st Away match
Orlando City SC 1-1 Chicago Fire
Visiting northeastern Florida in March seemed like a weather upgrade for Fire faithful, and the team’s effort proved improvement was possible. Lacking the offensive firepower of the previous match, Fire fans seemed content with the away point, against he often greedy Orlando offense. Notably Fire played with 10 men for most of the match.

2nd Home match
Chicago Fire 0-0 Columbus Crew
Playing ones archrival often brings out the best. Not so in this tepid home affair for the Fire. While not a boring match, neither team logged a goal and and thus split the points. Lampson logged his first clean sheet of the season a beginning a trend which was to continue for three consecutive matches.

3rd Home match
Chicago Fire 1-0 Philadelphia Union
A home win that delighted the fans who managed to show up in the Snow. Fire. Snow. Fire. Snow. Fire. Snow. Fire. Snow managed to enliven this match and the home side to a lone goal that would win the match. Few fans saw it in person, as the dreadful weather kept many away from Toyota Park. The faithful however were rewarded with sunshine in brief intervals. Fire notched an historic home win, and first win of the MLS season.

2nd Away match
NYCFC 0-0 Chicago Fire
Chicago Fire visited Yankee stadium to avenge their opening day loss to NYCFC. IN a match the resembled table tennis at times, the pace on the pitch was spirited. Neither team netted a goal but each came away with a point. The Chicago Fire denied NYCFC a home win, and improved with a point on the road against this team. Lampson again logged shutout minutes.

With only one (home) win notched on the season, Fire off to a tepid start, to be sure. With 6 points in as many matches, Fire have fewer points than this time last year. With only 2 goals in the last four matches, Fire’s depth is questioned after proving they lack significant offensive firepower without Accam. While playing relatively well defensively, slip-ups at home led to a down note with the most recent loss. As a franchise, Fire have failed to snap their year over year away winless streak In the first Chicago Fire heat of the Major League Soccer season. Next match at home again v MLS Eastern Conference foes DC United, April 30 at Toyota Park.