The Chicago Fire won't win awards for stylish soccer after their first two matches of the 2017 campaign, but there are plenty of indications that they are on the right path. Their 2:0 win on Saturday over Real Salt Lake at Toyota Park was built on pragmatism, hard work, and taking advantage of opportunity.
A point is a point is a point is a point. The Chicago Fire rebounded from a lackadaisical first half against Columbus Crew SC this past weekend to dominate the second half and leave Ohio with a draw. David Accam opened his account for the season in the 73rd minute while Nemanja Nikolic showed his quality, but just missed out on etching his name onto the score sheet.
Fans got their first look at the 2017 Union as they laced up against the Fire in a friendly matinee.
The Chicago Fire brought the wind with them and swept away the Union with a 1-0 victory in Florida. The lone goal came in the 56th minute when a cross by Nemanja Nikolic found the head of Michael de Leeuw.
Sweet, sweet victory! This past Saturday the Chicago Fire defeated Florida Gulf Coast University 1-0 with a debut goal from Nemanja Nikolic. Aside from building fitness, experimenting with formations, and getting an immediate return on their investment in the Hungarian, Chicago was able to trot out a few trialists as they look to fill out the roster before the MLS season begins.
Both the Chicago Fire and Columbus Crew come into 2017 looking to turn a page and forget about their respective dismal 2016 campaigns. They squared off on Saturday at MAPFRE Stadium in the season opener on a chilly afternoon and battled to a 1:1 draw. Based on the soccer on display it's unlikely that either side learned much about whether 2017 will bring more joy than 2016 did, but both teams have a lot of work ahead if they want to be competitive.
Let's talk silver and prizes...MLS Cup Toronto FC def. PortlandGolden Boot1 - Fanendo Adi, Portland2 - David Villa3 - Jozy AltidoreDefender of the Year1 - Matt Hedges, FC Dallas2 - Jelle Van Damme3 - Roman TorresRookie of the Year1 - Ian Harkes, D.C. United2 - Jackson Yueill3 - Nick LimaNewcomer of the Year1 - David Guzman, Portland2 - Jonathan Mensah3 - (tie) Nemanja Nikolic & Alberth
In recent past seasons, sure victories against wounded or struggling opponents have been hard to come by for the Chicago Fire. Countless late and sometimes fluky goalscombined with subpar performances turned many home contests into a study in frustration. Perhaps the tables are starting to turn somewhat.
The past few preseasons have provided false hope by way of positive exhibition results coming into league play, but this 6-0-0 run from the Fire has a slightly different feel to it. This version of the Fire concluded training camp with its most impressive result so far, a 4-1 defeat of defending Eastern Conference champion Toronto FC.
December has arrived and the transfer mill is beginning to gear up. A report from ESPNFC this morning tabbed the Fire as a suitor for Legia Warsaw striker Nemanja Nikolic. Sources have indicated to Fire Confidential that the club is indeed interested in Nikolic and is pursuing a move. As indicated in the original report, there are other teams interested in Nikolic as well.