Veljko Paunovic

Chicago Fire

Struggling Fire looking to rediscover what made 2017 a success

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Dax McCarty revealed a bitter truth this past weekend. Following the Chicago Fire's third loss in five matches, the veteran midfielder said the results revealed a simple fact: the Fire, at the moment, are "below average".

It's hard to argue with that statement. The Fire currently sit second to last in the Eastern Confernece, ahead of only the Toronto FC B team that has routinely been thrown out in between Concacaf Champions League clashes.

Schweinsteiger's inexperience in new role shows in loss to the Galaxy

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Bastian Schweinsteiger has been placed in an unfamiliar role over the Chicago Fire's last two games.

Head coach Veljko Paunovic has deployed his experienced German midfielder in a central defense position to start each of his side's last two matches, something he has very little experience with throughout his long career.

Fire v Galaxy match preview

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What Are They All About? LA Galaxy

A win is a win. This past weekend the Chicago Fire secured all three points from a match for the first time in the 2018 campaign. The 1-0 victory over Columbus was achieved in an unorthodox fashion—the Crew out shot Chicago 21-5, out possessed them 65-35, and completed over 200 more passes—but moved the home side into ninth place in the East.

Scouting Report: Portland Timbers at Chicago Fire

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The Portland Timbers got back on track last weekend with an ice-breaking draw at FC Dallas. Before that, however, there were genuine causes for concern as the Timbers looked largely lost on their way to two straight season-opening defeats, one of which was by a heavy margin to a second-choice opponent.

Fire v Impact preseason preview

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Qui sont-ils? Aperçu du Match Contre Montreal

This past Thursday the Chicago Fire drew 0-0 against the Philadelphia Union to complete their second phase of preseason in Tampa Bay. The match was a drab as the score line suggests with both the Fire and the Union showing signs of fatigue in the Florida sun.

The 2017 MLS All-Star team

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MLS announced the full roster for the 2017 MLS All-Star game. The league previously announced the starting lineup, determined by a fan vote. The rest of the squad comes from Chicago Fire coach Veljko Paunovic and two picks from MLS commissioner Don Garber. The commissioner used those picks on two USMNT players who showed well during the Gold Cup group stage.

Chicago Fire projected starting 11 to face D.C. United

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The Fire are on a roll, but fixture congestion might force them to test some unimpressive depth in the back

There are a lot of positives surrounding D.C. United hosting the Chicago Fire, believe it or not. The Fire have a 0W-2D-3L road record in 2017, which comes with a -7 goal difference. They're not just losing away from home; they're getting crushed.

“The Smiles Are Back in Bridgeview …”

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(Photo courtesy chicago-fire.com)

Those were the words of Chicago Fire coach Veljko Paunovic following his team's 4:1 demolition of the Seattle Sounders at Toyota Park on Saturday. Nemanja Nikolic tallied two goals and an assist, while David Accam notched a goal and an assist. The Fire and Sounders engaged in a back-and-forth scrap in the first half and the Fire exploded for three goals after the break, as Chicago won the game in style.

MLS Eastern Conference Preview: Chicago Fire

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After two straight seasons at the bottom of the table, the Fire are desperate to be competitive

The Chicago Fire have been MLS's worst club for two straight years. In 2015, they lost 20 times, fired coach Frank Yallop mid-season, and did not retain interim boss Brian Bliss. In 2016, after new GM Nelson Rodriguez hand-picked Veljko Paunovic to be the club's new head coach, they picked up precisely one more point in the standings, and actually won fewer games and had a worse goal difference.

Fire v Revolution match preview

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What Are They All About? New England Revolution

Either the glass is ¼ full or ¾ empty. The Chicago Fire tied longtime rival Columbus Crew on Thursday evening 2-2 at Toyota Park. The penultimate home match for Chicago was a heated affair on what was otherwise a frigid and windy October night.

Fire v Crew re-match preview

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What Are They All About? Columbus Crew SC

It appears as if adaptability, knowledge, confidence, and resourcefulness are not always useful in acquiring three points. Sometimes you need grit, determination, the will to win, and to put it quite bluntly, ability. The Chicago Fire were lacking in all of the latter in their encounter with longtime rivals Columbus before the international break.

Fire v New York City FC match preview

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What Are They All About? NYCFC

In the 92nd minute of this past weekend's Chicago Fire match there was an aura of anticipation that could be felt around Toyota Park. To no one's surprise, Veljko Paunovic and his charges obliged expectations by conceding a late equalizer to DC United.

Fire's De Leeuw shows promise in home debut

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Photo by Mike DiNovo/USA Today Sports

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Michael de Leeuw may not score an easier goal thanthe one with which he opened his MLS account on Wednesday night, and the Chicago Fire's most recent signing seemed to know as much.

"If you can score in your first home game that's always great," de Leeuw said afterward.

John Goossens enjoying himself after first MLS goal

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Photo by Mike DiNovo/USA Today Sports

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – When theChicago Fire signed John Goossensless than a week beforethe 2016 season opener,any fans who recognized the name likely only knew him from one highlight.

As a trialist in a preseason friendly, Goossens chest-trapped a ball and hammered home a looping volley from more than 25 yards out.

Fire hopeful forward De Leeuw can make instant impact

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BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – The Chicago Fire unveiled their newest international forward on Tuesday with a press conference and photo op at Toyota Park, but general manager Nelson Rodriguez was quick to dissuade any notion that Michael de Leeuw will be a cure-allfor the last-place club, whichhas scored fewer goals than any other in Major League Soccer this season.

bastian schweinsteiger

Fire earn first points of 2018 in 2-2 draw with Portland

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It wasn't pretty and it took some offensive heroics from "centerback" Bastian Schweinsteiger for the Fire to pick up their first point of the season. The Fire needed to come from behind twice against a team playing its' fourth consecutive road game of the year. Although the point beats the result of the previous two matches, coach Veljko Paunovic warned that things may not get better immediately.

The tale of KC and Rosenberry, other Union bits, more news

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Report says Sporting Kansas City led efforts to block Union's homegrown claim on Keegan Rosenberry. Other Union news. More.

Major League Soccer

Altidore, Acosta, Dwyer headline finalized MLS All-Star roster

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Photo by Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports

Several U.S. Men's National Team stars and international playmakers headline the finalized MLS All-Star roster.

Jozy Altidore, Kellyn Acosta and Giovani dos Santos headline the finalized 24-man squad set to face Real Madrid in the MLS All-Star Game on Aug.

MLS Scores: Chicago and Portland win at home

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The abbreviated MLS schedule saw six teams in action on Saturday due to the international break. Chicago extended their home winning streak to six games, shutting out Atlanta United 2-0 at Toyota Stadium. Luis Solignac scored in the 29th with Nemanja Nikolic converting a penalty in the 70th minute.

Real Madrid to face MLS All-Stars in August

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Los Angeles (AFP) – Real Madrid will take on Major League Soccer’s All-Star lineup at Soldier Field in Chicago on August 2, MLS announced on Saturday.

The game will mark the first time that the MLS All-Stars will play a team from La Liga.

In previous versions of the exhibition All-Star Game, the side culled from MLS clubs have taken on clubs from the English Premier League, the Bundesliga, Serie A, Mexico and the Scottish Premier League.

Fire and Crew Share the Points in Opening Game Tug-of-War

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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.

MLS All-Star Game lands in Chicago this summer

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Chicago will host the 2017 MLS All-Star Game at Soldier Field on August 2. MLS Commissioner Don Garber, City of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and Fire owner Andrew Hauptman were on hand this afternoon to make the formal announcement. Veljko Paunovic will coach the MLS side against an opponent which has yet to be named, but sources indicate to Fire Confidential that Real Madrid will be announced as the competition in the near future.

2017 MLS All-Star game to be played at Soldier Field

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Major League Soccer has drawn plenty of big-name clubs to play in its All-Star Game in the past, but while the 2017 inviteeremains unconfirmed, the location will be large.

The league announced on Tuesday that theMLS All-Stars game will be played at Soldier Field in Chicago on August 2. The 2017 event marks the first time since 2010 that the All-Star Game is being held outside of a soccer-specific stadium.

New England Revolution

Fire Deliver on Pauno’s Promise

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(Photo courtesy of mlssoccer.com)

Chicago Fire coach Veljko Paunovic was adamant that his team reward the home fans with a victory in the team's final home game on Sunday, and his players did not disappoint, knocking off the New England Revolution 2:1. The Fire played simple and fluid football and were not far away from finding the back of the net on several occasions.

Fire notebook - season winds down, Columbus rematch

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The Fire are out of playoff contention but they could eliminate Columbus with a win on Thursday night. They can also do some damage to the New England Revolution (currently in 7th), and Toronto FC (vying for the top spot in the East) in the last two matches of the season. Veljko Paunovic isn't recapping the season just yet.

Philadelphia Union

Fire notebook - good run of form, Ramos, Meira, and more

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The Fire could have David Accam and David Arshakyan back this coming weekend against Toronto FC once the international matches are done. Fitting them back into the side doesn't appear as urgent now following the 3-0 win over the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night. Veljko Paunovic talked about the latest victory and more during his weekly media conference call.

Postgame quotes: Fire 3-0 Union

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Postgame comments from Jim Curtin, Keegan Rosenberry, and Fabian Herbers.

Postgame video and quotes: Union 4-3 Chicago

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Mike and Matthew's postgame wrap. Video and transcript of Jim Curtin's postgame press conference. Postgame comments from Roland Alberg, Tranquillo Barnetta, Keegan Rosenberry, and Chris Pontius. More.

Fire v Union match preview

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What Are They All About? Philadelphia Union (Away)

The streak continues. Chicago lost yet another road match as the Fire fell 2-1 against the Colorado Rapids this past Saturday. Veljko Paunovic was visibly angry as he and his players walked off the pitch in Commerce City and his weekly conference call showed hints of deviating from the usual "everything is fine" party line.

The Rest

Fire 2 Atlanta United 0 - recap and ratings

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No matter the sport, the good teams manage to still win when they're not at their best. The Fire did just that in a 2-0 win at home against an Atlanta United side that routed them 4-0 back in March. Chicago wasn't quite hitting on all cylinders and wasted several good chances but did just enough to pick up their eighth win of the season.

Fire beat TFC 4-1, finish preseason undefeated at 6-0

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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.

Logan Pause to depart for LAFC

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Another long-time Fire stalwart is leaving the club. Sources indicate to Fire Confidential that Logan Pause is set to depart for a position with Los Angeles FC. Pause will assume the head coaching position for LAFC's USL side Orange County Blues FC and serve as an assistant when they begin play in MLS next season.

Two Thoughts On Fire v Crew

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(Photo courtesy of chicago-fire.com)

The Fire fought back from an early deficit, took the lead, but ultimately failed to hang on, and they shared the points with Columbus on Thursday at Toyota Park. Here are two quick thoughts about the match.

Pauno ain't playing the kids
Speculation has been raised in the media on whether Veljko Paunovic would provide playing opportunities to his younger, less experienced players once the Fire were officially eliminated from the playoffs.

New York City FC 4 Fire 1 - recap and ratings

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The Fire defensive effort in this match was indicative of a team that has packed it in for the season. There wasn't much of a challenge posed against a New York City FC squad playing without an in-form Frank Lampard. NYCFC was somehow able to find plenty of space on their small pitch and completed 81% of their passes while easily holding the ball 60% of the game.

Fire notebook - de Leeuw, Goossens injury updates and more

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The Fire were without two key attackers in Michael de Leeuw and John Goossens against DC United last weekend. Veljko Paunovic addressed their injuries during his weekly conference call on Monday afternoon. Goossens' back injury will keep him out against New York City FC on Friday but de Leeuw could be back from an ankle injury.

Union 4 Fire 3 - recap and ratings

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David Accam's goal in the second minute made it seem like the Fire were going to exhibit a renewed winning 'mentality' on the road after Veljko Paunovic's impassioned words earlier in the week. That hope lasted all of about 9 minutes when the Union tied the game and went on to score four unanswered goals en route to handing the Fire a 32nd consecutive road match without a victory.

Fire notebook - Paunovic changes tone, injuries mount

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Perhaps it was the frustration of a late goal in Colorado leading to a 2-1 loss and a 31st consecutive match on the road without a victory, but Veljko Paunovic's tone on Monday was different from previous weekly media conference calls. In the weeks and months leading up to this past Saturday's match, Paunovic has stayed steadfastly positive in his remarks.

Fire notebook - USOC, Indy Eleven, player updates

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The US Open Cup tournament is shaping up to be the Fire's best and only chance at hardware once again this season. Ahead of a fourth round match against Indy Eleven, who claimed the top spot in NASL's spring season with a 4-0-6 record, Chicago is facing what many fans will consider a 'must-win' game.