On Fire: 1-0 loss to Guadalajara not a serious concern
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – The Chicago Fire used two different teams, but neither created much of anything in Wednesday’s 1-0 friendly loss against CD Guadalajara.
The Fire used almost entirely different squads in the first and second halves, starting the regular lineup before making nine changes at halftime and one more sub in the 76th minute. The second unit allowed the goal, conceding on a well taken free kick in the 61st minute.
Here are three other storylines from the match:
Klopas not concerned
Fire interim head coach Frank Klopas wasn’t very concerned that his team dropped Wednesday’s friendly, telling reporters after the match that the exhibition game kept his group sharp ahead of Saturday’s crucial playoff six-pointer against Chivas USA (4 pm ET, Telefutura).
“It was a good match, one that the fans enjoyed,” Klopas said. “For us, we wanted to continue to build as a team, be sharp and I felt we did that. Second, we walked away with no injuries. Games like this will get us even sharper and more ready for the one on Saturday. Never pleased with the outcome of the game, we never like to lose, but I was pleased with the performance of a lot of our guys tonight.”
Chicago’s players shared Klopas’s sentiment, with several starters, including defender Cory Gibbs, echoing their coach’s thoughts.
“Tonight’s game was great,” Gibbs said. “It was good preparation for us in terms of what we need to do coming out for Saturday’s game. I think we needed a good practice run for 45 minutes to keep us tuned up for Saturday’s game.”
Pineda, Gulley debut
Home Grown signings Victor Pineda and Kellen Gulley made their first-team debuts Wednesday night, both coming on as second-half substitutes to record their first minutes with the club.
The 18-year-old Pineda, who signed with the Fire last summer, played the entire second half at right midfield, picking up a yellow card in the 81st minute.
Gulley, 17, played his first minutes with the club since signing with Chicago this August, coming on in the 76th minute for forward Diego Cháves.
“Games like this are great for young guys, for their experience, development and growth,” Klopas said. “An experience like this for a young guy’s game can go a long way. These players are going to be a confident addition to our team in the future.”
Pineda, who grew up in the nearby suburb of Bolingbrook but whose family is originally from Guadalajara, was particularly excited about the chance to go up against Chivas.
“It was a great experience, especially having my first game be against a team like Chivas” said Pineda, whose grandparents came up from Mexico to watch the game. “Growing up I loved watching them play.”
Pantazopolous makes Toyota Park debut
Open tryout winner Pari Pantazopolous made his Toyota Park debut Wednesday night, playing the entire second half at left back.
Pantazopolous, 23, had played in a US Open Cup match at Rochester earlier this summer and in the World Football Challenge game against Manchester United at Soldier Field in July, but had yet to see time at Toyota Park.
“At first it was a little nerve-wracking, but then I just had to get out there and play the game and not worry about who was watching me,” he said. “I just went out there and did my best. Unfortunately the score didn’t end up being what we wanted it to be, but overall I know my positives, negatives and what I need to work on.
“I’m living the dream playing in Toyota Park,” he added. “I’ve always wanted to do this. All my friends and family came tonight so this is a special one. They were in the stands supporting me.”
Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.