CHICAGO FIRE vs MONTREAL IMPACT
TOYOTA PARK - Bridgeview, Ill.
Oct. 5, 2014 (WEEK 30, MLS Game #292)
5 p.m. ET (My50 Chicago; TVA; MLS LIVE)
The Chicago Fire face a rearguard action in the fight for their playoff lives when they play host to the Montreal Impact on Sunday afternoon at Toyota Park. By the time kickoff comes, the Fire could already be eliminated from playoff contention -- they will be with a defeat -- following their late 1-1 draw against Philadelphia Union at midweek that set an MLS single-season record. The Impact saw their hopes to return to the MLS Cup Playoffs dashed a week ago, falling 2-0 to the Columbus Crew to eliminate them from playoff consideration.
REFEREE: Mark Geiger. AR1 (bench): Chris Strickland; AR2 (opposite): Mark Cahen; 4th: Kevin Terry Jr.
Geiger's MLS Career: 125 games; FC/gm: 26.6; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 31; pens: 42
SUSPENDED: MTL -- Frank Klopas (head coach; through Oct. 5)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: CHI -- Gonzalo Segares, Bakary Soumare ... MTL -- Matteo Ferrari, Krzysztof Krol, Karl Ouimette
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CHI -- Mike Magee, Chris Ritter, Patrick Ianni, Matt Watson, Lovel Palmer, Patrick Nyarko ... MTL -- Hernan Bernardello, Andres Romero, Dilly Duka, Wandrille Lefevre
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (7 meetings): Fire 2 wins, 9 goals ... Impact 2 wins, 9 goals ... Ties 3
AT CHICAGO (3 meetings): Fire 2 wins, 7 goals ... Impact 0 wins, 4 goals ... Ties 1
4/27: MTL 1, CHI 1 (McInerney 43; Amarikwa 54)
8/16: MTL 1, CHI 0 (Di Vaio 84)
- The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Marco Di Vaio scored the gameís lone goal in the 84th minute for an Impact home victory on Aug. 16; Montreal's Jack McInerney and Chicago's Quincy Amarikwa scored on either side of halftime as the teams played to a 1-1 draw April 12 at Stade Saputo.
- The visiting team has never won in the series in seven all-time meetings. The last two meetings at Toyota Park have ended in draws.
- Coaches record: Frank Klopas vs. CHI: P2 W1 L0 T1 ... Frank Yallop vs. MTL: P4 W0 L2 T2
LAST MEETING (MLS)
- The game lone goal came in the 84th minute. Maxim Tissot's smart pass found rookie left back Eric Miller in the Fire penalty area. The ball was tackled away but bounced for Marco Di Vaio at the top of the box, and he put a clinical finish past goalkeeper Sean Johnson into the far inside netting.
- Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush was called upon to make two saves as they put an end to their losing slide.
- MONTREAL IMPACT (4-2-3-1): Evan Bush - Hassoun Camara, Wandrille Lefevre, Matteo Ferrari, Eric Miller - Gorka Larrea, Patrice Bernier (Felipe Martins 46) - Justin Mapp (Maxim Tissot 74), Dilly Duka, Ignacio Piatti (Andres Romero 54) - Marco Di Vaio.
- CHICAGO FIRE (4-4-1-1): Sean Johnson - Lovel Palmer, Patrick Ianni, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Greg Cochrane - Alex (Quincy Amarikwa 61), Jeff Larentowicz, Matt Watson, Harry Shipp (Sanna Nyassi 68) - Razvan Cocis - Mike Magee (Grant Ward 86).
The Chicago Fire saw their winless run stretched to five games as they set a Major League Soccer record for draws in a season, coming back for a 1-1 result with Philadelphia Union on Thursday evening at PPL Park. The Fire are in ninth place in the Eastern Conference with 32 points from 30 games.
- The opening goal came after 88 minutes. Danny Cruz drove a cross into the box from the right that second-half substitute Brian Brown couldn't control, but Amobi Okugo raced onto it and drilled the loose ball into the back of the net from about the penalty spot.
- But the Fire hit for the equalizer two minutes into stoppage time. From a free kick in the Fire end, Union played it all the way back to goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi -- who then shanked a clearance directly to Fire substitute Robert Earnshaw. He dribbled in alone on net and sent a sublime chip over Mbolhi into the right side of the goal.
- Fire head coach Frank Yallop made five changes to the team that fell 2-0 to the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium. Lovel Palmer, Bakary Soumare, Alex, Grant Ward and Sanna Nyassi all came into the team, in place of Gonzalo Segares, Florent Sinama-Pongolle, Razvan Cocis, Matt Watson and Robert Earnshaw.
- CHICAGO FIRE (4-2-3-1): Sean Johnson - Lovel Palmer, Patrick Ianni, Bakary Soumare, Alex - Logan Pause, Jeff Larentowicz - Grant Ward (Florent Sinama-Pongolle 58), Harry Shipp, Sanna Nyassi (Patrick Nyarko 71) - Quincy Amarikwa (Robert Earnshaw 77).
- The Fire set the all-time MLS record with their 17th draw, coming back for another late tie in the result with Philadelphia. It surpasses the mark of 16 draws set in 2011 by the Fire and the New York Red Bulls.
- "All season, weíve just been the tie kings, if you like. At this point, with our group, you know, itís growing and we've got to add quality to it next season. It's not going to be easy, but we've got a lot of points out of games that maybe we shouldn't have," said Fire head coach Frank Yallop. "I still think in those 17 ties, there was six games that we should have gotten the three points. Not all of them, but some of them. And that makes a difference in the table. I'm not going to say I'm proud of that stat, but if you have 10 wins and 17 ties, you're rolling. But it isn't that way. We haven't won enough games and it shows on the table."
- The Fire also saw their winless streak extended to five games overall, with three draws in that time.
- "We found a way to come back into the game and get something out of it. We could play better and do all these things, but we're finding ways to at least get a point. But we can't find a way to win a game. And that's a little bit disappointing," said Yallop.
- The Fire are now on the verge of playoff elimination following the draw in Philadelphia. They will be eliminated from postseason consideration with a defeat against Montreal; even with a victory or a draw, other results could put the top five in the Eastern Conference out of reach.
- "Our mindset has been pretty much the same. We've just been the same -- every game is a must-win for us. It's just been difficult, you know? We show a never-die attitude, but it just seems like we're destined to draw," said Robert Earnshaw. "It doesn't matter what happens or how many chances are in the game, we're just destined to tie the game. It's difficult for us confidence-wise because when you win one and maybe win two, the confidence shoots right up because you're getting the results. But when you're tying, itís like we're doing everything but we're just short. And that's difficult, but we don't lose."
- Earnshaw returned to the substitutes' bench after making his first start since his return to MLS the week before against Houston, and he scored his third goal in five matches since coming to the Fire, his first since scoring in his first two games with the club Aug. 23-30.
- "I liked our drive. We got back into it. We create the chance and [Robert Earnshaw] finished it fantastically well," said Yallop. "I mean it was a great one. It was not so much out of the blue, but he can do that. I thought 'why is he going so wide?' but then I figured it out -- he was pulling him in to get him out. He did well. He did very well."
- Said Earnshaw: "I knew I was going to chip it. Because my second touch was just perfect. It was nice, you know. As soon as I took the second touch, I was thinking -- 'Messi'. I really was. Just because, you know, I've seen him do it. He's done it so many times. I've done it before, but this time was nice."
- Sanna Nyassi returned to the Fire lineup after missing the last two matches to injury, playing 71 minutes in a wide midfield role.
- Harry Shipp moved into a central midfield role, making his third consecutive start after three consecutive appearances as a substitute.
- "Harry started very well. And then, just because, the rookie sort-of first year blues. He gets tired, a little bit jaded, and his game fades a little bit. So I left him out, he had a little bit of a rest and I think now he's starting to come back into his own," said Yallop. "I'm looking forward to working with Harry over the next couple of years and see how he actually blossoms. I think heís got a good chance of becoming a very great player. And we're seeing signs of that now."
The Montreal Impact saw their road winless run continue, falling 2-0 to the Columbus Crew on Saturday evening at Crew Stadium. The Impact are in 10th place in the Eastern Conference with 24 points from 30 games.
- The Crew were in the lead after just two minutes. Wil Trapp found Ethan Finlay on a run down the right side, and after he took a touch into the area, Finlay and fired a shot into the top right of the goal, beating goalkeeper Evan Bush at the near post.
- The lead was doubled in the 58th minute, when Finlay was brought down by Jeremy Gagnon-Lapare in the Montreal box, and referee Sorin Stoica saw enough to give the Crew a penalty. Federico Higuain left no doubt with the spot kick, slamming a low shot into the side netting, never leaving Bush a chance to save.
- The Impact had a chance to pull a goal back late in stoppage time when they won a penalty kick, but Steve Clark maintained the clean sheet by diving to his right and putting an outstretched glove on the well-taken attempt from Marco Di Vaio.
- Impact head coach Frank Klopas made three changes to the team that defeated the San Jose Earthquakes 2-0 at Stade Saputo. Hassoun Camara and Matteo Ferrari came into the back four for Eric Miller and Wandrille Lefevre, and Maxim Tissot started in midfield for Ignacio Piatti.
- MONTREAL IMPACT (4-2-3-1): Evan Bush - Hassoun Camara, Matteo Ferrari, Heath Pearce, Jeremy Gagnon-Lapare (Marco Di Vaio 61) - Calum Mallace (Gorka Larrea 74), Felipe Martins - Andres Romero (Issey Nakajima-Farran 82), Dilly Duka, Maxim Tissot - Jack McInerney.
- The Impact remained winless away from Stade Saputo following the defeat at Columbus. The Impact are 0-12-3 on the road this season with road games remaining at Chicago and Toronto FC (Oct. 18); now with an 18-game road winless streak in league play, they are trying to avoid becoming the sixth team to finish a season without a road win.
- "I know that we are not playing for a playoff, but I said before that it is important for us in every game we play to give everything we have because we have a right to compete all the way until the end," said Impact head coach Frank Klopas. "The players are playing for a lot and we can't go easy against any other team like we did in the beginning. There is still a lot to play for. We are building for next year and it is important that we finish out strong."
- The Impact were shut out at the attacking end for the first time since Aug. 2, when they were defeated at home by Toronto FC.
- "I think our ability in the final third has to be better and we need to be more disciplined," Klopas said. "Even when we are losing we have to push the game but we have to push it in a way that we are still organized and compact. I think we lost a little bit of that."
- Said midfielder Dilly Duka: "We still create chances. Our attacking guys are going to create chances every game. Today we just couldn't finish, we even had a PK. It just wasn't going our way tonight in the attacking third. But we created the chances, we have the players that we can come to away games and win, today we were just unlucky."
- Maxim Tissot made his first MLS start since July 20, playing the full match in a wide left midfield role. Tissot's last six appearances have been off the substitutes' bench.
- Jeremy Gagnon-Lapare made his second consecutive start at left back, his third start in a row and first three in his MLS career.
- "I think the kid has done well. I still have a lot of confidence in him," said Klopas. "I know it wasn't going to be with Finlay's pace but I have all the confidence in him to put him back there. I think he has had two very good performances. Young players are going to have ups and downs and we have to show him confidence and I believe in him."
- After returning to the lineup for the San Jose match and playing 57 minutes, Ignacio Piatti was unavailable for selection for the Columbus contest and did not make the trip.