Could CJ Sapong be rounding back into his 2017 form?
The Chicago Fire forward brought his team level at the end of the first half in Saturday's match against Toronto FC, bringing down a long pass from Jeremiah Gutjahr and slotting it deftly into goal. It was Sapong's third goal in the young season, putting him on a pace to surpass his best MLS season, when he scored 16 goals and added five assists for the 2017 edition of the Philadelphia Union.
More importantly, the goal also helped Chicago come away with a 2-2 road tie against Toronto FC, which owned a perfect 3W-0L-0D record heading into the match. The Fire became the first team to take points off TFC.
"I want my goals to translate to points for the team," Sapong told ESPN+ postgame. "I think the team has shown some real grit the last couple of games and hopefully we keep building off of that."
During 2018 Sapong only scored four goals in 29 matches, and was traded to Chicago just prior to the start of the '19 season — providing a reset for the 30-year-old forward, who started his career with Sporting Kansas City in 2011.
He's proving a key piece for a Fire team that will take a 1W-2L-2D record into a Week 7 home match against a struggling Vancouver Whitecaps squad in an MLS Friday Night on TSN matchup (8:30 pm ET | TSN in Canada; MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in USA).
"Basically we can play with anybody," Sapong said. "We've known that from the jump. We just didn't have the results go our way the first couple of games. But like I said, when we go out there and play like men and do it together, I think we can really accomplish some great things. Moving forward I think we've set the standard and it's up to us to keep raising the bar every game."