Preview: Vancouver look to right ship at home vs. Fire

EMPIRE FIELD, Vancouver, B.C.
7 p.m. ET (Galavisión; RogersSN Pac.)
August 7, 2011 (WEEK 21; MLS Game 212)

Vancouver Whitecaps FC and the Chicago Fire meet for the second time this season when the clubs clash on Sunday afternoon at Empire Field. Whitecaps FC are coming off their heaviest loss in MLS play, a 4-0 home defeat by the LA Galaxy last weekend. The Fire were bolstered by their two new international signings at midweek, playing to a 1-1 draw at home with Philadelphia Union.

REFEREE: Chris Penso. SAR (bench): Hector Vergara; JAR (opposite): Mike Rottersman; 4th: David Gantar
MLS Career: 7 games; FC/gm: 20.4; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 2; pens: 3

INJURY REPORT: VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC – OUT: FW Atiba Harris (R knee surgery); PROBABLE: MF Davide Chiumiento (R calf strain); DF Jay DeMerit (R adductor strain); DF Bilal Duckett (R knee strain); MF John Thorrington (R calf strain) … CHICAGO FIRE – OUT: DF Steven Kinney (R Achilles repair); MF Marko Maric (L deltoid sprain/capsulitis); DOUBTFUL: FW Gabriel Ferrari (R ankle sprain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Mike Banner (R knee pain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: VAN: Mustapha Jarju (The Gambia)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: CHI: Diego Chaves, Cory Gibbs, Gonzalo Segares
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: VAN: Jeb Brovsky, Camilo, Jay DeMerit, Jonathan Leathers, Alain Rochat … CHI: Dan Gargan, Cristian Nazarit, Dominic Oduro, Daniel Paladini

ALL-TIME (1 meeting): Whitecaps FC 0 wins, 0 goals … Fire 0 wins, 0 goals … Ties 0

  • The teams played to a scoreless draw in their first meeting, May 7 at Toyota Park.
  • Coaches record: Tom Soehn vs. CHI: P9 W5 L1 T3 … Frank Klopas v VAN: first game

5/7: CHI 0, VAN 0

  • The best chance in the game came late in the second half when Eric Hassli was put in alone behind the back four, but Fire goalkeeper Jon Conway came off his line and took the ball off Hassli's foot.
  • It was the only save Conway was required over the match; Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Jay Nolly was called upon to make two saves.
  • CHICAGO FIRE (4-4-2): Jon Conway - Jalil Anibaba, Josip Mikulic, Yamith Cuesta, Gonzalo Segares - Dominic Oduro, Dan Paladini, Corben Bone (Baggio Husidic 74), Marco Pappa - Gaston Puerari (Bratislav Ristic 84), Diego Chaves.
  • VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-4-2): Jay Nolly - Jonathan Leathers, Greg Janicki, Mouloud Akloul, Alain Rochat - Davide Chiumiento, Terry Dunfield, Gershon Koffie, Blake Wagner (Shea Salinas 58) - Eric Hassli, Camilo (Nizar Khalfan 71).

Vancouver Whitecaps FC saw their winless streak reach six games, going down to a 4-0 defeat by the LA Galaxy on Saturday afternoon at Empire Field. Whitecaps FC have 14 points from 22 matches, sitting in ninth place in the Western Conference.

  • The Galaxy finally broke through just after the hour mark. Sean Franklin's ball over the top sent Landon Donovan in alone on goal, and he coolly finished with a left-footed shot across his body inside the right post.
  • Donovan doubled the Galaxy lead in the 75th minute with a well-placed penalty kick past Cannon, who went the right way but not in time. Referee Baldomero Toledo gave the penalty for a handball from left fullback Jordan Harvey.
  • Franklin made the score 3-0 in the 80th minute. Todd Dunivant set Donovan free down the left flank and he drove a low ball across the face of goal which Franklin bundled over the line with a sliding finish.
  • LA made it 4-0 in the final minute when a cross from the left wasn't cleared and Adam Cristman was free to nod a header over Cannon from close range.
  • Whitecaps FC head coach Tom Soehn made three changes to the team that reached a 2-2 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes. Alain Rochat and Jordan Harvey came into the back four for Jeb Brovsky and Greg Janicki, and Davide Chiumiento returned to the midfield for Peter Vagenas.
  • VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-3-1-2): Joe Cannon - Jonathan Leathers (Peter Vagenas 73), Alain Rochat, Michael Boxall, Jordan Harvey – Shea Salinas, Gershon Koffie, Camilo - Davide Chiumiento (Michael Nanchoff 81) - Eric Hassli, Mustapha Jarju (Nizar Khalfan 62).


  • The 4-0 loss was the heaviest of Whitecaps FC expansion season in MLS. They had allowed three goals previously, the last time in a 3-1 loss at Houston all the way back on April 10.
  • “We are obviously disappointed and today shows what a good team is all about. When they get chances, they punish you,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Tom Soehn. “We came out with the idea of wanting to create a lot and get one in so that way we could open them up, but when you don’t put away chances against a good team they are going to come back and haunt you, especially guys like Landon Donovan.”
  • Davide Chiumiento returned to the starting lineup for the first time after four matches, after he was forced off at halftime on June 25 with an injury in Kansas City.
  • “I am frustrated because I thought we played 60 minutes of good football, we had two to three really good chances, the last one with Salinas that hit the post,” Chiumiento said. “Against good teams, when you make two mistakes, they finish the game. To lose 4-0 tonight is too much.”
  • With Chiumiento again available, Soehn deployed him behind the front two of Eric Hassli and Mustapha Jarju, starting their second consecutive league game together. Camilo returned to a wide midfield role while speedster Shea Salinas held down the opposite flank for a second consecutive game.
  • “I think it was a great idea to get as many offensive minded players on the field at the same time, but unfortunately they need time to gel and unfortunately we don’t have that,” said midfielder Peter Vagenas. “It’s tough here for everybody and I have been doing it for a long time, but it’s not due to a lack of effort.”
  • Said Soehn: “We wanted to be aggressive, we were at home, we knew we were going to have a sold-out crowd and we wanted to throw a lot against them and played offensive and ultimately we did break them down, but we just didn’t do a good enough job finishing.”
  • Whitecaps FC will again have No. 1 overall pick Omar Salgado available, after he missed two matches while with the U.S. U-18 national team for the Milk Cup.
  • “It’s war right now,” Salgado said. “There’s a lot of rough play and everybody is playing for their jobs. It’s an amazing experience for me — not a very good one being in last place, of course, but you learn from this and take it along in your career.”

The Chicago Fire saw their latest winless run reach seven games, returning to league play in a 1-1 draw with Philadelphia Union on Wednesday evening at Toyota Park. The Fire have 19 points from 21 matches on the year, sitting in a tie for eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

  • Union took the lead after 34 minutes against the run of play. Veljko Paunovic picked up a loose ball about 30 yards from goal, took a touch and ripped a left-footed effort into the lower left corner.
  • The Fire pulled even thanks to a fortunate bounce of their own in the 54th minute. A Union defender cleared a Nyarko cross, but just to the top of the box, and Pardo ran onto it, slotting a low shot into the left corner for his first MLS goal.
  • Fire interim head coach Frank Klopas made three changes to the team that fell 1-0 to the Portland Timbers at Toyota Park. Pavel Pardo and Sebastian Grazzini made their MLS debuts, coming into the team along with Josip Mikulic, in place of Jalil Anibaba, Cristian Nazarit and the suspended Yamith Cuesta.
  • CHICAGO FIRE (4-2-3-1): Sean Johnson - Logan Pause, Josip Mikulic, Cory Gibbs (Jalil Anibaba 6), Gonzalo Segares - Daniel Paladini, Pavel Pardo - Patrick Nyarko (Diego Chaves 82), Sebastian Grazzini (Cristian Nazarit 66), Marco Pappa - Dominic Oduro.


  • It was the 13th draw of the season for the Fire, one shy of the all-time single-season mark in MLS, set last season by FC Dallas. Four other teams have had 13 draws in a season: D.C. United (2009), Houston (2006), Chivas USA (2006) and Columbus (2004).
  • “I thought we had a sense of urgency right from the start. There was a commitment from the whole group and … I thought we played very well,” Fire interim head coach Frank Klopas said. “I thought the team created opportunities and we moved the ball well. Disappointed, obviously, not to get three points at home, but I’m very pleased with the performance of the team and how we’re coming together.”
  • In his first match with the club, Pavel Pardo started in a holding role alongside Daniel Paladini – and hit for the Fire goal.
  • “[He was] fantastic,” Klopas said. “It was just fantastic to see his first game what he did. And not just because he scored the goal, even if he didn’t, the leadership qualities on the field and how good he was with the ball. In the first half, he made a great pass to [forward Dominic Oduro] that was a breakaway if Dom brings the ball down. Stuff like that gives us another attacking dimension, but also his leadership qualities in the middle of the park are great.”
  • Also making his MLS debut for the club was Sebastián Grazzini, in an attacking midfield role with Oduro playing as the lone out-and-out striker. Grazzini had played for the team vs. Manchester United.
  • “He has the ability to create and beat players and make the final pass,” Klopas said of Grazzini. “He’s dangerous, he’s exciting for the fans to watch, and he definitely brings something different to the table.”
  • Logan Pause started at right back in the match where he equaled Chris Armas with his 214th league appearance for the Fire, tied for third-most in club history. Pause followed Armas into the holding midfield role, where either has been for nearly every match in Fire history.
  • Over the past 10 league games, the Fire have allowed just seven goals. But they’ve gone 1-2-7 in that stretch – they’ve scored just six times in that run.
  • “I think that’s just like the story of how this whole season’s been: we’re creating chances and I think that they had one shot on goal and it was a goal,” said defender Gonzalo Segares. “It hurts a lot because we put a lot into it and we gave 100 percent. Everybody on the field and I think that we deserved to win, but it’s not always about deserving but putting [the ball] into the net. I think that we looked pretty good today, but it’s always hard to drop points, especially with the position that we are in.”
  • The Fire were forced into a change before the game was 10 minutes old, when center back Cory Gibbs suffered a leg injury and Jalil Anibaba had to come on.

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