CHICAGO FIRE vs REAL SALT LAKE
TOYOTA PARK, Bridgeview, Ill.
May 3, 2014 (WEEK 9, MLS Game #74)
7:30 p.m. CT (My50 Chi; KUCW-30)
A pair of clubs riding vastly differing streaks meet in an interconference clash when the Chicago Fire play host to Real Salt Lake on Saturday evening at Toyota Park. The Fire return to action following an MLS-record sixth consecutive draw in a 1-1 tie with New England two weeks ago. RSL is the only team in Major League Soccer still undefeated this season, now eight games without a loss despite a late 2-2 draw at home with Vancouver last weekend.
REFEREE: Juan Guzman. AR1 (bench): Matthew Kreitzer; AR2 (opposite): Peter Balciunas; 4th: Robert Sibiga
MLS Career: 40 games; FC/gm: 25.4; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 13; pens: 10
SUSPENDED: CHI: Quincy Amarikwa (through May 4)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: none
DISABLED LIST: CHI: Orr Barouch
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (16 meetings): Fire 6 wins, 18 goals … Real 3 wins, 10 goals … Ties 7
AT CHICAGO (8 meetings): Fire 3 wins, 6 goals … Real 1 win, 3 goals … Ties 4
LAST YEAR (MLS):
5/25: RSL 1, CHI 1 (Saborio 78 – Amarikwa 84)
- This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
- The teams have played to draws in each of their last two meetings, over the last two seasons. The two encounters at Toyota Park have resulted in scoreless draws.
- RSL’s last home win vs. the Fire came Sept. 19, 2010, a 1-0 win at Rio Tinto Stadium. The teams played to a 1-1 in Sandy in their only meeting a year ago.
- Coaches record: Frank Yallop vs. RSL: P19 W6 L9 D4 … Jeff Cassar vs. CHI: first game
The Chicago Fire return to action after a weekend, playing to a sixth consecutive draw in their last match, a 1-1 draw with the New England Revolution on April 19 at Toyota Park. The Fire sit in a tie for ninth place in the Eastern Conference with 6 points from 7 games.
- The Fire took the lead in the 16th minute when Harry Shipp’s incisive ball from near midfield found Quincy Amarikwa between defenders, and he slid the ball under an advancing Bobby Shuttleworth out of the New England goal.
- But the Revolution drew level just after the hour. Patrick Nyarko clumsily bundled over Kevin Alston over in the box, and Lee Nguyen converted the resulting penalty low to Sean Johnson’s left.
- The Fire were dealt a blow in the 73rd minute when Amarikwa, who was booked in the first half for diving, was shown a second yellow card for a reckless challenge on Andy Dorman.
- But it was the home side that had the glorious chance for the winner, when Alston handled Victor Pineda’s rebound shot in the box, and referee Sorin Stoica pointed to the spot and sent off the Revolution defender. Yet Juan Luis Anangono's shot was far too close to Shuttleworth and the goalkeeper saved it to leave the teams deadlocked.
- Fire head coach Frank Yallop made no changes to the team that played to a 1-1 result with the Montréal Impact at Olympic Stadium.
- CHICAGO FIRE (4-4-2): Sean Johnson - Lovel Palmer, Bakary Soumare, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Greg Cochrane - Patrick Nyarko (Victor Pineda 88), Jeff Larentowicz, Alex (Matt Watson 39), Harry Shipp (Juan Luis Anangono 70) - Quincy Amarikwa (ejected 73), Mike Magee.
- The Fire equaled the MLS record with the sixth consecutive draw follwing 1-1 tie with New England. The Colorado Rapids were the last to record six straight ties, from May 7-June 4, 2011; the San Jose Earthquakes also had six in a row from the end of the 2004 campaign through the start of 2005.
- “The performances have been there,” Fire head coach Frank Yallop said. “It’s a funny game, soccer. You can play poorly and win or play great and not win. Our performances have deserved more than they’ve got, and while we haven’t been fantastic, we haven’t been bad.”
- Said midfielder Jeff Larentowicz: “The last three games we’ve certainly been the better team – Philadelphia, Montreal and [New England]. I don’t think that the other team really wanted to win from the start. They were slowing the game down in the first half and got fortunate on the penalty call. ... In the run of play, outside the last couple of minutes when we were pushing forward, I’m not sure they get a shot on goal from open play. All-in-all it’s more of the same, but if we can get wins going forward it will be OK.”
- For a second time this season, the Fire were looking at an almost certain three points – only to miss a penalty kick in second-half stoppage time. On April 5, Philadelphia’s Zac MacMath saved Mike Magee’s spot kick to leave that match in a 1-1 draw.
- “We’re two penalty kicks away from having a great start, and that’s the frustrating part,” Yallop said. “I keep saying we can’t make excuses, and we haven’t done it, so we’ve just got to keep going and hopefully turn the tide for us. The points total doesn’t lie, we’re bottom of our table with games in hand, but that doesn’t matter. We’ve got to get some wins and get going.”
- Quincy Amarikwa scored a goal for a second consecutive match, and now has four on the season. He has a goal or an assist now in four consecutive games (3 goals, 1 assist).
- Rookie Harry Shipp contributed his team-leaving third assist on the season, all coming in the last five matches.
- “Harry has been outstanding. If I had to say two guys that have pulled us through the first seven games, it’s definitely been Harry and Quincy,” said Larentowicz. “As soon I, and I’m sure the coaches, saw him we knew he was going to do something for us this year, and he has, and needs to continue.”
- The Fire have yet to be shut out – and have yet to record a defensive shutout – along with FC Dallas the only teams without a shutout on both ends. Seattle Sounders FC have also scored a goal in each game; Chivas USA and Portland still have yet to record a defensive shutout.
- “It’s been extremely frustrating, especially since we’re dominating teams, we’re outplaying teams and creating the best chances and we’re not getting wins – that’s the most frustrating part,” said forward Patrick Nyarko. “I keep telling the guys that if we keep playing like this we’re not going to lose a lot of games and the tide is not always going to go against us like this. We just need to keep pushing and sustain that until the end of the game. We need to buckle down, even though we’re frustrated, and the wins will come.”
REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake continued their undefeated start to the campaign, though Vancouver Whitecaps FC scored two late goals to leave the teams in a 2-2 draw Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. RSL are in third place in the Western Conference with 14 points from 8 matches.
- RSL were in the lead after just two minutes. Taking possession of the ball after a dummy by midfielder Luke Mulholland, Joao Plata raced into the area on the left and drove a low shot inside the far post.
- By just the ninth minute it was 2-0. RSL midfielder Ned Grabavoy fended off three Vancouver defenders in the box and got the ball to forward Alvaro Saborio, whose terrific curling left-footed shot from the right side of the box sailed into the upper left corner of the goal, out of reach of Vancouver goalkeeper David Ousted.
- Whitecaps FC pulled a goal back in the 86th minute. RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando made a save, but could only turn the rebound toward Nicolas Mezquida, and he was able to bundle the ball over the line.
- Then in the fourth minute of stoppage time, Sebastian Fernandez fired a rocket from all of 35 yards out that left Rimando no chance to keep out of the back of the net.
- RSL head coach Jeff Cassar made one change to the team that defeated the Portland Timbers 1-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium. Joao Plata came into the team in place of Olmes Garcia.
- REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert - Luke Mulholland (Sebastian Velasquez 63), Kyle Beckerman, Ned Grabavoy - Javier Morales (John Stertzer 90) - Joao Plata (Olmes Garcia 74), Alvaro Saborio.
- Real Salt Lake remained the only undefeated team in Major League Soccer after the draw, having extended their overall undefeated run to 12 matches dating back to the end of last season, the club’s longest since its record 18-game undefeated streak from July 24, 2010 to April 13, 2011 (tied for second-longest in MLS history).
- “I think any tie at home is like a loss,” RSL defender Nat Borchers said. “Especially when we have that kind of energy and domination in the first half, we expect that we're going to get maybe two or three more goals after that. And we just couldn't muster it. We just kept them in the game and the next thing you know they get that goal at the last minute. We just didn't close the game out right.”
- Real conceded the equalizing goal for the third time in the 90th minute or later this season, and the second time in stoppage time.
- “We gave up two goals that we shouldn’t have. We shouldn’t have to score a third, we should be able to kill the game off,” said defender Chris Wingert. “There were a number of ways of winning that game – keeping them off the scoreboard, or scoring a third and the games probably over and we didn’t do any of them unfortunately.”
- Said RSL head coach Jeff Cassar: “I thought our defending set plays was better. ... It’s something we’re going to have to look at, and just be more cognizant of recognizing danger. I think we could’ve closed this game out relatively easily, but we made it hard on ourselves by giving the ball away.”
- Joao Plata made his first start since March 22 and scored his third goal of the season, his first since netting in each of the opening two matches of the season.
- “Whether he comes off the bench or starts the game, he puts the fear in defenders. I thought he did a great job,” said RSL head coach Jeff Cassar. “I took him out a bit early, because he’s coming off of a hamstring injury, and I didn’t want to put him in a position where he’d possibly re-injure himself.”
- Álvaro Saborío scored his fourth goal of the season, his first since hitting the back of the net three times in back-to-back games March 22-29.
- “In the first half, that was close to as good as we can play,” Wingert said. “The energy was awesome. The guys were working really hard for each other. In the second half, unfortunately, we let them put us on our heels a little bit.” Said Cassar: “Every time we’re at home, we want to start off right and really get the fans into the game. I thought the first half – there was so much energy inside the stadium, and the fans were a huge part of that.”