By Daniela Calvo // @DanielaCalvo__
Saturday, March 31: 2-2 Draw
Chicago Fire Starting XI:
Richard Sanchez; Brandon Vincent, Christian Dean, Johan Kappelhof, Kevin Ellis;
Tony Tchani, Dax McCarty ©; Aleksandar Katai, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Elliot Collier;
On a very windy Saturday, the Chicago Fire gathered their first point of the 2018 season. After having a week off, the team had extra time to figure where mistakes were made in their previous two matches and prepare for the upcoming match vs the Portland Timbers. But somehow those same mistakes were echoed and made for a grueling 90 minutes of soccer on a day that was outshined by other great MLS matchups.
— Nikolic Nemanja (@niko_nemanja) April 1, 2018
The party started early, fans celebrated with Nemanja Nikolić and his family when he was awarded the Golden Boot for his outstanding scoring performance last season. Six minutes into the kickoff whistle, Portland’s Diego Valeri scored the first goal of the match. After that first goal, the first half was run by the Timbers. The Fire had very little possession time and could not capitalize to equalize the score.
The halftime whistle blew and the score was 0-1. Paul Tenorio asked the captain a question before he met with the team in the locker room. The question was, “What do you think will have to change?” McCarty’s answer, “We need to press higher up the field, we are at home and we are letting Portland dictate the game.”
The second half was underway and Chicago’s coach, Veljko Paunović made one roster change- he subbed rookie, Diego Campos for Katai. In the 50th minute, Nikolić scored Chicago’s first goal of the match with the assist of Schweinsteiger. Five minutes later, Portland would take the lead once more with a goal by Sebastian Blanco. It took the Fire almost 30 minutes and an excruciating amount of tries to equalize.
Brandon Vincent scored the second goal with another assist by Schweinsteiger. Once the game was tied the game seemed to take on a different pace, the Fire were kicking it up a gear and putting pressure on the Portland defense, but alas, the final whistle blew and the match ended 2-2.
The Fire broke a two-game losing streak and finally earned their first point of the season. Bastian Schweinsteiger won Man of the Match for his assists on both goals. But all eyes were on Diego Campos, the rookie made his professional debut and did so with such confidence.
“My job was to bring more energy, put the ball in the penalty box, and I thought we did that.” – @diegocam99
— Chicago Fire (@ChicagoFire) April 1, 2018
Chicago added 2 players to their injury list; defender, Matt Polster is out for 5 to 6 weeks with an MCL sprain and forward, Luis Solignac is out for 6 to 8 weeks with a left quad injury. The Fire are back in action next Saturday, April 7, at 7:30 PM CST.
Images courtesy: Daniela Calvo/mlsfemale
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