Tag Archives: Nemanja Nikolic

3 Points to Fuel the Fire

Daniela Calvo - Chicago Fire/mlsfemale
Official Chicago Fire Reporter

By Daniela Calvo // @DanielaCalvo__

Saturday, April 7: 1-0 Win

Starting XI

Sanchez; Ellis, Schweinsteiger, Kappelhof; Vincent, Tchani, McCarty ©, Conner; Campos, Gordon, Nikolić

On a brisk Saturday night, the Chicago Fire won their first match of the season. After last week’s match against the Portland Timbers, Fire coach, Veljko Paunović warned fans that the Fire will have to “prepare for a tough couple of months” due to the team’s weak defense. With that said, and a couple of changes made by Paunović, the Fire defeated their Midwest rivals, the Columbus Crew

The Fire scored early in the first half on a mistake by the Crew’s keeper, Zak Steffen, who tried to pass the ball to one of his own but Nemanja Nikolić was there to intercept the pass, and then score. The Fire was able to hold onto the lead at the half.

The second half was intense; the Crew had more possession and shots on goal, two of which were saved by the crossbar. In the 75th minute, Columbus put the ball in the back of the net but the referee marked it offside. Moving Bastian Schweinsteiger to center back aided the Fire and the weak defense. Schweinsteiger logged 11 defensive clearances. In the end, the Fire escaped with a win- it was not a pretty win but it was an important one.

This match was goalkeeper, Richard Sanchez’s first shutout game in his 6 games with the Fire. He also won Man of the Match for keeping a clean sheet against the Crew.

Rookie, Diego Campos made it to the starting lineup at mid after a stellar performance during the Timbers game the week prior. During the match with the Crew, Campos created two opportunities to score but did not have his teammates there to help him close the play.

Drew Connor recorded his first start of the season.

Grant Lillard made his MLS debut when he was subbed in at the 36th minute.

Schweinsteiger will face his old Manchester United teammate, Zlatan Ibrahimović this weekend when the Fire play against the LA Galaxy at 2:30 PM CST.

Images courtesy: Daniela Calvo/mlsfemale

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @DanielaCalvo__

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No Niko, No Party.

Daniela Calvo - Chicago Fire/mlsfemale
Official Chicago Fire Reporter

By Daniela Calvo // @DanielaCalvo__

This Saturday, Chicago Fire fans are set to celebrate Nemanja Nikolić as he will receive his Golden Boot for capping 24 goals in the 2017 season. The ceremony will be held before the Chicago Fire face the Portland Timbers.

Nikolić’s journey with the Fire began on December 20, 2016, when he transferred from the Polish club, Legia Warsaw. During his time in Legia, Nikolić led the league in scoring with 28 goals in the 2015-2016 season; he was third in assists, he was named Player of the Year and Forward of the Year, and helped Legia win the league title.

Prior to his time in Legia, Nikolić played for the Hungarian club, Videoton FC, he spent 5 years in Videton and in the span of those 5 years he received many accolades. He either led or tied in overall scoring- with an exception in one season where he tied for third place. Additionally, he helped Videoton win the league title. At the end of his second season there, Nikolić was the runner-up for the league’s Golden Boot.

In 2008, he made his professional debut in Kaposvari RFC, a Hungarian club where he capped 16 goals for the club. He was tied for second in overall scoring that season.

Nikolić came to the MLS a winner and continued his top-scoring streak with the Fire during the 2017 season. He chose to stay in Chicago and dedicate his time to the Fire instead of joining his national team, Hungary for qualifying matches. Ultimately his dedication paid off because he won the Golden Boot and helped the Fire reach the postseason for the first time since 2012.

With 2 losses in the 2018 season, the Fire is looking for some momentum to win their first game and this pregame celebration is the catalyst the team needs to continue to party with Niko.

Featured image courtesy: Daniela Calvo

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @DanielaCalvo__

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Chicago Fire home opener

Daniela Calvo - Chicago Fire/mlsfemale
Official Chicago Fire Reporter

By Daniela Calvo // @DanielaCalvo__

Saturday, March 10: 3-4 Loss

The air was crisp, fans were lining up to enter the stadium, kids high fived and took pictures with Sparky, the team’s mascot. This day was one many fans were anticipating. The Chicago Fire had to wait an additional week to play their first game of the season.

Sporting Kansas City had lost their opener a week prior to New York City FC and was looking for a win. Hopes were high for the home opener, fans thought this game would be a win for sure, but what unfolded in the 90 minutes left fans at a loss for words.

Starting XI

Richard SanchezBrandon VincentChristian DeanJohan KappelhofMatt PolsterTony TchaniDax McCarty ©; Aleksandar KataiBastian SchweinsteigerLuis SolignacNemanja Nikolić.

The first half was dominated by Sporting KC. The team took an early lead in the 9th minute- Sanchez came off the line to make a save; the ball bounced off his hands and deflected right onto Felipe Gutierrez, who scored his first goal in the MLS. As the first half was coming to a close, Johnny Russell added one more goal for the away team.

The halftime whistle blew and the Fire was down by 2. Fans were getting restless but there was plenty of time to draw or end the game in a win. The Fire needed the halftime break to regroup.

In the second half, the Fire took fans on an emotional rollercoaster. First, Katai scored his first goal in the MLS. Minutes later, Nikolić scored the second goal of the game. Just then fans were in an uproar, cheering on the team, hoping for at least one more goal and 16 minutes later they got their wish.

Nikolić scored his second and the Fire’s third goal of the match. Shortly after, Jimmy Medranda equalized after capitalizing from another blocked shot by Sanchez. At this point, a draw would suffice. But finally, in the 86th minute, Gutierrez scored his second and the final goal of the match to mark the final score 3-4.

Throughout the 90 minutes, the Fire played a messy game.  Many passes were lost at midfield and the defense was not helping either. Sporting KC capitalized on mistakes made on the pitch. The Fire, however, showed that they can overcome a deficit but alas they couldn’t earn 3 points at home.

The Fire return to action on Saturday, March 17, 2018, against Minnesota United FC at TCF Bank Stadium.

Featured image courtesy: Daniela Calvo

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @DanielaCalvo__

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Where there’s a spark there’s a fire – Chicago Fire

Daniela Calvo - Chicago Fire/mlsfemale
Official Chicago Fire Reporter

By Daniela Calvo // @DanielaCalvo__

Last season marked the Chicago Fire’s 20th year in the MLS. The Fire was in need of serious change and last season was the spark the team needed to dig themselves from the last place to the top of the table. It was one of the quickest turnarounds in the club’s history.

There were two significant player acquisitions last season that brought different sparks to the club: Bastian Schweinsteiger, who was an ambassador to the team by giving the Fire an international spotlight and Nemanja Nikolic whose skills kept old and new fans entertained. By the end of the regular season, the team qualified for playoffs for the first time since 2012 only to lose 0-4 against the New York Red Bulls in the first round. Despite the loss, there is hope that the team can build on the momentum of the 2017 regular season.

This season the Fire parted ways with David Accam, who accumulated 33 goals in the 2 years he played with the team. He was traded to the Philadelphia Union for $1.2 million in allocation money. The Fire also traded their starting goalkeeper, Matt Lampson to the Minnesota United. And finally, Arturo Alvarez was traded to the Houston Dynamo for a second-round selection in the 2019 MLS Super Draft. The team signed defender, Rafael Ramos from Orlando City; Aleksandar Katai, a forward from Deportivo Alavés; and midfielder Tony Tchani from the Vancouver Whitecaps.

 

Daniela Calvo - Chicago Fire/mlsfemale
Image courtesy: Daniela Calvo

 

Currently, there are 3 players who are injured: Djordie Mihailovic and Michael de Leeuw who both underwent ACL surgeries in November and will be out for 6 to 8 months and Jonathan Campbell suffered a facial fracture during a preseason game on February 21st and will be out for 6 weeks.

With the excitement of last season and the changes that are going on this season, the Fire will have the opportunity to play a game overseas. That game will be played on August 28, 2018, at Allianz Arena, home of the Bayern Munich. Bastian Schweinsteiger’s testimonial match against his former club will serve as an opportunity to reach out to fans of the Bundesliga and expose them to the MLS, a young league with plenty of talent and potential.

Featured image courtesy: Daniela Calvo

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @DanielaCalvo__

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale