Chicago Lineup: 3-5-2
Jorge Bava, Johan Kappelhof, Jonathan Campbell (Drew Conner 55), Joao Meira, Michael Harrington, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Dax McCarty ©, Brandon Vincent, Michael de Leeuw, Nemanja Nikolic, David Accam (Daniel Jonson 73)
Chicago got back on track Saturday with a 1-0 victory over the Columbus Crew. The goal came in the 22nd minute when McCarty got the ball just past midfield and had way too much time to look up. Dax beautifully places a ball through five Crew defenders and the ball finds Nemanja Nicolic making a run behind. Nico one times it back post managing to slip one past the young American, Zack Steffen. Zack maybe should have done better but it was nonetheless a good finish by the Hungarian and an even better through ball by McCarty.
With Juninho and Polster still out, Michael de Leeuw made his return to the starting lineup. Michael slotted into a creative attacking midfield role, as Paunovic opted for the 3-5-2. With Harrington further up the field, he was given less defensive responsibility which let him do what he is best at, run up the wings. In addition Campbell got the start to join Meira and Kappelhof as a very solid back three. Up top Accam and de Leeuw managed to hold their own creating a good amount of dangerous chances. Not to mention what maybe worked best, the Schwein-McCarty combo in the defensive midfield. After the game Bastian even said, “He’s great to have behind you. He covers a lot and he also understands the game very well. He knows exactly where to pass the ball, when to turn, and when to keep the ball. You can really see that he is experienced”.
Substitutes all had a good showing, Daniel Johnson seems to be coming in to his own and managing to get more minutes as the season continues. Drew Conner also had a fine showing, he got significant minutes for the first time in a regular season match.
New England visits Toyota Park next weekend, and Chicago looks to prove there no joke in 2017. Down in Tulsa, Calistri and Fernandez continue to get regular minutes.