Chicago 1 – 0 Florida Golf Coast University
Chicago Fire Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Jorge Rodrigo Bava; Boyd Okwuono*, Johan Kappelhof, Joao Meira, Brandon Vincent; Brandt Bronico #, Juninho; John Goossens, Luis Solignac, David Accam; Nemanja Nikolic
Chicago Fire Second Half: Matt Lampson; Drew Beckie*, Jonathan Campbell, Matej Dekovic #, Patrick Doody; Collin Fernandez, Drew Conner, Miguel Alvarado*, Daniel Johnson; David Arshakyan, Guillermo Delgado #
* Indicates trialist
# Indicates unsigned SuperDraft pick
The Chicago Fire started their preseason schedule with a scrimmage against NCAA Tournament team FGCU and Herman Trophy finalist Albert Ruiz. Chicago kept Ruiz fairly quiet throughout the night and created many chances. With the lone goal coming in the closing minutes of the first half. Luis Solignac sent the ball out to David Accam who set up Solignac for a shot on goal. Solignac’s attempt ended up at the foot of Nemanja Nicolic who had a tap in goal to take the lead. The rest of the game was sprinkled with chance from The Men in Red but it was nothing spectacular. There is not too much to read into with the result since it is just preseason but let’s try get a few takeaways from what did happen.
First of all, what about that starting lineup? It is a lot closer to a normal starting lineup than I would have predicted. Last year at this time Joey Calistri was starting at right back, Joey is a dynamic forward with speed and a finishing ability not an outside back. Starting from the back, Bava and Lampson ended up splitting halves but Bava did get the start which probably means that at this point it’s Bava’s position to lose. Although Bava seems to be the starter as of now, I still think the race for the starting spot is neck and neck. This spot could change as soon as next game but I believe that the biggest reason Bava is here is to mentor Lampson and will therefore most likely be the man between the posts for the preseason and even the first few regular season matches.
The main interesting note about the defense is that Kappelhof was used as a center back, thank you.Campbell was pushed to the second half, Paunovic seems to want to give the young kids less pressure this season. Brandon Vincent started because what other option does Pauno have, Harrington?
The midfield was a 2-3 formation and the most interesting thing to note here is that Luis Solignac was used as the second striker. He could be an option to connect the midfield to Nemanja but I think he looks a lot better up top as a hold up player. In addition, Juninho wore the number 10 Jersey, could he be used in that attacking midfield position? Three main exclusions from the lineups were Matt Polster, Arturo Alvarez, and Michael de Leeuw who could all have been starters in the midfield. There are some reading into these exclusions especially with Polster, nothing to read into here yet. If Matt Polster doesn’t play in the next few preseason games then something might be up but for now it’s simply a preseason game and nothing to worry about.
Up top we got out first look at King Nico and got to see a very awkward looking tap in but nonetheless a goal, I’ll take it. Joey Calistri was a surprise no show on this game and I would expect big minutes this preseason going forward.
Going forward expect Chicago to continue to integrate the system of controlling the pace of the game in a 4-2-3-1. We have the defensive midfield to do this, the question is do we have the ability to connect it to our strikers?
-Argentinian versatile winger Juan Pablo Caffa has been added as a trialist.
-Daniel Johnson and Stephan Cleveland both have been signed.
-Miguel Alvarado has been added as a trialist. Not much to report yet on trialists, waiting to pass judgement and still nothing to report on getting more international spots.
-International trade window has closed and David Accam seems to be safe for now from international transfers.