The Chicago Fire lost to the Vancouver Whitecaps 3-2 at SeatGeek Stadium on Saturday afternoon. It was the last preseason match for the Fire before their home opener next Saturday against the New England Revolution.
The match kicked off with some early fireworks as both teams scored in the first seven minutes of the game. The Whitecaps opened the scoring on an opportunity that was gifted to them by the Fire. Gastón Giménez made a poor back pass to Francisco Calvo, who admittedly was half at fault as well. Cristian Dájome then intercepted the pass, took it half the length of the field, and slotted it past Bobby Shuttleworth for the opening goal.
But the Fire would equalize soon after. Luka Stojanović was splattered into the penalty area, causing the referee to point to the spot. Robert Berić calmly slotted home the penalty and both teams were level.
While there were not many chances for the next 20 or so minutes, the match temperament certainly added to the aforementioned fireworks. Both teams made some rough challenges and tempers began to simmer, which is unusual for a preseason friendly.
A couple of shots by either side were saved comfortably before Vancouver's second goal of the game. A Whitecap corner kick was poorly marked by the Fire as Lucas Cavallini headed home the goal that put Vancouver up at the break.
Fire Play Well In Second Half, Rue Missed Chances
The Fire came out of the halftime interval the better side, creating most of the chances and keeping the majority of the possession. Defender Johan Kappelhof had arguably the best chance of the game when a Przemysław Frankowski cross came in the six-yard box. Kappelhof got his right foot on it but somehow hit the ball over the cross-bar.
Chicago continued having the better of the ball until yet another defensive mistake led to the third Whitecap goal. After an errant pass missed Calvo once again, the Fire defender fouled Cristian Dájome, leading to a Whitecap free-kick.
Lucas Cavallini took the free-kick beautifully for his second goal of the match, curling the ball in with his left foot. Shuttleworth had no chance and the Fire found themselves down 3-1.
The Fire never took their foot off the gas, remaining in Vancouver's half for nearly the rest of the match. However, missed chances continued to be a problem and Chicago was mostly inefficient with the ball in the final third. Last year's leading scorer Robert Berić was the culprit of one of these missed chances as he missed a header from a Frankowski cross just eight yards out that simply should have been put away.
Finally, Chicago's play was rewarded as Francisco Calvo made up for his poor defensive performance with a headed goal from a Mauricio Pineda cross. The Fire continued to knock on the door during the final ten minutes of the game searching for the equalizer, but it was not to be as the Fire's defensive mistakes ultimately cost them in a 3-2 loss.
Man of the Match
My man of the match for the Fire was Przemysław Frankowski. The Polish midfielder made effective runs and was dangerous with the ball at his feet. He made several key crosses, one of which surely should have ended up in the back of the net.
What's On Tap Next?
Well, from here on out, all the games count. The Fire host the New England Revolution for their season and home opener on Saturday, April 17th. Kickoff is set for 7:30 PM CT at Soldier Field and the match will air either on WGN-9 or CFFC Live via the team's website or mobile app.
Stay tuned here at On Tap Sports Net for all of the latest soccer coverage across Chicago throughout the season.