Published on February 19th, 2017 | by Jeff Engelhardt1
Chicago Fire blast Miami FC 5-2
The Chicago Fire won 5-2 against Miami FC Sunday to improve to 4-0 on the preseason. The following video should suffice as a recap.
— Chicago Fire (@ChicagoFire) February 20, 2017
It was one of the prettiest plays the Fire has had in recent years, preseason or not. The incredible run from Drew Conner, the quick touches from Juninho, Michael Harrington and Arturo Alvarez, and of course the great decision from Nemanja Nikolic and finish from David Accam. It was a fantastic team goal and the highlight of the easy victory.
Like most preseason games, there is little to take away from the match other than the Fire is showing an aggressiveness on attack that has not been seen in quite some time. Both the first half and second half opened with fireworks as Chicago got on the board within the first 10 minutes of each respective frame, mostly because of the intense pressure that was applied.
In the first frame, Luis Solignac opened the festivities by pouncing on an incredibly poor back pass from a Miami FC defender. Solignac gathered the errant pass and easily slotted it past the keeper for the early 1-0 lead. To start the second half, Arturo Alvarez found himself just outside the box and fired a probing shot toward goal. While the chance didn’t look promising at first, Alvarez hit it with such pace that the keeper was not strong enough to paw it away despite getting a hand on it.
Both plays set the tone for most of the match.
The first half was mostly controlled by the Fire after the Solignac strike, but the team found itself briefly tied up with Miami FC after an unfortunate turnover from rookie midfielder Daniel Johnson led to an odd-man rush for Miami. The Fire defenders could not recover, most notably trialist right back Taylor Peay who ended up out of position and conceding plenty of space to eventual goal scorer Dylan Mares.
The Fire reclaimed the lead before the half after a Brandon Vincent cross found the hand of a Miami FC defender in the box, which led to a penalty kick. John Goossens unleashed a rocket right under the bar to add to his legend of awesome preseason goals.
The second half is when the fun really began. After the early Alvarez goal, the Fire continued to pile on the pressure. After a bunch of threatening interplay from Nikolic, Alvarez and others, Juninho took a crack from distance that sent Miami FC goalkeeper Mario Vega diving for the stop. The rebound was pounced on by David Arshakyan who made no mistake and gave Chicago the 4-1 lead.
The fifth goal came courtesy of Accam after that brilliant build up shown at the very start of this recap. Go watch it again right now.
Miami FC’s second goal was only notable because it came after Stefan Cleveland, the Fire’s third-string goalkeeper, made a beautiful save on a penalty kick. The ensuing rebound was buried by Ariel Martinez for the second goal.
Cleveland likely only played because Matt Lampson was out with an MCL sprain, but he looked great out there nonetheless.
Fans looking for answers at right back probably didn’t find many after this game either. Peay did nothing to lay claim to the spot and Harrington remains wildly inconsistent. While Harrington made a beautiful touch on the build-up to the Accam goal and delivered a great cross to Nikolic that should have been headed home for a goal, he also was caught dogging it on defense. Color commentator Kevin Egan even called him out on the broadcast. So that battle continues.
Overall it was another great performance from the Men in Red, who return to the field for their penultimate preseason match against FC Cincinnati on Wednesday at 3 p.m.