Published on March 26th, 2017 | by Ryan Voyles0
Down on the Farm: Calistri impresses in Roughnecks 4-1 victory
The Chicago Fire is hoping to strike oil with player development this year.
After two years of a underwhelming partnership with Saint Louis FC, the Fire has set their sights farther west than the Gateway to the West, and have made the Tulsa Roughnecks their new partners in the United Soccer League.
We’ve already touched on the Fire’s lack of emphasis on maintaining a USL side compared to their colleagues, but fans can only hope that the three players loaned down to Tulsa get a chance for some playing time that could prepare them for a call-up later in the season.
Those players, Joey Calistri, Matej Dekovic and Collin Fernandez; were loaned out just over a week before Tulsa’s season opener on Saturday. We will have to keep an eye on just what plans Tulsa has for these three, but we already got a glimpse during the Roughnecks 4-1 season opening win on Saturday against the Colorado Springs Switchbacks.
Calistri is Making His Presence Felt
You might remember Calistri for his 14 appearances with the Fire last year, where he accumulated one goal and one assist in 348 total minutes. The 23-year-old homegrown player was awarded for his super sub abilities by being sent down to Tulsa. Unlike the other two loanees, Calistri has all the lookings of a major offensive focal point for the USL-side despite only being with the club for a few weeks.
— Tulsa Roughnecks FC (@RoughnecksFC) March 23, 2017
Aside from the preseason goal, Calistri got the start Saturday night and was a general menace against Colorado Springs before getting subbed off in the 75th minute. The highlight of the night came in the 32nd minute when Calistri took advantage of the general incompetence of Colorado Springs goalkeeper Justin Luthy; when Calistri jumped in front of a lazy delivery just outside the box and found a slotted the ball toward a racing Ian Svantesson, who took advantage with an easy tap-in goal.
Calistri was a hoss most of the night, showing some impressive hold-up play and ability to split defenders with his runs. The opposition was undoubtedly mediocre, but it was nice to see Calistri making the most of his chances.
Fernandez Was Perfectly Fine
Fernandez was the other loanee to see time on Saturday night, going the full 90 minutes in Tulsa. Unlike Calistri, Fernandez did not have make too much of a mark, spending most of his on the Tulsa side of the midfield. He completed the passes he needed to, including one impressive pass to an open Calistri in the box that led to a corner kick. His size limitations flared up at times, as the 5′ 8″, 140 lb midfielder was muscled off the ball on several occasions.
No Sign of Dekovic
After playing 12 minutes in Tulsa’s preseason, Dekovic remained a spectator for Saturday’s match. It’s remains to be seen how the 23-year-old defender will factor into Tulsa’s plans.