Whitecaps FC suffer first MLS defeat to Chicago Fire
Highlights: Chicago 1-0 Vancouver.
BRIDGEVIEW, IL - Wrapping up a five-match road spell, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (8W-6L-6D) suffered a 1-0 defeat at Eastern Conference side Chicago Fire (9W-6L-4D) on Saturday evening.
Pavel Pardo’s early strike proved the difference in this lone Major League Soccer regular season meeting between Whitecaps FC and Chicago in 2012.
Through the second-half sending off of Fire centre back Arne Friedrich gave Vancouver a man advantage for the latter stages of the contest at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois, the Blue and White were unable to find a way past Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson.
Saturday’s result was the Fire’s first victory over Whitecaps FC in MLS and Vancouver’s second-straight defeat to conclude this extended spell on the road, plus their regular season schedule versus Eastern Conference opposition.
“We've played a lot of games in a short space of time on the road and we can't wait to get back home to BC Place on Wednesday night and then another home game on Sunday,” Whitecaps FC head Martin Rennie told Vancouver’s TEAM 1040 radio. “We've put in a lot of miles, we've got many of our away games out of the way now. We deserved more out of the last two games, but we can also take a lot of positives in how the team has responded to adversity.”
The first half belonged to Chicago, who looked bright and full of energy for large spells. There was an early chance for the Fire’s Chris Rolfe on five minutes before the home side won the match on 10 minutes.
After earning a free kick near the edge of the Chicago box, Pardo expertly struck a curling set-piece over the Vancouver wall and into the empty net to make it 1-0 to the Fire. It was Mexican legend’s first goal of the season.
Chicago looked to build on their lead with several more first-half chances. The best of those opportunities came on 23 minutes when Alex fed Dominic Oduro into the Whitecaps FC box. However, Vancouver goalkeeper Joe Cannon made a fine save on the speedy Ghanaian.
The visiting ‘Caps may not have had much of the play before the break, but they did create some chances through Darren Mattocks and Barry Robson that tested Johnson. Robson then had Vancouver’s best chance of the half on 42 minutes with a 40-yard free kick drive that flew just over the Chicago crossbar.
The second half saw a change in momentum towards the ‘Caps, who restarted the game with new acquisition Dane Richards making his Whitecaps FC debut after replacing Alain Rochat, who will miss the midweek home clash versus LA Galaxy through caution accumulation.
The Fire had chances early in the second half. Oduro hit the post and then scored before seeing that goal blown down for offside on 53 minutes. Vancouver replied with efforts from Mattocks and DeMerit before a big moment in the match occurred on 69 minutes.
Having received his first booking for fouling Mattocks two minutes earlier, Friedrich was given his marching orders after earning a second yellow card from match referee Jose Carlos Rivero after fouling Mattocks again near the Fire box.
Friedrich’s sending off provided an opportunity for Whitecaps FC to get back into the match with an extra man, and the visitors pressed hard to find an equalizer. Richards and substitute Camilo Sanvezzo had chances, while Robson just missed the target with a powerfully-struck free kick on 71 minutes.
Whitecaps FC’s last substitute to come into the match was striker Eric Hassli. The big Frenchman came close to levelling the match on 87 minutes, but Johnson did well to save his goal-bound header from Young-Pyo Lee’s fine cross.
Four minutes of stoppage time proved not enough to turn the result around, as Whitecaps FC concluded this latest road trip in disappointing fashion. The ‘Caps now head home to play four of the next five league matches on Bell Pitch at BC Place, starting Wednesday night versus defending MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Jordan Harvey
Referee: Jose Carlos Rivero
10' - CHI - Pavel Pardo
Shots: Chicago 12 - Vancouver 9
Shots on Goal: Chicago 3 - Vancouver 4
Saves: Chicago 4 - Vancouver 2
Fouls: Chicago 14 - Vancouver 14
Offsides: Chicago 5 - Vancouver 0
Corners: Chicago 0 - Vancouver 3
12' - VAN - Darren Mattocks
36' - CHI - Gonzalo Segares
41' - CHI - Alex
43' - VAN - Alain Rochat
67' - CHI - Arne Friedrich
69' - CHi - Arne Friedrich
69' - CHI - Arne Friedrich
25.Sean Johnson; 6.Jalil Anibaba, 22.Austin Berry, 23.Arne Friedrich, 13.Gonzalo Segares; 12.Logan Pause, 17.Pavel Pardo; 18.Chris Rolfe, 71.Alex (3.Dan Gargan 71'), 14.Patrick Nyarko (88.Rafael Robayo 78'); 8.Dominic Oduro (19.Corben Bone 65')
Substitutes not used: 1.Jay Nolly, 9.Federico Puppo, 11.Daniel Paladini, 16.Marco Pappa
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.Joe Cannon; 12.Young-Pyo Lee, 15.Martin Bonjour (29.Eric Hassli 75'), 6.Jay DeMerit, 3.Jordan Harvey; 27.Jun Marques Davidson, 4.Alain Rochat (20.Dane Richards 45'); 14.Barry Robson, 28.Gershon Koffie, 13.Michael Nanchoff (37.Camilo Sanvezzo 59'); 22.Darren Mattocks
Substitutes not used: 18.Brad Knighton, 19.Carlyle Mitchell, 31.Russell Teibert, 32.Greg Klazura