Match Preview: Chicago vs New York, March 23, 2014

TOYOTA PARK, Bridgeview, Ill.
March 23, 2014 (WEEK 3, MLS Game #25)
Pre-game Show on MSG at 2:30 p.m. ET


Two teams coming off their first points gained in the new season will meet on Sunday afternoon when the Chicago Fire make their home debut for 2014, taking on the New York Red Bulls at Toyota Park. The Fire return home from a West Coast road swing that ended with a 1-1 draw at the Portland Timbers. The Red Bulls hit the road after their home opener, a 1-1 draw last weekend with the Colorado Rapids at Red Bull Arena.


REFEREE: Drew Fischer. SAR (bench): Anthony Vasoli; JAR (opposite): Peter Balciunas; 4th: Edvin Jurisevic
MLS Career: 24 games; FC/gm: 25.8; Y/gm: 2.8; R: 2; pens: 6

SUSPENDED: CHI: Patrick Nyarko (through March 23)

ALL-TIME (45 meetings): Fire 23 wins, 73 goals … Red Bulls 13 wins, 54 goals … Ties 9
AT CHICAGO (22 meetings): Fire 13 wins, 40 goals … Red Bulls 3 wins, 20 goals … Ties 6
RETURN MATCHES: 5/10: New York Red Bulls vs. Chicago Fire, 7 p.m. ET; 8/10: Chicago Fire vs. New York Red Bulls, 7 p.m. CT

4/7: CHI 3, NY 1 (Paladini 44; Santos 83, 89 – Olave 17)
10/27: NY 5, CHI 2 (Henry 24; Sekagya 49; Sam 56; Alexander 77; Steele 84 – Magee 6; Amarikwa 90)

  • The teams split their season series a year ago, each winning at home. When the Fire won 2-0 at Red Bull Arena in the final meeting between the teams in 2012, it was their first away win in the series since the 2009 season.
  • The Red Bulls have never won at Toyota Park. Their last away win against Chicago came May 14, 2005, a 3-0 win at Soldier Field.
  • Coaches record: Frank Yallop vs. NY: P20 W6 L7 T7 … Mike Petke vs. CHI: P2 W1 L1 T0

The Chicago Fire completed their season-opening road swing by collecting their first point of the season, reaching a 1-1 draw with the Portland Timbers on Sunday afternoon at Providence Park. The Fire sit in a tie for fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 1 point from 2 games.


  • The Fire took the lead in the 19th minute. Quincy Amarikwa chased down a long ball in the box and Timbers center back Norberto Paparatto took him down near the end line. After referee Marcos de Oliveira pointed to the spot, Jeff Larentowicz calmly fired home as Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts guessed wrong.
  • The Fire were reduced to 10 men when Patrick Nyarko was sent off in the 86th minute after a second caution for a reckless challenge on Darlington Nagbe.
  • But the Timbers again hit for a late equalizer at home. Nagbe's rocket from the top of the area was saved by Fire goalkeeeper Sean Johnson, but the rebound fell right to Gaston Fernandez for the easy tap-in in the 79th minute and his second goal in as many games.
  • Fire head coach Frank Yallop made four changes to the team that suffered a 3-2 loss to Chivas USA at StubHub Center. Benji Joya, Matt Watson and Harry Shipp were all given the start in midfield, in place of Dilly Duka, Chris and Patrick Nyarko, and Quincy Amarikwa started up top for Juan Luis Anangono.
  • CHICAGO FIRE (4-1-4-1): Sean Johnson - Lovel Palmer (Patrick Ianni 67), Bakary Soumare, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Gonzalo Segares - Jeff Larentowicz - Benji Joya (Patrick Nyarko 64; ejected 86), Alex, Matt Watson, Harry Shipp - Quincy Amarikwa (Juan Luis Anangono 83).


  • The Fire return home after gaining their first point of 2014, even after finishing the match a man down.
  • “I thought we played very well in the first half; could have maybe been two-up, but that’s football. You’ve got to take your chances,” said Fire head coach Frank Yallop. “But, in the end, with what happened in the match, getting the red card and under a lot of pressure at the end, I think we did well to hold onto the point.”
  • With Chris Rolfe (bruised foot) and Dilly Duka (tight hamstring) both out for the Portland match, Benji Joya and Harry Shipp were given their first-ever MLS starts. Shipp was the first Fire Homegrown Player in club history to start a match.
  • Quincy Amarikwa was also inserted into the starting lineup and won the penalty that led to the Fire’s opening goal, converted by Jeff Larentowicz. It was Amarikwa’s first start with the club after 15 appearances as a substitute; he has four goals in 232 minutes with Chicago.
  • “Quincy did a great job drawing the penalty kick first,” said Shipp. “I think we came out confident. We didn’t want to be shy. We felt like we didn’t come out with as much energy as we would have liked to last week, so we really wanted to change that this week. Then giving up the goal wasn’t what we wanted, but I think we responded pretty well. We had a couple good chances after we gave up that goal to actually steal the game and win 2-1. So overall I think we responded pretty well to giving up the goal.”
  • “I thought we performed very well today. Shipp had his first game, was great. Benji Joya had a start as well. Matt Watson, who I picked up from Vancouver, had a tremendous game today,” said Yallop. “I had Quincy [Amarikwa] up top and I thought Quincy was a real handful all game. He’s doing well, he works hard at his game, and those guys did really well today and I was happy.”
  • Mike Magee once again did not feature for the Fire, still suffering from a hamstring injury. “I don’t want to risk him and have him out for too long,” Yallop said. “Mike just wants to help the team, and as coach I’m there to protect him, so I’m going to make the decision on whether he’s ready to go for the weekend. I do not want to put any player, let alone Mike, at risk of re-injuring and going backwards.”

The New York Red Bulls opened their home season with their first point of the season, reaching a 1-1 result with the Colorado Rapids on Saturday afternoon at Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls sit in a tie for fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 1 point from 2 matches on the season.


  • The Red Bulls went in front in the 57th minute. Lloyd Sam sent in a cross from the right that found an unmarked Thierry Henry floating to the back post, and he finished with a diving header that beat rookie goalkeeper John Berner from close range.
  • But the Rapids found the equalizer a quarter-hour later. Marvin Chavez was adjudged to have been fouled from behind by New York defender Jamison Olave and referee Alan Kelly pointed to the spot. Substitute Vicente Sanchez buried the resulting penalty to leave the teams level.
  • Red Bulls boss Mike Petke made four changes to the team that fell 4-1 to Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place. Jamison Olave, Roy Miller, Bradley Wright-Phillips and Thierry Henry all came into the team, in place of Ibrahim Sekagya, Eric Alexander, Peguy Luyindula and Jonny Steele.
  • NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-4-2): Luis Robles - Richard Eckersley, Jamison Olave, Armando, Roy Miller - Lloyd Sam (Eric Alexander 81), Dax McCarty, Tim Cahill, Bobby Convey (Jonny Steele 67) - Bradley Wright-Phillips (Peguy Luyindula 86), Thierry Henry.


  • For a third consecutive year, the Red Bulls have started the season winless in their first two games. Last year, the Red Bulls opened the season 0-2-2 – and still went on to claim the Supporters’ Shield for the best regular season record in the league.
  • “I feel like we were in a similar position last year, right, and it worked out all right. So, it’s a-34 game season and I would much rather we sort out some of our insufficiencies right now, and I think that was the theme last year,” said goalkeeper Luis Robles. “If we can peak at the right time, which we did, then we will be a much more dangerous team into the end of the season than, say, the middle of the season.”
  • Jamison Olave returned to the back four in place of Ibrahim Sekagya, and the Red Bulls allowed just a single goal after conceding four in Vancouver.
  • “It was nice having Olave back,” said Robles. “He’s a huge defensive presence for us and he did a good job organizing, and it’s really tough to beat him one-on-one. That’s something that we were able to take advantage of today, especially because they have really fast guys. Having him back there to plug up the middle was huge for us.”
  • Said Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke: “The one thing I’m happy about the defense is that they were in sync together, whereas in Vancouver they weren’t. We worked a lot this week on holding the line, on stepping up together, dropping together, working off each other and for the most part it was good and I’m happy with them. It was a good response for them.”
  • Once again, the Red Bulls goal came from a header off a Lloyd Sam cross, this time Thierry Henry netting his first goal of the campaign in his 2014 debut.
  • “He’s head and shoulders above where he was last year at this time. Came in with a good attitude, worked hard and he focused on what we want out of him as a right-sided midfielder. I’m very happy with Lloyd,” Petke said.
  • With Henry in the lineup, Tim Cahill dropped back into a central midfield role. Bobby Convey filled the left side of midfield after playing as left back in Vancouver.
  • • Bradley Wright-Phillips was also given his first start of the season against Colorado, after coming off the substitutes’ bench and scoring the lone goal in the Vancouver match.
  • “At the end of the day, just getting a bit more creative and aware of where you are on the field and shifting here and there to make opposing defenders make decisions [is what we need],” said Petke. “If they go with you, perhaps there’s a hole that opens up that we could bypass and get to the forwards, Thierry [Henry] or Bradley [Wright-Phillips]. If they don’t come with you, you could receive the ball facing forward. It’s just little things like that.”

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