PHOENIX -- The Chicago Fire Soccer Club defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 4-1 at the Arizona State Women's Soccer Stadium, on a pair of two-goal performances from Fire forwards Collins John and Stefan Dimitrov. The 4-1 win over the Whitecaps marked the Fire's first victory of their 2010 preseason campaign.
John, currently on trial with the Fire, scored his first goal in a Fire uniform in the 17th minute. Taking advantage of a short clearance, Jaao Baptista found an open John in the Vancouver penalty area, John collected the pass with his back to net, turned and fired home a right-footed blast to the far post past Vancouver goalkeeper Dan Pelc.
In the 36th minute John rounded out his strong first half with his second goal of the game. A deflected ball off of a Drew Yates shot attempt fell to John in the penalty area. The former Fulham forward struck the ball with his left foot off of a half-volley and buried the ball into the corner of the net to give the Fire a 2-0 advantage.
The Whitecaps pulled one back to bring the Fire lead to one with the first half coming to a close. Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Ricardo Sanchez stepped up and converted a penalty kick in the 38th minute to tighten the score to 2-1 heading into halftime.
The second half was much of the same, with Fire forward Stefan Dimitrov replacing John and producing a similar result - a two-goal half. Drew Yates added his second assist of the day, finding Dimitrov in the 50th minute for his first goal of the game. Yates through ball found Dimitrov on the right side of the box, Dimitrov met the ball and fired a driven, right-footed shot into the back of the net. Dimitrov tallied his second goal of the game, powerfully heading a Mark Blades cross past the diving arms of Whitecaps goalkeeper Dan Pelc.
The team will return to Chicago on Thursday before departing for their next leg of preseason training, in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Sunday, Feb. 21.
The Fire play host to the San Jose Earthquakes on Opening Night at TOYOTA PARK on Saturday, April 10 at 7:30 PM CT. Fire fans hoping to secure seats for Opening Night vs. San Jose can now purchase group tickets via the front office. Tickets start at just $18 for groups of 15 or more. Fans wishing to purchase group tickets can do so by 1-888-MLS-FIRE (657-3473) or by going to www.chicago-fire.com.
Chicago Fire 4 : 1 Vancouver Whitecaps FC (USSF Div. 2)
Arizona State Women's Soccer Stadium
Chicago Fire: Andrew Dykstra (Sean Johnson, 41'); Jonathan Aleman (Pedro Rodriguez, 51'), Izzy Iriekpen, Dasan Robinson, O'Brian Woodbine; Jaime Cuesta, Renato Gonzalez (Mark Blades, 41'), Jaao Baptista, Corben Bone (Drew Yates, 22'), Calen Carr (Kwame Watson-Siriboe); Collins John (Stefan Dimitrov, 41')
Vancouver Whitecaps: Dan Pelc; Chris Williams, Greg Janicki (Luca Bellisomo, 48'), Nelson Akwari, Takashi Hirano; Justin Moose (Nizar Khalfan, 53'), Ricardo Sanchez (Phillipe Davies, 48'), Ansu Toure, Martin Nash (Ethan Gauge, 58'); Marlon James (Cornelius Stewart, 53), Zourab Tsiskaridze (Alex Semenets, 41')
CHI - Collins John (Jaao Baptista) 17' CHI - Collins John (Drew Yates) 36' VAN - Ricardo Sanchez (PK) 38' CHI - Stefan Dimitrov (Drew Yates) 50' CHI - Stefan Dimitrov (Mark Blades) 58'