The Chicago Fire used Cameroonian midfielder Yazid Atouba’s second goal of preseason to earn a 1-1 draw with Chivas USA in a friendly Tuesday afternoon at The Home Depot Center.
Though the team didn’t come away victorious, there were some positive signs over the side’s first two preseason matches in southwest Florida.
WATCH: Postgame reaction to Chivas USA Draw
My thoughts from the game...
*After only one training session since returning from Atletico Madrid, Corben Bone started on the left and made the most of the first 45 minutes, combining with Gonzalo Segares on overlapping runs as well as linking up with Sherjill MacDonald, Chris Rolfe and Joel Lindpere.
*MacDonald and Rolfe looked much improved as a tandem over their previous two outings, playing off of each other a number of times. The two came close to finding the final pass with each other a few times.
There are still some things to work on but there would be much more reason for concern if they weren’t creating at all. This isn’t the case.
*Aside from a giveaway in the first half, Jeff Larentowicz did a good job playing the holding role, breaking up many attacks and organizing in the center of the park. With Pause coming on later in the second period, Larentowicz interestingly wore the captain's armband through the first 60 minutes.
*Like Rolfe and MacDonald, Larentowicz and Joel Lindpere showed positive signs in their midfield partnership. Lindpere has been given a bit more room to roam forward while Larentowicz plays deeper, not exactly a diamond midfield but much less an empty bucket.
*The Fire controlled most of the possession in the first half but got caught out in the 39th minute when Juan Agudelo won the ball at midfield and slid a beautiful pass between Austin Berry and Jalil Anibaba for striker partner Miller Bolanos who did well to finish pass Tornaghi.
* Fire SuperDraft selection Yazid Atouba entered the match in the second period and immediately began to cause problems on the left. The Cameroon youth international combined well with Segares and eventually Rolfe as the veteran forward slid him into the box before a beautiful chip to the back post for the equalizer in the 52nd.
*With so many trialists entering towards the end of the game, not much could be said for the team’s connectivity.
One player that stood out for me in that group was forward Blake Brettschneider. The former D.C. and New England striker did constant work up top, holding up the ball while taking a bit of a beating. The Georgia native certainly earned another look in my book.
*With Saturday being a doubleheader featuring the Fire reserves taking on UCSB and the first team facing the San Jose Earthquakes, expect more time together on the field from the starting group.
*Also expect to see the Fire bolstered with the returns of Arne Friedrich, Patrick Nyarko and possible debut of Dilly Duka.