PORTLAND, Ore. – The Chicago Fire wrapped up an unbeaten preseason with a 1-1 come-from-behind draw against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday, closing their participation at the 2015 Simple Invitational hosted by Portland’s Providence Park.
Trinidadian trialist Shahdon Winchester supplied the game-tying goal in the 90th minute. Vancouver snagged an initial 1-0 lead in the first half thanks to a header from Pa Modou Kah, but Chicago showed its fortitude with another rally late in the match. With the draw, Chicago closed its preseason 1-0-4.
|Simple Invitational Schedule|
Chicago Fire 0:0 Stabaek
(Sun., Feb. 22, 4:30 p.m. CT)
Chicago Fire 1:1 Timbers
(Weds., Feb. 25, 9:30 p.m. CT)
Chicago Fire 1:1 Whitecaps
(Sat., Feb. 28, 4:30 p.m. CT)
Quincy Amarikwa forced the first save of the game in the eighth minute. After a misclearance by Vancouver’s back line, Amarikwa let rip from 15 yards out. The shot forced Whitecaps FC goalkeeper David Ousted to make a diving stop with the ball destined for the upper corner of the net. Chris Ritter had a chance at the ensuing corner kick, but his headed attempt went high of the target.
Kennedy Igboananike had a pair of golden chances in the 17th minute. The Nigerian forward nearly tallied with his head on a free kick from Shaun Maloney, but Ousted made a brilliant diving save. Chicago maintained possession with Harry Shipp finding Lovel Palmer open near the end line, allowing the Jamaican defender to hit a low cross toward Igboananike. However, the attempt carried a higher degree of difficulty and his side-volleyed shot rose high.
Shahdon Winchester Postmatch Reaction
Frank Yallop Postmatch Reaction
Vancouver capitalized on its first dangerous chance of the match to take a 1-0 lead a half-hour through the half. Russell Teibert volleyed an attempted clearance back into the mixer, finding Kah’s head. The center back had drifted forward for a corner kick earlier in the sequence and found himself in a fortunate position, redirecting the cross into the net from near the edge of the 18-yard box.
The Whitecaps had another look at goal three minutes later. Nicolas Mezquida ran onto a free ball on the right side of the box and blasted a shot toward the near corner, but Sean Johnson was on the spot to knock it out for a corner.
Chicago had the first look at goal midway through the second half. Maloney sent a free kick toward the near post that Larentowicz flicked into the middle of the box to an open Palmer. Palmer tried to get on top of the ball, but lifted the shot just high of the frame.
Vancouver had a chance to double their lead a minute later on a counter attack. Kekuta Manneh looped a cross to Octavio Rivero in stride, but Johnson batted away the Chilean forward’s shot with a highlight-reel reflex save from close range.
The Fire had another set-piece chance in the 82nd minute. Maloney delivered service to the far post on a corner kick and Palmer sent a centering pass with his head. Winchester was waiting, but his header was north of the frame. Moments later, Maloney had a go of his own from 25 yards out, but his blistering shot was smothered by Ousted on his line.
Winchester scored the equalizer in the 90th minute with an impressive individual effort. The Trinidadian trialist took a pass 40 yards from goal, sprinted toward Vancouver’s back line, juked a defender and then crushed a shot to the lower right corner from the top of the box.
The Men in Red will head to Southern California next to face the LA Galaxy on Friday, March 6 (9 p.m. CT / UniMas) at the StubHub Center in the first game of the 2015 MLS regular season.
2015 Simple Invitational
Chicago Fire 1:1 Vancouver Whitecaps FC
February 28, 2015 – Providence Park
VAN – Pa Modou Kah (Russell Teibert) 31
CHI – Shahdon Winchester (unassisted) 90
VAN – Kendall Waston (caution) 52
Chicago Fire: Sean Johnson, Lovel Palmer, Jeff Larentowicz, Eric Gehrig, Joevin Jones, Harry Shipp (Kingsley Bryce 82), Chris Ritter (Matt Polster 72), Shaun Maloney, Matt Watson (Michael Stephens 67), Kennedy Igboananike (Shahdon Winchester 68), Quincy Amarikwa.
Shots: 15; Shots On Goal: 5; Saves: 3; Fouls: 10; Corner Kicks: 6; Offsides: 0.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC: David Ousted, Steven Beitashour, Kendall Waston, Pa Modou Kah, Jordan Harvey (Sam Adekugbe 62), Nicolas Mezquida (Darren Mattocks 62), Pedro Morales, Kekuta Manneh, Russell Teibert (Gershon Koffie 62), Matias Laba, Octavio Rivero.
Shots: 13; Shots On Goal: 5; Saves: 4; Fouls: 12; Corner Kicks: 9; Offsides: 2.