PORTLAND, Ore. (Feb. 18, 2016) – The Chicago Fire wrapped up their fourth day in Portland with a 1-1 draw in a 75-minute scrimmage against the University of Portland on Thursday at Merlo Field.
Playing through a double day of practice, the Fire held a vast majority of the possession, but had to settle for a draw after a second-half equalizer from the Pilots. The play of the match came from Dutch trialist John Goossens with a 35-yard volley off his own chest.
Goossens nearly netted the first goal five minutes in, if not for a narrow offside call. Matt Polster played a crisp cross to the far post, linking with Goossens for a volleyed attempt on goal. The ball found the net, but not before the linesman indicated offsides.
The Dutchman was knocking on the door again in the 20th minute. This time he unleashed a blistering left-footed shot from the top of the box that was destined for the lower corner if not for a diving parry from Portland’s goalkeeper.
Goossens finally found his goal 40 minutes into the match with a highlight-reel finish. He chest trapped an errant ball and volleyed with his left foot into the upper right corner of the frame from 35 yards out. The goal gave Chicago a 1-0 lead five minutes before the break.
Portland equalized midway through the second period. Dirk van der Velde dropped a cross on the head of Eddie Sanchez, who nodded it home from the goal line.
The Fire had a chance to regain the lead in the late stages with Collin Fernandez on the final end of the sequence. Michael Stephens took a pass with space and sprinted toward the box from midfield. Stephens sprayed a pass wide to Fernandez and the young homegrown player ripped a shot on target from just inside the area, but into the stomach of Portland’s goalkeeper.
Chicago opens play in the 2016 Simple Invitational on Sunday, Feb. 21 against Vancouver Whitecaps FC (4:30 p.m. CT / Live stream: Chicago-Fire.com). For a full schedule of matches at Providence Park, visit Chicago-Fire.com/schedule.
Chicago Fire 1:1 University of Portland
Feb. 18, 2016 – Merlo Field
CHI – John Goossens (unassisted) 40
POR – Eddie Sanchez (Dirk van der Velde) 62
CHI – Drew Conner (caution) 58
Chicago Fire First Half: ^Callum Irving, Joey Calistri, *Vincent Keller, #Mauricio Pineda, Patrick Doody, Matt Polster ©, Nick LaBrocca, ^John Goossens, Collin Fernandez, *Alex Morrell, ^Christian Volesky.
Chicago Fire Second Half: ^Matt Bersano, Joey Calistri, *Vincent Keller, #Mauricio Pineda, Brandon Vincent, Drew Conner, Michael Stephens ©, Kingsley Bryce, Collin Fernandez, ^Christian Volesky, Kennedy Igboananike.
*Unsigned 2016 MLS SuperDraft pick
# Chicago Fire Academy player