Chicago Fire Top University of South Florida 2-0 in Preseason Opener

TAMPA, Fla. (Feb. 3, 2018) The Chicago Fire topped University of South Florida 2-0 on Saturday at Corbett Stadium in the club’s preseason opener.

On the scoresheet were 2017 MLS Golden Boot winner Nemanja Nikolic and unsigned SuperDraft pick Elliott Collier. Goalkeepers Richard Sanchez and Stefan Cleveland split the clean sheet with 45 minutes played apiece.

Luis Solignac had the first quality look at goal for Chicago 11 minutes into the match. Daniel Johnson swung a corner kick to the near post, and Solignac nodded his header just high of the cross bar.

The Fire broke through in the 40th minute with a thunderous header from Nikolic. Daniel Johnson found center back Christian Dean on an overlapping run down the left, and the hulking defender zipped a cross to Nikolic on the doorstep.

Johnson and Solignac linked up for another chance in the 57th minute. Johnson looped a free kick to an open Solignac at the far post, where Solignac redirected with a firm header on target that was blocked by the Bulls’ goalkeeper. Brandt Bronico had another look for the Fire in the 71st with a half-volley that sizzled just wide of the post.

Collier doubled Chicago’s lead in the 76th minute. Drew Conner slipped a pass in tight space near the top of the box, allowing Collier an open look at the frame. Collier took a touch and sent a low shot off an onrushing Bulls goalkeeper and into the net.

The Fire return to preseason action on Thursday, February 8 against the Philadelphia Union at the Joe DiMaggio Sports Complex. Kickoff is 10 a.m. CT with a live stream available at Chicago-Fire.com.

MLS Preseason
Chicago Fire 2:0 University of South Florida
Feb. 3, 2018 – Corbett Stadium
Attendance: 1,867

Scoring Summary:

CHI – Nemanja Nikolic (Christian Dean, Daniel Johnson) 40’
CHI – Elliott Collier (Drew Conner) 76’

Misconduct Summary:
CHI – Mo Adams (caution) 14’

Chicago Fire First Half: Richard Sanchez; Rafael Ramos, Jonathan Campbell, Christian Dean, Jorge Corrales; Mo Adams, Dax McCarty ©; Daniel Johnson, Jon Bakero, Daniel Johnson; Nemanja Nikolic.  

*Unsigned 2018 MLS SuperDraft pick
^Trialist

Chicago Fire Second Half: Stefan Cleveland; Johan Kappelhof, Grant Lillard, Brandon Vincent; Rafael Ramos (^Josh Gatt 63’), Dax McCarty © (Drew Conner 63’), Daniel Johnson (*Diego Campos 63’), Brandt Bronico, ^Maximiliano Moreira; Luis Solignac (*Elliott Collier 63’), Nemanja Nikolic (^Albert Ruiz 63’).

*Unsigned 2018 MLS SuperDraft pick
^Trialist

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