Fire

Amid recent drama, David Accam doesn't start, but still scores in Fire loss

Amid recent drama, David Accam doesn't start, but still scores in Fire loss

After venting his frustration at not being selected to the MLS All-Stars by coach Veljko Paunovic, David Accam remained in the spotlight on Saturday.

The Chicago Fire’s Ghanaian winger didn’t start for the second straight match. For the second straight match he came off the bench and scored. Also for the second straight match, Accam’s goal brought the Fire to back within one, but was the final goal of the game in a loss.

The Fire lost 3-2 at Sporting Kansas City.

A report from Ives Galarcep, which followed up on a CSN Chicago story about Accam’s disappointment in not being selected for the All-Star Game by Paunovic, said Accam has asked the Fire to let him leave by accepting one of the recently submitted offers for him.

With all that in mind, seeing Accam listed among the substitutes instead of the starting lineup before Saturday’s game raised some eyebrows that the report could be accurate.

By the time Accam entered in the 55th minute the Fire were already trailing 3-1. His goal made for a tense finish. Nemanja Nikolic’s header in the 85th minute, which came from an Accam cross, was as close as the Fire came to getting a tying goal. Only a save from Tim Melia denied Nikolic.


With Accam not starting, Juninho filled in as an extra midfielder alongside Bastian Schweinsteiger and the returning Dax McCarty. Patrick Doody got the start at left back with Brandon Vincent still out with a quad injury. That was Doody’s first appearance for the Fire since 2015.

Sporting KC (9-4-9, 36 points) took the lead in the 23rd minute when a Daniel Salloi shot deflected off Schweinsteiger’s calf and gave goalkeeper Matt Lampson no chance. Five minutes later, a Matt Polster cross caused an own goal after Matt Besler sliced an attempted clearance back into his own net.

KC regained the lead just before halftime when Benny Feilhaber bicycle kicked a rebound from point blank range into the goal. Latif Blessing doubled the lead early in the second half.

The Fire (11-5-5, 38 points) have lost consecutive games for the second time this season. After finishing this road trip with a 0-2-1 record, the Fire return home next Saturday against the New England Revolution.

Fire rumored to be connected to former Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas

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AP

Fire rumored to be connected to former Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas

They don’t call it silly season in Europe for nothing.

The offseason rumors that pop up and, in some cases, happen make for good entertainment around the world of soccer. Sometimes those rumors are connected to MLS, whether or not the chances of them coming to fruition are high.

The latest example of this is Steven Goff of the Washington Post tweeting out a juicy rumor involving the Chicago Fire and former Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas.

Goff doesn’t sound very confident in it happening and there are plenty of reasons why, but there are also reasons why it could make sense. In this case, it makes sense for Casillas to be looking for a home to continue his career. When his contract at FC Porto expires at the end of this European season in June, he will be 37 years old.

It’s been two and a half years since he left Real Madrid, where he spent the rest of his career, and he’s not the elite goalkeeper he once was. If Casillas wants to keep playing he may not be able to stick at a Champions League club like Porto, and that’s where the MLS rumors come into play. It makes sense for Casillas to have interest in joining MLS.

On the Fire’s end, the team isn’t loaded at goalkeeper, although there are three keeprs under contract (Matt Lampson, Jorge Bava, Stefan Cleveland) with the possibility of a fourth (Richard Sanchez) also returning. The numbers logjam could be rectified without much problem if the Fire have a chance to snag Casillas.

His experience as a World Cup and Champions League winner (like Bastian Schweinsteiger), would be a nice addition to the team, regardless of age. Casillas was one of the best goalkeepers in the world and won Spain's La Liga five times and the Champions League three times in addition to winning the 2010 World Cup.

The question from the Fire’s perspective is if he could justify the high cost he would likely come with. Goalkeepers aren’t often highly paid players in MLS with the way the salary cap works. More flexibility has been added with more and more resources being given to teams from the league, but the cost of a player like Casillas may be difficult to justify at goalkeeper, even if he would provide another marketing and attendance boost like Schweinsteiger did.

This rumor makes for a good headline, but may not have much basis in reality. Still, there's a decent chance Casillas' name will continue to be connected with a move to MLS until he signs his next deal.

Fire's protected list for expansion draft hints at possible moves

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USA TODAY

Fire's protected list for expansion draft hints at possible moves

The MLS offseason doesn't take long to get in gear.

The Fire traded Arturo Alvarez earlier on Sunday, the same day which the list of protected players was to be announced ahead of Tuesday's expansion draft for Los Angeles FC.

LAFC will take five players in the expansion draft, which is set for 1 p.m. on Tuesday. A team can only lose one player. Each team can protect 11 players and homegrown players aren't eligible for selection. For the Fire that means Drew Conner and Djordje Mihailovic can't be taken.

The Fire protected David Accam, Jonathan Campbell, Johan Kappelhof, Dax McCarty, Nemanja Nikolic, Juninho, Matt Polster, Richard Sanchez, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Luis Solignac and Brandon Vincent.

While Sanchez and Schweinsteiger are out of contract, the Fire have said they are negotiating with both players. Protecting Juninho is a bit of a surprise because it implies that the Fire have some intention of keeping him for next year, or at least keeping his rights to be traded.

The Fire left David Arshakyan, Jorge Bava, Brandt Bronico, Stefan Cleveland, Jorge Corrales, Michael de Leeuw, Christian Dean, Daniel Johnson and Matt Lampson unprotected. De Leeuw would be a worthwhile pickup for LA if it thinks he is worth it after his ACL tear suffered late in the season.

With only five players being selected it's fairly likely no Fire players are taken by LAFC, but it's arguable that de Leeuw will end up being one of the best five players available. The 31-year-old tied for the team lead with eight assists and scored three goals.