Fire

After waiting a year and a half, Patrick Doody takes advantage of his chance

After waiting a year and a half, Patrick Doody takes advantage of his chance

For a season and a half Patrick Doody waited for his chance under coach Veljko Paunovic.

He finally got it last weekend against Sporting Kansas City, playing for the first time since his rookie season in 2015. He got another start, and three assists, in Saturday’s 4-1 win against New England.

“He still has a lot of things to improve, keep working, stay on the ground, but he did well,” Paunovic said. “Obviously we’re happy with his performance. In the second half he was kind of more relaxed because he was further from me on the other side of the sideline. It was a good performance from him and it’s great to have depth in that position. Obviously that was his second start this year and he’s adjusting very well. He’s giving the team what the team needs, solidness in defense and in attack he’s determined and has that great curveball and great crosses like the one that he served when Michael de Leeuw scored. That’s what we expect from him and he delivered that, so that’s great.”

Doody assisted David Accam’s goal in the 3-2 loss in Kansas City last week. Against New England he assisted Juninho’s first Fire goal, with some help from a Bastian Schweinsteiger dummy, and sent in a pearl of a cross to de Leeuw, who headed in the Fire’s third goal.

After setting up de Leeuw’s goal, Doody’s teammates piled on him in celebration of his standout play.

“I tell a lot of guys, if you’re not playing, one of the key things that you need to do is get the respect of your teammates,” Doody said. “Sometimes that’s all you can do is be a good teammate. Knowing that the guys in the locker room trust me and have confidence in me, that goes a long way. It’s a really good locker room and I’m really lucky to have these guys with me.”

Doody, who is a homegrown player from Naperville, capped off his standout night by dribbling into the corner in added time, but finding room to cross into the box. From there, Luis Solignac collected the ball and scored to give Doody a hat trick of assists.

Doody’s playing time came with Brandon Vincent, the starting left back since the start of last season, going down with a quad injury in warmups before a match in Portland on July 5. On that day, Michael Harrington was the last minute replacement, but he labored to finish the match.

Doody has since stepped in as the start and, while he was burned for a goal in Kansas City, has produced on the attacking end.

“It’s all about just trying to be ready,” Doody said. “Brandon has had a great year, an outstanding year, and it’s unfortunate what happened to him. Through this whole time I’ve just been trying to be ready and grateful that coach gave me an opportunity. I’m trying to keep staying out there, that’s how it is.”

Doody is in his third year in the league and has made nine appearances and eight starts with the Fire. He has spent much of his time with the Fire on loan, most of which has been with Saint Louis FC. Doody had another stint in Missouri earlier this summer.

His man of the match performance on Saturday will help make the case that he can stick in MLS.

“Everyone in here has something to prove,” Doody said. “This is my third year with the team. Obviously being a homegrown guy, it means a lot to me being on this team. I knew this year was going to have to be a big one, especially after how last year didn’t necessarily go my way. I’m really grateful for the opportunity. I have a lot that I really want to get better at, but tonight was a special night.”

Manchester City brings Premier League trophy to Chicago ahead of preseason game in Soldier Field

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NBC Sports Chicago

Manchester City brings Premier League trophy to Chicago ahead of preseason game in Soldier Field

Manchester City is coming off a season in which it dominated the English Premier League to the tune of a record 100-point season.

City is kicking off the preseason of its title defense in Chicago. City takes on Borussia Dortmund at Soldier Field on Friday night.

The last time the reigning Premier League champions were in Chicago was when rivals Manchester United came to Soldier to take on the Chicago Fire in 2011.

The Citizens won’t have the full arsenal of stacked stars for its U.S. tour, which also includes stops in New York and Miami as part of the International Champions Cup. Many of the team’s best players are getting a break after playing in the World Cup. Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne, one of the stars of the tournament, is one of six Man City players to reach the semifinals.

Paul Dickov, who played for City for nearly 10 years between 1996 and 2008, is on tour with the team and talked about City’s preparations.

“The reason the clubs want to come to the States and play in International Champions Cup is the facilities are fantastic, the training facilities, the hotels, the treatment they get and just give them the best preparation going into what’s going to be a hard season,” Dickov said. “Nobody has won the Premier League back-to-back titles for nearly 10 years now so it’s going to be tough. Coming here and being able to prepare the way they can in the United States is going to put them on a long way to regain the title again.”

City brought the Premier League trophy to Wrigley Field on Thursday for the Cubs-Cardinals game. Dickov got to throw out the first pitch. The Scotsman threw a strike, much to his relief.

“I was quite calm beforehand, but I must admit when I got out there and I had to walk out there both hands started getting a bit sweaty,” he said. “I managed to make it and I got a fantastic reception off the Chicago Cubs fans so thank you to everybody at Chicago Cubs for having me there. It was great. Something I’ll never forget.”


Dickov compared Cubs fans to City fans in the way both teams struggled for a long time before finding success.

“They stuck by us through thick and thin when things weren’t as great,” Dickov said of Man City fans. “I suppose it’s a little bit like the Chicago Cubs here in Chicago. The fans turn out, they get 30-40 thousand, great atmosphere, back their team.”

While promoting the game, the Premier League trophy made multiple stops in Chicago, including with the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on an off day.

City also took the trophy and new signing Riyad Mahrez, who just joined Man City from 2016 champions Leicester City, to Haas Park in Logan Square. Haas Park includes a soccer field donated by Manchester City and the American embassy of the United Arab Emirates in 2012.

“The outcome of it has been great,” Dickov said. “Thousands of children and families benefiting, not just from the soccer part of it, but the education program as well. To be down there the other day for the full day and seeing the joy in the kids face seeing soccer here and the other activities that are on is great because, yeah, football is fantastic, soccer is fantastic and when you’re out there and you play you want to win, but it’s important, especially from Manchester City’s point of view, the city and the community. The stuff that they do off the field is second to none and it’s giving something back.”

Chicago Fire permanently sign midfielder Aleksandar Katai

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USA TODAY

Chicago Fire permanently sign midfielder Aleksandar Katai

The Fire have secured the transfer of midfielder Aleksandar Katai from Deportivo Alavés of the Spanish La Liga, the team announced Wednesday afternoon.

This season’s breakout playmaker has been signed with Chicago through 2019, with a 2020 club option. Before the transfer, Katai was on loan from Alavés, which was set to expire after July.

The Serbian player has emerged as one of the most important pieces of the Fire’s offense this season. Since joining the club on Feb. 6, Katai has scored eight goals in 18 league matches, tying forward Nemanja Nikolić for the most on the team. Katai also has three assists in 2018.

The 27-year-old’s biggest game of the year came against New York City FC last month when he scored two goals to lead the Fire to 3-2 victory. His production this season in the MLS has been much more significant than it was in 23 matches with Alavés, where Katai only tallied three goals and four assists.

His transfer fee is unknown but, according to Sam Stejskal of MLSsoccer.com, he will be a “Targeted Allocation Money player” for the rest of this season and will not be a Designated Player until 2019. Whatever the official price was, acquiring Katai for a lengthier amount of time seemed like a must.

Throughout this season, the Fire were rumored to be in talks with legendary Spanish striker Fernando Torres. On Tuesday, he signed with Sagan Tosu, a Japanese club. The Fire signed Katai the next day, showing that the team was possibly waiting for Torres to leave the market.

Chicago will face the Philadelphia Union Wednesday night at Toyota Park, where Katai will look to continue his impressive season.