David Arshakyan’s excitement over making his first start for the Chicago Fire was tempered by the fact that the Fire played to a draw despite leading in stoppage time.
The 6-foot-4 Armenian got the starting nod at forward with Michael de Leeuw out injured with a sprained ankle. Arshakyan played 70 minutes in the Fire’s 2-2 draw against D.C. United.
“I feel good because it’s my first starting game here, but unfortunately we played a draw,” Arshakyan said. “I think we deserved to win this game."
Arshakyan had four shots, one on target, and completed 10 out of 16 passes before Khaly Thiam replaced him.
He had previously made two appearances off the bench for the Fire. He played 34 minutes in D.C. on Aug. 27, but the Fire were down a man and two goals by the time he entered. The following week he debuted for the Armenian national team and started a World Cup qualifier. He returned to the Fire and played 11 minutes in the 2-1 loss to Toronto last weekend.
Arshakyan is still settling in with his new team, but is confident.
“Every training, every game, game after game I will feel better,” he said. “I will feel the connection with the guys. I think all is going to be OK very soon.
“I think I can show more in the next games.”
Coach Veljko Paunovic thinks highly of Arshakyan’s game and played a big role in bringing him to the Fire.
“For sure with his size he can be a target when we have to find the guy up in front where we can play the long ball and he can keep it,” Paunovic. “His quality with his upside is great, is amazing. He is very good on the ball and then in the box.”