Fire

Notes from the rewatch: Patrick Doody's breakout game and Juninho's controversial goal

Notes from the rewatch: Patrick Doody's breakout game and Juninho's controversial goal

Brandon Vincent has been lauded for what he has given the Chicago Fire's attack this season, but it took Patrick Doody to surpass his assist production from left back.

Doody had three assists in Saturday's win against New England to go with one assist he had in his first appearance the previous week in Kansas City. Vincent has one goal and three assists this season. Here's a look at Doody's big game and what he gives the Fire as opposed to Vincent and the controversy on Juninho's go-ahead goal late in the first half.

Patrick Doody's breakout game

Patrick Doody's first game in a year and a half had its ups and downs. He assisted on David Accam's goal in the second half in Kansas City, but he also got burned by Graham Zusi on KC's second goal. His second game of the season was more about the positive with three assists and cleaner defending.

Doody's first assist, Juninho’s goal, was a fairly simple pass from Doody. He picked his head up and saw Schweinsteiger. Passing to Schweinsteiger is rarely a bad option. Schweinsteiger saw one better and dummied the ball through for Juninho.

The second assist, Michael de Leeuw’s header, is a highlight reel caliber cross from Doody. Coach Veljko Paunovic referred to it as a “curveball” after the game and it’s not hard to see why. The ball curled out of reach of the goalkeeper and had enough depth to go over the centerback’s attempted headed clearance.

What’s good to see from Doody on this play is that he took on his defender. Doody moved more centrally to provide Dax McCarty with a passing option. Center mid Scott Caldwell stepped up to defend Doody. To get back to the wing, Doody had to take a big touch wide. He had enough separation from Caldwell to put in the cross and de Leeuw did the rest.


The third assist showed more aggression from Doody. He pushed forward to get to the corner late in the game. The cross itself may have been more hopeful than directed, but Solignac did the work to turn it into an assist.

Doody probably isn't as good in possession or defensively as Vincent, but his crosses are better. Vincent has improved in virtually all aspects this season, but Doody is probably still the best crosser on the team. His quality service on the wing has been apparent in practice, but he has been able to show it off in games finally. Now that teams are going to be well aware of what Doody can produce from crossing areas, defenders will be marking him differently. Let's see if he can still produce.

Controversy on Juninho’s goal

Juninho scored what held up as the game-winner and it was his first goal with the Fire, but New England wasn’t happy with the goal. It wasn’t the goal itself, but a foul that happened 20 seconds before it.

David Accam had the ball on the left wing, took a heavy touch and ran into Revolution defender Andrew Farrell as Farrell cleared the ball away. The Revs wanted a foul called. The ref waved for Farrell to get up.

Meanwhile, Schweinsteiger picked up the loose ball from Farrell’s clearance and dribbled right back at New England’s defense. Farrell gets to his feet a few seconds before Schweinsteiger goes back to that side with a pass to Patrick Doody. Doody then sets up Juninho for the goal.

“I think the second goal, really, really hurt us because we just felt like there was a foul on the play,” New England coach Jay Heaps said after the match. “Other than that, it’s going up the other way, we get to halftime 1-1 and we can still regroup.”

In the new era of video review in MLS, this play is something that could have been reviewed. One of the vague terms the league has been using is “attacking phase of play.” Goals can be reviewed not just for something that was clearly missed by the ref on the shot or the assist, but if at any point there is an infraction in the “attacking phase of play.” In this case, you could argue that Schweinsteiger picking up the ball is the start of the attacking phase of play, therefore the possible foul on Accam may not have been reviewable. Even so, Paul Tenorio said on the broadcast that the video assistant referee did check the play, but did not call for further review.

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.