Colorado Rapids are still seeking their first road points of 2017 after being blown away in the Windy City on Wednesday in a 3-0 loss to Chicago Fire, following goals from Nemanja Nikolić (2) and David Accam.
It was the first of two back-to-back road games, with the Rapids next heading to Philadelphia Union on Saturday, and it proved to be a tough night in Illinois.
Pablo Mastroeni made no changes to the starting lineup from last weekend’s 3-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. In fact, the only change to the 18 would be defender Axel Sjöberg replacing midfielder Dillon Serna on the bench. The towering Swede is available once more following a hamstring injury that kept him sidelined since Week 2.
After controlling most of the possession in the early stages, the Fire would break through at the 15-minute mark. A perfectly placed cross by Brandon Vincent found Nikolić in the center of the box. The Hungary international would redirect his header past an outstretched Tim Howard for his league-leading ninth tally of 2017.
David Accam would almost double the home side’s lead just three minutes later after a textbook counterattack following a Rapids giveaway in the offensive zone. The Ghanaian cracked a first-time shot goalwards and, despite the effort taking a deflection, Howard was alert enough to block.
Despite a handful of half-chances created by both sides, the Rapids would head to the locker room trailing at the break for the third time this season.
Just when it seemed like the Rapids were beginning to find their groove, Accam would make it 2-0 for Chicago after a lovely buildup on the right side. The ball was played across the face of goal and the speedy winger made no mistake, rifling a one-time strike into the roof of the net.
Looking for an offensive spark, Mastroeni would make all three substitutions shortly after the Fire’s second tally, bringing in Joshua Gatt, Sam Hamilton and Kevin Doyle in place of Mohammed Saeid, Dillon Powers and Dominique Badji, respectively. Tonight’s contest marked Hamilton’s first professional minutes for his hometown team.
Instead, the home team added a third from a counterattack that ended with Nikolić’s second of the match and 10th of the season. With the loss, the Rapids drop to 2-7-1 and remain in last place in the Western Conference.
The Rapids return to play this Saturday night against the Philadelphia Union at Talen Energy Stadium (5:00 p.m. MT). Live coverage of the match is on Altitude TV, Altitude Sports Radio AM 950 and La Invasora 87.7FM.
Chicago Fire 3-0 Colorado Rapids
Toyota Park; Bridgeview, IL
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
CHI: Nemanja Nikolic (Brandon Vincent) 15'
CHI: David Accam (Michael de Leeuw, Matt Polster) 57'
CHI: Nemanja Nikolic (Michael de Leeuw) 74'
COL: Micheal Azira (caution) 62’
Chicago Fire: Matt Lampson; Matt Polster, Johan Kappelhof, Joao Meira, Brandon Vincent; Bastian Schweinsteiger (Djordje Mihailovic 76’), Dax McCarty, Michael de Leeuw; Luis Solignac (Jonathan Campbell 70’), David Accam (Juninho 60’), Nemanja Nikolic. Subs not used: Stefan Cleveland, Arturo Alvarez, Drew Conner, Daniel Johnson.
Colorado Rapids: Tim Howard; Marlon Hairston, Bobby Burling, Jared Watts, Eric Miller; Shkëlzen Gashi, Micheal Azira, Dillon Powers (Sam Hamilton 63’), Mohammed Saeid (Joshua Gatt 63’); Alan Gordon, Dominique Badji (Kevin Doyle 70’). Subs not used: Zac MacMath, Axel Sjöberg, Mike da Fonte, Caleb Calvert.
Chicago Fire: 5-3-3 (18 points)
Colorado Rapids: 2-7-1 (7 points)