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Frankowski Is The Accam Replacement The Fire Desperately Needed

Speed, production, scoring threat— all things the Fire were missing in 2018

MLS: Chicago Fire at LA Galaxy Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Przemysław Frankowski has only played 90 minutes of competitive soccer for the Chicago Fire, but in those 90 minutes he showed why he will be dangerous and how that will benefit the Fire in 2019.

First we have to go back to 2017, the year that the Fire placed 3rd overall and scored the 3rd most goals in MLS. The Fire boasted one of, if not the, most effective possession-heavy attacks in the league. There were multiple things that made it effective, one of which was David Accam’s ability to stretch the opponent vertically. The more he stretched them, the more room there was to build up possession.

In 2018 the Fire traded Accam and lost that vertical threat. His replacement, Aleksandar Katai, was able to produce close to what Accam did in raw numbers, but he wasn’t able to provide the same type of vertical threat. Katai isn’t a player that pins the fullbacks back or creates vertical space for others. Stylistically, something was still missing from the Fire’s 2018 attack.

This is where Frankowski comes in.

One of the first things mentioned about him upon his signing was his pace and ability to hold the attention of opposition defenders. In the Fire’s opener in LA, Frankowski showed how he could create space and get behind the Galaxy defense.

Take it from new Fire striker CJ Sapong.

“He just stretches the defense,” Sapong said. “Whenever you have that kind of player, it takes one run for [the opponent] to acknowledge his speed and his pace, and from that it opens up space for everybody else on the field. With Katai, who has very good technical ability and the ability to, with a quick shot, put us ahead, it really gives is a very dynamic attack.”

Every clip in this video except for one is a moment where he blows past an LA Galaxy defender and creates some kind of opportunity. In the second clip (starting at 0:20), he recognizes that Galaxy right back Rolf Feltscher must step out and confront Jorge Corrales, then he uses that vacated space to get in the box and put in the low cross.

In the clip starting at 1:02 he uses his speed and drives in a low cross for Katai, who can’t get there in time. When he becomes more familiar with his teammates and they become more familiar with them, that situation is a goal 9 times out of 10.

In the clip starting at 1:50, watch him dribble into the open space and suck in Galaxy center back Diego Polenta. Once he commits Polenta he releases the ball to Hasler and blows by him. If Nikolic is on the end of that instead of Sapong, that’s a surefire goal.

All of the ways he finds, creates, and exploits space are movements that will give space to others in the attack. I can’t wait to see him play with Nemanja Nikolic and (knock on wood) Nico Gaitan to make these skills more effective.