Chicago Fire forwards CJ Sapong and Elliot Collier continued their hot preseason with one goal each, but it wasn’t enough as the Fire lost to Colorado this afternoon 4-2 in Carson, Calif.
The Fire came out in their new blue home jerseys for the first time this preseason, and looked good early on. Sapong scored the opener in the ninth minute, putting away a difficult ball with his left foot while under heavy pressure. Colorado equalized after a goal in the 22nd minute from Andre Shinyashiki, and the two teams went into the half tied at one goal each.
Colorado scored again in the 53rd minute after Sam Nicholson put away a rebound from Fire goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth, and Kellyn Acosta added a third for the Rapids a few minutes later.
In the 79th minute, Collier scored his third goal of the preseason for the Fire off a glancing header from a Djordje Mihailović corner—tying Collier with Sapong as the team’s top scorer this preseason. Colorado added a late goal from Nicolas Mezquida to make it 4-2.
Designated player Robert Berić, who just got back to the United States after a flight overseas to sort out his Visa, did not play today for the Fire.
Colorado is an improved team, but it’s clear the Fire have a couple areas that will need to be improved before the regular season starts in two weeks. The defensive pairing of Francisco Calvo and Johan Kappelhof seemed to be out of sync at times. Today’s announced signing of right back Boris Sekulić should help the back line, but it may come down to Calvo and Kappelhof getting more familiar with one another. The two never looked great together last season, as Calvo always seemed steadier with Bastian Schweinsteiger next to him and Kappelhof out wide.
The Fire are now 2-2 on the preseason.
Next up, the Fire have Toronto FC on Wednesday, Feb. 19th at 5 p.m. CT at the University of California-Irvine. They finish the preseason with a match against LA Galaxy back in Carson next Saturday, Feb. 22nd at 5 p.m. CT.
Chicago’s starting XI: Shuttleworth; Bronico, Kappelhof, Calvo, Bornstein; Azira, Medran, Mihailović; Collier, Frankowski, Sapong.
Subs: Kronholm for Shuttleworth 61’