The biggest headline from the Chicago Fire’s 2-0 loss to CF Montreal Sunday broke an hour before the first ball was even kicked at Stade Saputo. Two of the Fire’s three designated players, Ignacio Aliseda and Gastón Giménez, did not travel to Montreal after violating team rules.
After the match, Fire head coach Raphael Wicky refused to give details about exactly what landed the two in trouble.
“They broke some team rules,” Wicky said. “I’m not going to go into specifics. That stays between me and the team, but they broke some team rules which I don’t accept. No one is bigger than the club. No player is bigger than the team. There are certain rules to follow and if you don’t follow them, (there) must (be) consequences. That’s what happened yesterday and that’s what we decided to do.
“Yeah, look, it’s disappointing,” Wicky continued. “It’s disappointing when certain players (break a rule), it doesn’t matter if it’s a DP or if it’s a 17-year-old. There are certain rules you have to follow. There are certain things we don’t want players to do, and that’s disappointing if these things happen. And if these things happen, then they must live with the consequences.
“But of course, from our DPs, especially from our DPs, we expect more. But that would have been the same if it would have been a player that was not a DP. It doesn’t really matter. We expect people not to do that.”
Wicky said the two players will be available for Wednesday’s match against the New England Revolution at Soldier Field.
“We trust in Gaga”
With the Fire’s playoff odds now slim to none, Wicky gave 17-year-old Gabriel “Gaga” Slonina a start in goal. Slonina played well, making two saves. Of the two goals he conceded—a 60th minute shot by forward Romell Quioto and an 80th minute own goal by defender Carlos Terán—neither was his fault, and it would have taken a spectacular effort to save either.
“We decided with the staff, together, to give Gaga a few games,” Wicky said. “We spoke as well with Bobby (Shuttleworth). Bobby had a good season so far for us. But we spoke with him, and we told him that we want to see Gaga. We trust in Gaga.
“We see Gaga every day and we decided to give Gaga a few games. How many games that will be, we have not decided. He did really well today. I felt he did really well from the beginning till the end, and he showed, again, his potential.”
Fire homegrown-turned-Montreal star Djordje Mihailovic turned in another solid performance against his former club. The Lemont, Ill. native earned his 11th assist of the season on Montreal’s first goal, putting him second in all of MLS in the category behind Carles Gil, who has 16. MIhailovic was subbed off in the 68th minute.
Jonathan Bornstein captained the Fire again, as Francisco Calvo missed another match after suffering an injury while away on international duty with Costa Rica. Wicky said Calvo will not be available in the next week, and his recovery “will probably take awhile.”
As for Brian Gutierrez, who has been dealing with a lingering ankle issue, Wicky is hopeful he will play again this season. But for now, he needs to rest.
“It’s a little bit of a weird injury,” Wicky said. “Every time he tries again, he still feels some pain. So the medical staff is trying everything but we have to be careful with the kid so that the injury actually doesn’t get worse.”
After losing five of six games on the road, the Fire are finally back at home for three matches—beginning Wednesday night against the best team in MLS, the New England Revolution.
Chicago Fire FC: GK G. Slonina, D Terán (Kappelhof 87’), D Pineda, D Bornstein ©, M Sekulić, M F. Navarro, M Herbers (Collier 87’), M M. Navarro, M Ivanov (Berić 68’), M Stojanović (Medrán 56’), F Offor
Subs not used: GK Shuttleworth, D Omsberg, D Espinoza, M Monis
CF Montréal: GK Pantemis, D Waterman, D Camacho, D Miller, M Choinière, M Piette (Hamdi HT), M Wanyama, M Bassong (Zouhir 90+2’), F Torres (Lappalainen 84’), F Quioto (Sunusi 84’), F Mihailović (Maciel 68’)
Subs not used: GK Breza, D Kizza, M Bayiha, F Johnsen
Stats Summary: MTL / CHI
Shots: 8 / 10
Shots on Goal: 3 / 5
Passing Accuracy: 87.9% / 80.6%
Saves: 4 / 2
Corners: 5 / 8
Fouls: 14 / 11
Offsides: 2 / 2
Possession: 62.0% / 38.0%
Referee: Marcos de Oliveira
Assistant Referees: Oscar Mitchell-Carvalho, Cory Richardson
Fourth Official: David Barrie
VAR: Drew Fischer, Robert Schaap