CATPION Photo by T.J. Vorva
Arturo Alvarez, playing in a game earlier this season, scored his third goal on Saturday night in a 3-1 loss to Real Salt Lake.
ORLANDO CITY SC AT CHICAGO FIRE
WHEN: 2:30 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Toyota Park, Bridgeview
FIRE RECORD: 4-11-6
ORLANDO RECORD: 5-6-11
LAST TIME: The Fire played a man down for 58 minutes after Michael Harrington was tossed from the game and forged a 1-1 tie with Orlando City on March 11 in Florida. David Accam scored in the 15th minute for the Fire.
There are 13 games left on the Major League Soccer schedule left for the Chicago Fire, which means there are 39 points left on the board for the team to gobble up.
But if it has any chance of being a playoff team, it needs to win away from Toyota Park.
While officials are busy making changes to the roster, one thing that just doesn’t change at all is the inability to win an MLS game on the road and that’s what ultimately could cost the Fire a shot at the playoffs as it limped into this week with a league-worst 4-11-6 mark and 18 points.
The Fire dropped a 3-1 game against Real Salt Lake on Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah and has not won on the road in 36 matches and more than two years.
Prior to that, the team acquired striker Luis Solignac Aug. 3 from the Colorado Rapids in exchange for General Allocation Money and on the same day acquired striker David Arshakyan from Lithuanian A Lyga side FK Trakai. The Armenian international signed a two-year deal with club options for the third and fourth years, and will be added to the Fire roster upon receipt of his ITC and P1 Visa.
Solignac played all 90 minutes Saturday.
"It is tough to come the day before and play but I think the second half I got in touch with the guys, we got to know each other so we will improve day by day," he said. “I think that we bounced back in the second half. The attitude was totally different and we got a goal. But after we conceded one right away but I think we had a good spirit and that's a positive thing."
Arturo Alvarez scored the Fire’s lone goal at the 58-minute mark – his third goal of the season.
Javier Moralez scored two goals for Real Salt Lake (10-7-7).
The Fire started a mixed lineup as they built toward their record 12th appearance in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Semifinal against the New England Revolution, which, it also lost, 3-1 on Tuesday. Goalie Sean Johnson plus regular players Matt Polster and Joey Calistri did not play. Khaly Thiam was ineligible because the MSL suspended him and hit him up for an undisclosed fine for serious foul play in the 37th minute against the New York Red Bulls on July 31.
"We always want to win.” Fire coach Veljko Paunopvic said. “The issue we have on our squad we have to manage the best possible way to start with the lineup we started. I believe we had enough proof that we wanted to win this game with this starting lineup. Our mind is the next game and that's how we always play. Like I said we are looking ahead to our next game and we are very excited. We have to recover from this loss and we have to recover the spirit and the positive energy in order to prepare well."
As for the new guys, Solignac scored three goals and racked up four assists in 33 league matches since joining the Rapids on May 1, 2015.
"Simply, Luis is a good footballer," said Fire general manager Nelson Rodríguez. "He has soft feet, is mobile, understands how to play in combination and is familiar with the demands of the League. We expect him to contribute right away."
Arshakyan began his professional career with Armenian side FC Mika in 2012 and made three Premier League appearances as his side captured the 2012-13 Armenian Super Cup.
The 21-year-old made the move to FK Trakai prior to the start of the 2015 season. In 34 league appearances, Arshakyan scored 25 goals and had six multi-goal games, including three hat tricks, finishing the season just three goals shy the top scorer.
"As we tracked David, we were impressed by his winning attitude and ability to score goals in a variety of different ways," Rodriguez said. "He has a very good soccer IQ, imagination and obvious size. David also expressed a keen desire to join our club in particular and to help us build a championship program."
This season, Arshakyan scored nine goals in 18 appearances, including a hat trick in a 4-3 win over Utenis Utena on July 28.