Written by Jeff Vorva
Photo of FS1 telecast
Rodrigo Ramos is attended to by medical personnel after crashing with New York City’s Ronald Matarrita in the 56th minute of Sunday’s 0-0 draw at Yankee Stadium.
After Sunday night’s 0-0 draw with the New York City Football Club at Yankee Stadium the glass is either half full or half empty for the Chicago Fire.
On one hand, the Fire continued its winless streak on the road to 27 games and hasn’t grabbed three points away from Toyota Park since beating New England July 12, 2014.
On the other hand, the defense and goalie Matt Lampson are closing in on team history as they have shut out opponents for 356 minutes – 36 minutes short of the Fire’s all-time mark, which it set in 2009.
Lampson, who replaced the longest tenured Fire player, Sean Johnson, was pretty busy making a career-high eight saves and recording his third straight shutout. In his Fire debut on March 6, NYC scored four goals against him including three in the first half in a game in Bridgeview.
Since that game, he has allowed just one goal in four matches and is one of the elite goalies in Major League Soccer as he is tied for first in the league in shutouts (three) and third in the league in saves (26).
"I think Matt did a great job, he had fantastic saves,” Fire coach Veljko Paunovic said. “We have to recognize all the teamwork that happens before that in order for him to make the saves. He did a great job when he had to stop something and the team did a great job by exhausting the opponent ahead of time.’’
The Fire played its third straight game without star midfielder David Accam who has a left knee injury. It appeared the Fire could survive another week with Accam on the shelf when the team danced and celebrated in the 60th minute after rookie Jonathan Campbell’s header went past NYC goalie Josh Saunders. But it was waved off when Johan Kappelhof was ruled offside while Gilberto’s header was heading toward Campbell.
Arguing ensued by the Fire players but the goal stayed off the board and Paunovic had no comment after the game about it.
"Our club policy is to not talk about the referee's calls," he said.
When Accam gets back, and Fire are hoping that will come this weekend, it should put a little more sizzle into the offense.
For now, the Fire is savoring the improvement from the 4-3 loss to NYC.
"Well, I think for everybody, it was a learning experience,” Lampson said. “It sucks to learn from a loss and a bad loss, but it was obviously a learning experience and everyone has jelled. And we are getting better and better with each game, particularly with possession, and I'm happy with the progress we're making.
“It was an embarrassing game the first game and we wanted payback for these guys. Unfortunately we couldn't a goal but I'm really proud of the way these guys fought today and we deserved a point."
MONTREAL IMPACT AT CHICAGO FIRE
WHEN: 4 p.m., Saturday
WHERE: Toyota Park, Bridgeview
FIRE RECORD: 1-1-3
IMPACT RECORD: 3-2-0
LAST TIME: Andres’ Romero’s goal in the 76th minute gave the host Impact a 2-1 victory on Sept. 23. David Accam scored the Fire’s lone goal in a game that featured one red card and eighth yellows.
Harry Shipp grew up a Chicago Fire fan while living in Lake Forest.
He played for the team for two seasons in 2014 and 2015.
For the first time in his career, he will be rooting against a Fire victory and will be in a position to do something about it.
The Fire traded the popular Shipp to Montreal in February and he will play his first game against his former team at 4 p.m. Saturday at Toyota Park.
Some pro athletes treat their sport as a business but Shipp had a love for playing with the team he grew up rooting for.
“When I was told out of the blue that I would no longer be a member of the Fire, I immediately broke down and started crying,” Shipp said in an open letter to Chicago shortly after the trade. “It was totally shocking and overwhelming. This club and this city have meant everything to me. Not just for the past two years, but since I started following the Fire over 15 years ago.’’
As a member of the Impact, he opened the season with two assists in its first two games.
Shipp, 24, had 10 goals and 14 assists in 66 games for the Fire during his two years with the club. He also made eight appearances for the Fire during Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play, helping the team reach the semifinals both years. Shipp initially signed with Chicago as a Homegrown Player on Jan. 9, 2014.
(subhead) The four freshmen
Rookie Alex Morrell made his professional debut when he entered Sunday’s 0-0 match in the 84th minute. Morrell is the fourth Fire rookie to appear in a MLS match this season, joining Brandon Vincent, Jonathan Campbell and Joey Calistri.