Photo by Jeff Vorva
David Accam is lifted by Matt Polster after the first of Accam’s three goals in a 4-0 victory over Orlando City Saturday night.
David Accam is red hot as he scored a hat-trick in the Chicago Fire’s 4-0 victory over Orlando City Saturday night at Toyota Park in Bridgeview.
He will not get a chance for a repeat, however, when the Fire takes on Vancouver on Saturday as he will be tangling with his Fire teammate, Dax McCarty. Both talented Fire players have been named to their respective national teams.
Accam is set to join Ghana to play a pair of friendlies against Mexico and the United States. McCarty has been selected by head coach Bruce Arena for the United States' final 23-player roster for the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Accam and McCarty battle at 3:45 p.m. Saturday at Pratt and Whitney Stadium in East Hartford, Conn.
Against tired Orlando (7-6-5 and coming off a 1-1 tie with Seattle three days prior), Accam scored twice in the first eight minutes, the first coming off an 18-pass sequence. He added one more in the 52nd minute in front of the delirious announced sellout crowd of 20,000.
“I thought I could do anything on the pitch, and I just wanted to enjoy myself and help the team win,’’ Accam said. “After my first goal, I just thought I could get more goals and also help the team win."
Accam also assisted Nemanja Nokolic’s Major League Soccer-leading 14th goal of the season, which was the 900th in Chicago Fire history. Goalie Matt Lampson earned his fifth shutout of the season in nine starts after taking over for Jorge Bava in early May.
While a four-goal rout is impressive, the team had chances for more goals with 17 shots overall and seven on-goal. The Fire finished 10-3-4 in the first half of the season one point behind Toronto in the East Division and the seven-game winning streak at home is the second longest in team history.
"I think the progress is fantastic,’’ second second-year coach Veljko Paunovic. “We are keeping a good pace with good results and wins and it's important because other teams also won this weekend and for us we need to understand now that we have to play every game to get points and to get wins and it's not going to be easy.’’
The coach had some warnings about the final 17 games of the campaign.
“At this point nothing is done,’’ he said. “We still have to keep the good streak, the good mood and the confidence we have and we have to understand that in order to earn these kind of situations and confidence that we have now, it took long and it took a lot.
“We have to appreciate it, we have to know that it isn't always going to be like that and when these moments are here, we have to enjoy them but also, we have to use these moments to get better and improve, to work with more joy and more confidence. Right now, we aren't thinking about where we are, right at this point but we are thinking about where we want to be. The first station is the playoffs, we need to keep working for that and keep playing as a team and keep playing like a team that has confidence and give our best in every game like today."
The last time the Fire won by a four-goal margin was May 25, 2008 with a 5-1 result against the New York Red Bulls at Giants Stadium. The last 4-0 win came in that season against the New England Revolution on April 3, 2008.
The Fire has come a long way after posting the worst record in the MLS the past two seasons.
"I think this year we are more dynamic,’’ said Accam, who has 10 goals this season. “I can go on the right, middle, out front, everywhere. For me, it's working really hard. We have players that can play out front or in the middle, so we keep changing to get in good positions. We have players who work for each other and also want to help the team win."