MLS- Chicago Fire

Joya nets winner in Fire's preseason victory vs. D.C. United

BenjiJoya (ISIPhotos)

Photo by ISIPhotos.com


Benji Joya is making himself right at home with the Chicago Fire.

The U.S. youth international netted the game winner in the Fire’s 1-0 win Wednesday over D.C. United. In the 75th minute, Joya, acquired last week in a weighted lottery on a one-year loan from Liga MX side Santos Laguna, took a pass from Victor Pineda on the left flank and fired off a curling, right-footed shot past the reach of United goalkeeper Joe Willis.

The victory kept Chicago (4-0-0) perfect four preseason matches, while United (0-2-0) have dropped their first two preseason games.

New Fire head coach Frank Yallop used 21 players in the final match of their Bradenton, Fla., training camp. The Fire will return to Chicago before traveling to Tucson, Ariz., where they will compete in the Desert Diamond Cup from Feb. 15 to March 2.

D.C. United also used a full slate of substitutes for their final match in Bradenton. United return to action Feb. 26 against the Houston Dynamo in Charleston, S.C., as part of the Carolina Challenge Cup.

Watch the game’s highlights after the jump (goal begins at :31):


What do you think of this news? Glad to see Joya making an impact quickly?

Share your thoughts below.

  • choto

    Dan…. Should I be concerned with DC’s lack of scoring? (0 goals in 3 gms) how many games does Coach Olsen get to turn this team into a winner? your thoughts on how DC’s season plays out?

    Thanks for the updates!


    • Josh D

      1. Be very concerned because none of Olsen’s teams have been high scoring. And while we have better strikers, we still don’t have good creative players to get them goals.

      2. Olsen gets to the summer. If he’s performing poorly then it’s bye bye.

      3. The season will be rocky. We have too many new pieces for them to gel this season, and the division has gotten a lot tougher.


      • Oculus

        Why is Luis Silva not starting? He is the only creative central player on the roster. DC United have made improvements, but so have alot of teams.


      • Lost in Space

        With the amount of turnover that United have in the starting lineup as well as the limited time that EJ has been in preseason camp, as well as Pontius coming back from off season surgery I expect DC to be slow out of the gates….but by April should be clicking.
        should be an interesting ride once they gel.


      • Northzax

        Also note that the first choice defense has yet to concede, all the goals have come on Willis, with backups in front of him.

        My concern with your lineup is that Pontius really doesn’t belong on the wing anymore, unless his wheels really come back this spring. But we may not have a choice.


        Meaningful minutes from Porter, Arnaud, seaton, Doyle, Jeffrey and shanofsky. Assuming Deleon is fitter, and Pontius is healthy, that is an upgrade at every position from the preferred xi last season except Kitchen and Hamid who are both more than acceptable MLS starters.


    • KC

      I was at Saturdays game and what was even more concerning was the lack of chances. It would be one thing if United was producing chances but just couldn’t get on target or beat the keeper, aside from 2 or 3 legitimate offensive runs they looked impotent.

      The defense looked solid though, the new signing from Spain looked capable especially considering he only had 1 practice before Saturday.

      Going next week to Charleston, hopefully they show a little more life.


  • MMV

    I can see Benji being a spot starter for Chicago. However, I think he will excel as a super-sub for the Fire. He is going to be so dangerous coming off the bench. That’s a nice weapon to pull out of the hat the last 20-30 minutes of a match. Chicago and Joya are definitely going to benefit one another.


  • bizzy

    DC United should start getting worried now. Not being able to score this far in preseason?? Its preseason so the win is not important because you’re fine tuning the team but not scoring any goals??? This goalless streak should have Olsen on the edge and the organization wondering if more is needed. With an added powerhouse Toronto FC and teams like Seattle, LA, SKC and Portland….DC needs to sort things out fast, as this league is only getting tougher and with minimal room for error.


    • Northzax

      You just mentioned four teams in the other conference. Dc needs to be worried more about philly, Toronto (as you mentioned) NE, skC and nyrb. Rb has regressed, so far, as have the Revs. Philly is better, TfC is much better, Chicago is perhaps better, Houston and Skc are pretty much standing pat. Dc has, on paper, upgraded at 7 starters, two more had injury plagues last year (pontius/Deleon) and the other two (kitchen/hamid) are just getting better. Is this a cup winning team? Probably not. But would it beat last year’s team? Yes.


  • jay nt

    DC shouldve taken Joya in the lottery…beautiful goal and thats not even his “good” foot


  • Mike R

    With Pineda, Hoya and Shipp the Fire might have three studs in the making. With mostly average players and no DPs ahead of them they should get plenty of looks.
    Might turn some heads in te early stages of the open cup


    • Brett

      Yallop has been all praise with shipp, benji, and penida. I suspect they will al see pt this year.


  • TomG

    Let the overhyping begin!!! Tell us which established USMNT starter should he replace in 3..2..1.

    Seriously, though, sweet shot and really nice to see a young, talented kid hit the ground running and boost his confidence.


      • Mike R

        Too early to tell but im hoping he is the first midfielder off the bench and an open cup starter. I believe he can play almost
        Anywhere in the midfield.He’s only here for a year so breaking in the starting 11 might be a stretch.


      • T P

        I don’t think it’s that much of a stretch to see Joya starting over Alex, who seems to be currently occupying the starting spot in the more defending cmid position of Yallop’s 4-1-4-1. He has much less competition for that spot (it would appear he’s fighting Alex, Pause, and Pineda for it) than at the end of last season when he would have had to have beaten Rios and Alex for the position.


      • TomG

        So tough to put a 20-year-old in a string pulling position for your team. Even Gil, who is more of a classic CM than Joya, and had years of experience with RSL’s system, got split out wide last year.


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