Hassli leads Whitecaps in victory over Fire
Eric Hassli has been enjoying some home cooking thanks to the visiting mother of Swiss teammate Davide Chiumiento.
On Sunday, the big French striker feasted on the Chicago Fire by scoring two goals in the Vancouver Whitecaps' 4-2 victory in MLS action.
After his second goal, off a rebound from a Camilo free kick, Chiumiento and Hassli joined in a celebration.
"That was for her," Hassli said of Chiumiento's mom. "She's amazing."
Hassli got the Whitecaps off to a quick start with a goal in the first minute, then missed a penalty before giving Vancouver a 4-1 cushion.
While the Whitecaps scored four times for the first time since their victory over Toronto FC in their first game of the season on March 19, their focus for this win was on defence.
"The whole team played really hard," Hassli said through an interpreter after moving into third place in MLS scoring with 10 goals.
"We worked hard all week. The first objective was to work together."
Gershon Koffie, with his first MLS goal, and Camilo with his seventh of the season after turning on two defenders, were the other Vancouver scorers.
Koffie's goal came in the 24th minute and was a quick answer to Dominic Oduro's effort that tied the game 1-1. Second-half substitute Orr Barouch was the other Chicago scorer.
Vancouver's third victory of the season ended a six-game winless streak dating back to June 18, while Chicago now has two losses and six ties in their last eight games.
The Whitcaps, 3-11-9, are last in the Western Conference while Chicago, 2-7-13, which last won on June 12, are the Eastern Conference doormats.
The expansion Whitecaps were coming off their worst loss of the season, a 4-0 home defeat to the LA Galaxy on July 30, when they took an early lead against the Fire before 18,714 fans.
Chicago defender Yamith Cuesta misplayed a chance to cut off a Jordan Harvey pass and Hassli ran on to it with nobody between himself and Chicago keeper Sean Johnson.
"Eric was putting a lot of pressure on [Cuesta] and the ball squeaks out to him," said Vancouver goalie Jay Nolly who got the start after Joe Cannon conceded four goals to the Galaxy.
"A guy of his quality is just going to put it away."
Fire interim coach Frank Klopas said Hassli's goal and the quick reply on a long volley by Koffie came from a lack of focus by his club.
"When you make mistakes like that, you're not going to win, especially when you give up four goals on the night," Klopas said.
"You give up that fast goal for some reason. Hassli took a great shot but it was way too fast."
The goal was a start to an important win for the expansion club, Nolly said.
"We need to make a statement. Whether it's a final charge into the playoffs, a good note for the organization, the fans … we have an opportunity to show we want to be here."
While his two strikers combined for three goals, Whitecaps coach Tom Soehn said they also contributed defensively.
"Camilo and Eric did a fantastic job of pressuring and winning balls to help us out in the middle of the park," said Soehn who was a teammate of Klopas when the Fire won the MLS Cup in 1998.
"Defensively it was a much better commitment that we need to do to win games."
Both Klopas and Soehn took over the coaching reins of their respective clubs on May 30 — Soehn when Teitur Thordarson was fired and Klopas when Carlos de los Colbos was axed by the Fire.