The Chicago Fire came to Red Bull Arena and had business on their minds as well as some revenge. We remember the Wild Card game at Toyota Park towards the end of October in 2017 when the boys in Red thrashed the Fire by a final of four goals to nil.
Six months past and now the Chicago Fire got their revenge with a two goals to one victory on Autisum Awareness day. The Red Bulls looked out of sync and couldn’t put anything together for eighty one minutes as Aleksandar Katai made two magic moments happen to give the Fire a big win.
In the 30th minute the Fire got a corner and it was delivered at the near side of the field. When the ball was struck Aaron Long was able to flick it out with his head, but Katai just got to the outside of the area and smacked a beautiful ball that no one could get and the Fire was in the lead.
Second spectacular shot from outside the area that Luis Robles had no chance of getting to, that ball was placed perfectly and it was never going to get stopped. But Katai in the second half made sure the Fire were going to keep the lead.
In the 68th minute the Fire broke through the Red Bulls back line and made a fantastic run. Elliott Collier gives Katai a great ball and he goes for goal, bumps off Aaron Long and when he gets inside the area, Robles trips him up and gets the spot kick.
All Nemanja Nikolic does is step up to the ball and powers it home past Robles for the two goals to nil lead. Robles guessed right, but sadly it had to much power and a little bit over his diving body.
“We saw him (Katai) cutting through, Aaron (Long) realized that he was cutting through the middle and he wanted to get on the right side of him.” said Robles, “But unfortunately was given a great ball and he made a great run.
I saw him hesitate and as he made the touch I was hoping that the touch would be a little closer, it was almost speculative and it was wrong. Unfortunately I didn’t get the ball, I got him.”
But there was a little positive and that was seeing Bradley Wright-Phillips edging closer to the century mark in league goals as he converted in the 81st minute. The Red Bulls earned a corner along the near side.
As the ball was struck and landed perfectly in the middle of the area, Aaron Long snap header was blocked on the line by Nikolic, but he left a rebound for Wright-Phillips to tap it in for his 5th of the season.
That goal puts BWP closer to the Century mark as he needs nine more to make history as the 11th player in Major League Soccer history to score 100 league goals in a career. What a career as the top striker for this club that Bradley Wright-Phillips is having.
Before BWP pulled one back, there was a goal scored by Daniel Royer that was called back ten minutes earlier. It looked like the play was perfect, but it was Derrick Etienne Jr. who put himself in an offside position before the ball was played to him.
But thanks to James Justice running our twitter handle, he took a picture of the play and you can be the judge if you think Etienne stayed on or was off. It looks like the back leg of Brandon Vincent does keep Derrick’s foot on, but that left hand is the major question.
But at the end of the day, this club didn’t do enough from the start of the match till the end of the match to look dangerous or take advantage of the amount of chances they created to look dangerous against a Chicago Fire side that had a purpose.
“We weren’t up for it you know, we thought that the game was going to be about passing and football, and it was more about a team that’s desperate, that needs points, that has a point to prove, and they showed it.” said Jesse Marsch.
“Chicago should take playing against us personally, when you get knocked out and you get challenges from certain teams it builds more competitive fire. So they came out and won many duels in the first half, tackles, they fought and battled.
We ended up going down one, then two and we couldn’t get back into the game. But no we have to find ways to get better at training and we will have the opportunity to get back regularly in the weeks. This is what we saw last week against Montreal, lack of creativity but we found ways to get back in that game. This time we couldn’t and Chicago is a better side.”
This is the first loss at Red Bull Arena in 2018 and it hurts when the home side doesn’t look like they were ready to go, but at the same time give credit to Chicago who wanted to prove a point and did so by having a better game plan. But next week it’s a road trip to Hollywood, facing Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the Los Angeles Galaxy.