The Fire win their first game in three months against DC United


The Chicago Fire eventually won a game. That in itself is a small miracle – despite the team battling for the worst team in the Eastern Conference, the Fire seemed unable to score. They may have controlled the game and created the best chances of the night, but even from close range the Fire never looked close to scoring.

The club’s failure in front of goal is nothing new. However, unlike years past, it’s not for lack of creative players with no ideas. The Fire midfield was excellent tonight. With first-half possession numbers nearing 60 percent and passing percentage above 80, the Fire dominated the south end zone offense. Gaston Gimenez kept possession and was able to dribble in and out of tight spaces, creating opportunities for Brian Gutierrez and Chris Mueller to find pockets of space where they could work. Mueller has been the best player on the team since he arrived here, and tonight was no different. He had the highest xAssists + xGoals at 0.7 and danced around multiple defenders to create crossover opportunities.

Brian Gutierrez transcended. Xherdan Shaqiri’s injury during the break opened the door for him and he sprinted inside the building. He was involved in every good offensive play for the Fire in the first half, and he had two of the Fire’s five shots on goal. He looked more in tune with his attacking teammates and besides not being able to finish, aside from Mueller, he was the best player going forward.

But the fire eventually ended. While the second half was more even, with DC getting more time on the ball and some scoring chances, it was the Fire who managed to put the ball in the back of the net. A ball into the top right corner of the box found Kacper Przybylko. He delivered an excellent cross to the head of Fabian Herbers which placed him perfectly in the lower right quadrant of the goal. The DC keeper made a valiant effort to keep it clear, but Jhan Espinoza was there to send the ball back into the net just in case the video official had any doubts on the header. There were none and Fabi got the only goal of the match.

It’s understandable not to be so excited after tonight. They beat the worst team in the league other than themselves and looked shaky at times. The attack is still struggling to put away its chances and the defense still needs to improve. However, the midfielder has become good and in control again. They have something special about Brian Gutierrez and Chris Mueller. There’s plenty to be optimistic about by the lake. This win could be the start of something.

The Fires are next in action on June 25 against the Houston Dynamo in Texas.


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