For a welcome change, the Fire Reserves played a home game in sunshine and under blue skies. Unfortunately, the result of Sunday morning's game was anything but as the Fire dropped a 3-1 decision to Sporting Kansas City. What started out as a promising and controlling first 20 minutes fell apart quickly as SKC hit the back of the net three times before the first half ended to all but seal the three points. The second half saw physicality and controversy as two red cards were shown and a clear cut penalty went uncalled.
Chicago played their usual diamond 4-4-2 with Paolo Tornaghi in goal, a back line of Hunter Jumper, Stefan Antonijevic, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, and Tony Walls with Michael Videira holding the midfield while captain Rafael Robayo took the attacking point of the diamond. Corben Bone manned the left flank in the midfield while Daniel Paladini started on the right and the duo of Orr Barouch and Kheli Dube started as the forwards.
Right from the start of the match the referee pulled out a yellow card from her pocket for a professional foul on Videira in the third minute. Chasing the play on a counter attack, Videira pulled down a Sporting attacker and was immediately shown a yellow card.
The Fire dominated possession in the first 20 minutes keeping the ball in their attacking half, but did not create a single chance on goal. During this decent spell of possession, Robayo was most influential as he dropped back to gather loose balls and distributed well to Paladini or Barouch. The only element missing from the attack was the final killer pass as crosses from the flanks and through balls behind the defense missed the target. The best opportunity came from a Paladini through ball to Dube, but Kansas City goalkeeper Jon Kempin easily gathered the loose ball.
Momentum started to shift towards Kansas City as they were able to keep possession and fire a few threatening shots at goal. The breakthrough happened in the 26th minute as a Luke Sassano cross from the right side of the field found Korede Aiyegbusi wide open to smash home on the volley.
The composure and possession the Fire enjoyed earlier in the match was absent as Kansas City continued to put pressure on the Fire defense creating near chances and shooting speculative shots at goal. In the 39th minute, Chicago had a promising attacking build up start on the left side of the field as Jumper and Bone worked give and go passes before a cross to the box missed its intended recipient. The cross was cleared and Walls misjudged the trajectory of the ball allowing Teal Bunbury to gather the ball and charge straight to goal. Bunbury sent a bending blast to the upper corner of the goal giving Tornaghi no chance at saving the shot.
Kansas City were able to score a third goal right before the half as Bunbury collected the ball on the right side of the field. Dribbling towards goal, Bunbury easily dribbled past Antonijevic and slotted home past Tornaghi as the roughly 100 Sporting Kansas City fans who stayed from last night's game cheered.
The second half of the game was an ugly affair as fouls and bookings ruined the flow of the game. Daniel Paladini was the first to earn a second half yellow card after shouting at the official. Soon after Paladini received his second yellow card of the match after what looked like a hard challenge on a Sporting player. Admittedly, I did not get a good look at the cause of the card because nothing seemed out of the ordinary, but soon enough, Paladini walked off the field and the Fire were down to 10 men. Soon after Kansas City would be down to 10 men also as Paulo Nagamura earned two yellow cards in three minutes.
More controversy emerged as Barouch broke free behind the Sporting back line. Bearing down on goal, the Israeli youth international was able to dribble past Kempin but was taken down by the goalkeeper. The Fire benched boldly lobbied for a penalty call, but referee Margaret Domka refused to award it. Watson-Siriboe made sure to express his displeasure to the referee and she showed him a yellow card.
The cards would continue to pour in as Dom Dwyer and Soony Saad were also shown yellow for hard challenges. Dwyer's challenge started a small ruckus as he cleared out a Chicago defender while attempting to get on the end of a through pass.
Barouch would get his goal in the 79th minute as he caught up to a through pass from Videira behind the Sporting defence, rounded the goalkeeper cleanly this time, and easily finished from eight yards out.
Kellen Gulley also finished from a breakaway, but he was ruled offside and the goal was nullified.
Despite applying decent pressure on the Kansas City goal in the last 15 minutes of the game, Barouch's tally would be all they could muster as they fell to the Sporting Reserves 3-1.
The next game for the Fire Reserves is June 12th at Real Salt Lake. The next home game is August 15th against Colorado.
Chicago Fire 1 - 3 Sporting Kansas City
Chicago Fire: Paolo Tornaghi; Tony Walls, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Stefan Antonijevic* (Brendan King 64*'), Hunter Jumper; Corben Bone, Michael Videira, Daniel Paladini; Rafael Robayo (Kellen Gulley 57'); Kheli Dube (Victor Pineda 52'), Orr Barouch
Substitutes not used: Jay Nolly
Sporting Kansas City: Jon Kempin; Kevin Ellis, Konrad Warzycha, Lawrence Olum, Seth Sinovic; Peterson Joseph, Paulo Nagamura, Luke Sassano (Michael Thomas 70'); Soony Saad, Teal Bunbury (Dom Dwyer) 52', Korede Aiyegbusi
Substitutes not used: Steve Spangler, Cyprian Hedrick, Shawn Singh
SKC - Koredi Aiyegbusi (Luke Sassano) 26'
SKC - Teal Bunbury (unassisted) 39'
SKC - Teal Bunbury (Konrad Warzycha) 42'
CHI - Orr Barouch (Michael Videira) 79'
CHI - Michael Videira (caution) 3'
CHI - Orr Barouch (caution) 36'
CHI - Daniel Paladini (caution) 53'
CHI - Daniel Paladini (caution; ejection) 61'
SKC - Paulo Nagamura (caution) 64'
SKC - Paulo Nagamura (caution; ejection) 66'
CHI - Kwame Watson-Siriboe (caution) 70'
SKC - Dom Dwyer (caution) 79'
SKC - Soony Saad (caution) 87'
Referee: Margaret Domka
Assistants: Khalaf Al-Lafayfeh, Nikola Aleksic
Fourth Official: Ethan Buege