Pregame thought: Oooooooooooo boy it’s time. Playoff soccer is back in Chicago! I am buzzing for this match. The lineup is strong, and I’m almost positive that we will be seeing Schweinsteiger make his return.
1- And we’re off!
1- Accam is dumped to the ground by Felipe. It’s going to be a looooooong game for the Ghanaian.
2- Dax McCarty is not here for the bull sh*t tonight. He has a point to prove against his former team and has come out of the gates fast.
2- The Fire with an early chance! Golden boot winner Nemanja Nikolic’s pass to the back post is cut off just before it could be finished off by David Accam.
5- McCarty plays Nikolic down the left hand flank, but the Hungarian striker was flagged offside before he could square it to an open Luis Solignac.
7- Goal - New York Red Bulls - A bad, bad mistake from Lampson costs the Fire a goal. Bradley Wright-Phillips was played through, and Lampson, who should have somethered the ball, failed to make a save.
8- There’s nothing more fun than having to chase the game that you’re playing on your home field, right?
11- Goal - New York Red Bulls - Sacha Kljestan taps home for an easy finish at the near post. Tyler Adams embarrassed Brandon Vincent there. The Fire are one kick away from being out of the playoffs already.
14- The Toyota Park crowd needs to pull the Fire out of this. There’s a lot of soccer left to be played and Chicago needs some energy.
17- A half chance for the Fire! Accam lays the ball off for Matt Polster but the right back’s shot is blocked. Corner up coming.
20- A questionable call from the referee there. Ball clearly went off of NYRB.
22- BWP unleashes a shot from 30+ yards out. It goes well over the goal.
22- Meira comes up big with a block! Tyler Adams wall was headed towards the back post before the Portuguese defender bade a great sliding block.
25- Chicago haven’t generated a meaningful chance since before New York scored. Is it time to be worried yet?
26- Solignac’s cross find Nikolic in the box! But the striker is put off by Lawrence and his headed effort goes wide of the goal.
28- Tyler Adams’ ball to the far post goes out for a corner.
29- Solignac picks out Nikolic again! The striker couldn’t get himself in the right position, though, and his header floats into Robles’ arms.
34- I’m not usually a fan of Route 1 football, but that’s all that seems to be working for Chicago tonight. Need to focus on winning the second ball.
36- Meira with another big interception! He beats BWP to a cross at the near post to save a goal.
37- McCarty does well to play Accam in but the Ghanaian’s cross is blocked out for a corner— which is easily caught by Robles.
39- UPDATE: Stu Holden is now talking about chocolate milk. Everything is wrong.
41- Veljko Paunovic is visible frustrate on the touch line. McCarty has received four nasty kicks in the last few minutes and no cards have been shown.
42- Accam whistled for a hand ball. Chicago has absolutely nothing going for them right now.
43- Mihailovic’s shot nearly falls for Nikolic. Lawrence was just able to clear the ball away.
44- Djordje makes a confident run into the box but sprays his cross over everyone.
45- There’s the halftime whistle!
Halftime thought: As my editor would say: “Friends, I’m not going to lie to you. Things are very, very bad right now.” Chicago is in serious, deep trouble right now.
46- And we’re off!
46- A fast start for the Fire! Nikolic and Accam combine to win a corner.
47- Nearly! Robles makes a great save on a header from McCarty, and then kicks out at Meira. I’ll be interested to see if this one is reviewed by the VAR.
48- Stu Holden thinks Robles deserves a red for that kick out. I would agree.
51- Schweinsteiger really must not be fit. I thought for sure he would be coming on to start the second half, but alas, no such luck.
52- Accam looks frustrated right now. The service has not been there for him so far tonight, and he needs to keep himself wide to open up the field.
54- Nearly! Nikolic slipped Solignac in behind New York’s back line, and the Argentine’s cross is just to far for Mihailovic to finish off.
55- The Fire look much better so far. Polster has another chance from distance that just wouldn’t come off for him.
57- Bastian and Alvarez are warming up. I sure hope that we will be seeing them soon. Something’s gotta change and right now I think it has to be Mihailovic and Juninho.
58- The referee is letting this match get out of hand. Tackles are flying in everywhere on the pitch right now.
59- Brandon Vincent gives the ball away poorly. He has been awful tonight— no point in sugar-coating it.
61- Mihailovic is getting bullied out their tonight. Pauno really needs to make a change now.
63- A good exchange between Solignac, Polster and Juninho earns the Fire a corner.
63- Mihailovic is down in a heap of pain after getting caught on the ground trying to slide. This is really not good for the Fire’s youngster. He seems to have over-extended his knee and is in visible pain on the pitch right now.
65- Here comes Bastian Schweinsteiger! The World Cup winner replaces Mihailovic, but checks in on the youngster before he makes his way onto the pitch.
67- Chicago earns a free kick around midfield.
68- Vincent just dropped the ball before he threw it back into play. About sums up his night.
70- Two more substitutions for the Fire here: David Arshakyan (of all people) replaces Juninho, and Joao Meira is replaced by Arturo Alvarez.
71- Goal - New York Red Bulls - Goodnight from Chicago, folks. Daniel Royer scores New York’s third and this one is over.
73- Solignac misses a clear chance to play Alvarez into the box. Instead, the Argentine force a shot that was easily blocked.
77- Man, I’m so disappointed. The inexperience of the Fire is showing right now.
80- Nearly a chance for the Fire! Arshakyan caused a nervous moment inside the NYRB box but was flagged offside.
82- Alvarez’s free kick goes well over the bar.
85- Nikolic was well offside on that chance. It’s been a very difficult night for the Golden Boot winner.
87- Goal - New York Red Bulls - Insult to injury here. A bad touch from Arshakyan at midfield leads to a beautifully chipped goal from Veron.
90+2- Arshakyan just missed a sitter. The ball fell to him, wide open, on the six yard box. Ugh.
90+4- Annnnnd it’s over. NYRB advance to the next round. The Fire’s season is over.
Final Whistle Thought: This is a tough pill to swallow for Chicago players and fans alike. The Fire didn’t have the necessary playoff experience to get the job done tonight. They were second best the whole way.
It was a fun season, though. And I would just like to leave you with this as my final thought about the 2017 Chicago Fire season: