- Pretty much the same lineup today, the big change is Juninho back in the XI with McCarty called up to the national squad.
- Absolutely brilliant weather for today’s match.
- A little worried about Dax being away. He currently has a 7.26 overall rating according to WhoScored, so Juninho has some big shoes to fill.
FIRST THOUGHT: Revenge time. ATL put up 4 against us last time out, and I’m sure our guys will be ready to reverse that score.
3 - Fire concede an early corner kick here, the back four looked a bit out of sorts getting back against the counter.
5 - Very high challenge on David Accam. Lucky to come out of it without a bloody head.
6 - Nikolic great job to win a corner, and it’s the first of the day for the Men in Red.
11 - Fire with a good counter attack, but de Leeuw’s effort is blocked in front. He may have had better options waiting in the box...
12 - Atlanta United just beat the trap and had a 1 on 1 with Lampson. Villalba went 5-hole, but it squirted narrowly wide of the left post!
14 - Nikolic grazes the left upright with a shot of his own! Still 0-0!
17 - A bit of back and forth here...both teams trying to hoof the ball forward on the counter, nothing’s come of it yet.
23 - On a positive note, we haven’t received a red card yet...
24 - MASSIVE breakaway for Niko and Accam but Accam loses possession in the box and they don’t get a shot away!
24 - Immediately after the chance, Solignac is fouled. Free kick upcoming.
25 - Also, why is ATL’s goalie Colin Farrell?
28 - Just as I was typing how good Polster has been, he gets undone and nearly gives up a goal. Still 0-0.
29 - NOT 0-0 ANYMORE! GOAL FIRE! Accam dances around for what felt like an hour and finally lays it off for SOLIGNAC who BURIES it in the back of the net! 1-0 Fire!
36 - Okay, so my computer just freaked out for the last 6 minutes. Still 1-0 after a few half chances for ATL United.
39 - This is your weekly PSA in which I tell you that I love Brandon Vincent.
39 - YELLOW CARD - ATL UNITED - PIREZ - Cut off Accam’s run at midfield and Accam wins a FK.
42 - Accam finds a bit of space, but drags his shot into the ground and it’s easily saved.
45 - Fire continue to have the lion’s share of the chances, but aren’t able to put it together in the final third.
45+1 - Fire literally cannot defend a free kick and they nearly give up the lead. Luckily, the free ball into the box skitters wide and we go into half up 1-0.
HALFTIME THOUGHT: We’re winning, and this has been a full team effort. We
46 - Well, the Fire are lucky it’s still 0-0. Offsides (and a bad shot anyways) saves them from a good ATL counter.
50 - YELLOW CARD - SCHWEINSTEIGER - FIRE. Just a late challenge by the German.
51 - It’s hard for me to say what team has been better here. It’s been very back and forth, not a ton of clear chances, and Chicago has just been the most opportunistic of the two.
54 - Accam with an optimistic attempt, right at the keeper.
56 - Atlanta starting to get forward a bit here, realizing they need to press if they’re going to get a point out of this match.
57 - Ohhhhhhh mother of mary...Accam and Nikolic on ANOTHER breakaway and Accam leaves it a stud too far out for Niko and he can’t close the deal. Still 1-0...
59 - Solignac, the goal scorer, comes off for Drew Conner.
60 - Getting the feeling that if the Fire don’t put this away, Atlanta is going to find a way to get a goal. They’ve scored 28 goals in 13 matches, so it’s not like they can’t find a way through... (speaking of, they just won a corner)
64 - Campbell coming on for Juninho as the Fire look to shore up the defensive third of the pitch.
67 - YELLOW CARD - CARMONA - ATLANTA - Clipped Accam at midfield for Atlanta’s 2nd card of the match.
68 - Chance after chance for the Fire but they can’t close the deal! Polster takes a shot which nearly falls to Accam but he can’t finish it!
69 - PENALTY! ATLANTA! Handball in the box. Niko to take...
70 - GOALLLLLLLLL DE NIKOLIC!!!! FIRE 2 - 0 ATLANTA! - Niko smashes it home from the spot and puts the Fire in a comfortable spot with only 20 to go!
78 - This is what the FIre have done best this year — after they find a way in front, they shut down the opposition with good possession and dangerous counter attacks.
85 - The luster has faded, Atlanta is a fraud compared to this Fire team.
86 - Alvarez comes on for Accam to finish this one out. Great game by Accam — his skill-set fits this team ever so perfectly.
87 - Now, let’s get this clean sheet!
89 - Niko nearly makes it three — I thought he was offsides but he stayed on and a PHENOMENAL tackle prevented a good shot. 2-0 still...
90 - 5 minutes added...
90+3 - If you take out the 4 goals given up down in Atlanta, the Fire have only allowed 12 goals in 14 matches — 0.857 per game. That is unbelievable.
FINAL THOUGHT: The Fire train keeps rollin’, rollin’, rollin’. 6 in a row at home, and they’re ONE point off the lead in the East.