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Chicago Fire 1, Atlanta United 2: First Thoughts

Another tough day in the Village of Bridgeview

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Chicago Fire Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Fire 1 Ellis 61’

Atlanta United 2 Barco 53’, Martinez 57’

  • Lineups are here!
  • Pregame thought 1: So I was wrong in my game preview. Pauno did change things up, switching back to a 4-2-3-1 and playing Basti as the #10. Innnnnteresting.
  • Pregame thought 2: Still not feeling super confident about this game but I think this teamsheet is the best we can do this week. If this group hangs tight and doesn’t make any obvious mistakes, we should be ok.
  • Pregame thought 3: I’m watching Knowing while waiting for the game to start and, friends? It is not a good movie.
  • Let’s goooooooooooooooooooooooo
  • 5’ Atlanta nearly gets on the board early. Martinez gets a good look at goal but Richard Sanchez manages to snuff it out.
  • 7’ Big Red just elbowed Basti in the face. Klopas keeps insisting there was no intent, but... I don’t know, y’all.
  • 8’ Ohhhh man, Niko with a chance here too! His shot/cross couldn’t find a red shirt at the far post but Escobar nearly backheeled it into his own net.
  • 9’ lol Mo Adams gets payback for Basti going down with a professional foul on Martinez. Think this kid’s gonna do alright here. #TheChicagoWay
  • 12’ Martinez hits a bicycle kick inside the box but the ball sails over the bar. So, uh, this game definitely won’t be boring.
  • 13’ And then less than a minute later Collier gets space in the box but sends his shot into the Harlem End. Did someone give the players a bunch of sugar before the game?
  • 15’ I’m generally onboard with giving young players a chance, but Parker’s not exactly wrong here.
  • 18’ I like that the Fire are pushing forward and trying to catch Atlanta out. Their finishing is just... not great.
  • 20’ Katai thunders into the box but he can’t settle himself to get a shot off. He’s been decent so far, just needs the right chance.
  • 22’ Man, the difference in quality between Vincent and Ellis is stark.
  • 23’ Oh SHIT Basti cracked a shot from like 30 yards and only barely misses. If that was on target Guzan wouldn’t have kept that out.
  • 24’ Atlanta seem really off their game tonight. I don’t know if it’s us or if they have their own shit going on, but I’m getting increasingly confident about our chances. I think we can take them now. (Also, Kap picks up a yellow for “dissent.”)
  • 26’ The Fire have been really good about keeping the center of the park locked down. I think the Dax-Mo partnership could pay dividends.
  • 27’ Katai capitalizes on a bad pass from Guzan, commits a foul but doesn’t get dinged for it, but he DOES get flagged for offsides.
  • 29’ Guzan is... not having a good night.
  • 32’ Fire win a FK in a dangerous spot, Katai ends up taking it, but he puts too much mustard on it and sends it right at Section 8.
  • 33’ Atlanta hits us on the counter in their first real chance in a while. The play ends with Martinez heading on target but Sanchez snatches it.
  • 34’ Atlanta comes right back, with Gressel hitting a shot from outside the box that’s wide of the post.
  • 36’ While trying to break up an Atlanta attack, Ellis serves the ball back on a plate and nearly gifts the visitors the opening goal. Kap and Sanchez double-team to clean it up but, yikes.
  • 37’ And then immediately after, Vincent and Katai team up for a quick counter that doesn’t quite come together. Loving this pace but it’s REALLY HARD to blog about it and keep up.
  • 40’ I want to say that Atlanta are starting to find their footing but this game is so frantic it’s really hard to tell.
  • 41’ Kevin Ellis is struggling a lot and it’s really hard to watch. We need Matt Polster back.
  • 43’ Katai gets whacked in the face and needs a minute to recover. He seems fine but he has to step off the pitch.
  • 44’ Martinez with another chance that’s defused by Kappelhof.
  • 46’ Both teams are looking a bit gassed. Understandably so. Two minutes of stoppage time.
  • 47’ Niko makes a beeline for goal but doesn’t hear the whistle for offsides.
  • Halftime! CHI 0-0 ATL
  • Halftime thought 1: This definitely does not feel like a 0-0 game. Woooof. I need to go catch my breath.
  • Halftime thought 2: We had a really strong half against one of the best teams in the conference. I really think this game is there for the taking.
  • Second half is underway!
  • 50’ Bit more of a tentative start to the second half compared to the first. Mo Adams still out here doing yeoman’s work.
  • 53’ GOAL lol right after I praised Mo Adams he gives the ball away in the Fire’s defensive third and Almiron plays Barco in for the opening goal. CHI 0-1 ATL
  • 54’ Yup.
  • 57’ GOAL Nagbe and Martinez are played through and play Sanchez like a violin. CHI 0-2 ATL
  • 59’ Ugh. This team has cracked open like an egg. Our position’s busted, everything’s falling apart.
  • 60’ Double substitution. Diego Campos comes on for Elliot Collier and Noted Homophobic Slur Enthusiast Alan Gordon replaces Mo Adams.
  • 66’ We seem to have recaptured the energy of the first half, if not the stability. Fire are chasing an equalizer by any means necessary. This is going to be a wild one.
  • 70’ Ellis with a great cross that Katai almost manages to get under control.
  • 71’ And then immediately Kappelhof sticks a boot out to break up an Atlanta attack. Pretty sure he’s getting our MOTM nod tonight.
  • 73’ Martinez came off for Kratz and Martinez is throwing a small tantrum about it in the technical area.
  • 76’ Katai the key point in a quick counterattack, but the timing of passes isn’t quite good enough and Atlanta recovers.
  • 79’ Fire piling on pressure but haven’t found a breakthrough yet.
  • 80’ Grant Lillard eats a yellow in order to kill a counterattack. He’s then immediately subbed off for Campbell.
  • 82’ And Campbell is evidently playing as a striker??
  • 85’ Fire with another spell of sustained pressure but it ends with a goalkick. Running out of time to make something happen.
  • 88’ Fire send a long ball into the box and Guzan has to leap to punch it away.
  • 90’ Five (!) minutes of stoppage time.
  • 91’ Almiron in on goal but Sanchez manages to smother it.
  • 92’ Katai with a low drive that forces Guzan to scramble.
  • Peep! Peep! Peeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep! Final Score: CHI 1-2 ATL
  • Final Whistle Thought: I was expecting a loss but I’m still disappointed. There were some clear opportunities for the Fire to get at least a point and we couldn’t convert. Feels bad, man.

Stay tuned for more postgame coverage and a full recap here on Hot Time In Old Town. In the meantime, join the conversation in the comments or on social media.