Columbus Crew 1 Zardes 26’
Chicago Fire 1 Mihailovic 16’
In the TV show Malcolm In The Middle, one of the characters says, “I expected nothing, and I’m still let down.” That sentiment is how I felt about the Chicago Fire for the majority of last season.
That melancholy attitude turned into positivism and that feeling carried on with Saturday’s Carolina Challenge Cup game against the Columbus Crew. I was excited to see the lads play after a long break.
The Fire started the first half with what could be their typical league lineup, with the exception of Przemyslaw Frankowski being replaced by former Yellow Team midfielder Cristian Martinez .
The Fire drew first blood in the 16th minute when Djordje Milhailovic collected a ball from Katai and struck from the top of the box.
But as the typical narrative goes, the Fire are gonna Fire, and the defense collapsed. Gyasi Zardes exploits this and equalizes in the 26th minute with a nice header. Just a few minutes later, Wil Trapp was shown a straight red after a challenge on Diego Campos. Womp Womp.
That Yellow Team continued to play dirty and Bastian Schweinsteiger was taken off to the side as he was taken down towards the end of the first-half. For the love of God, no injuries please - especially not before the season starts.
Shortly after the start of the second-half, Milhailovic almost gave the Fire the lead with a beautiful curler towards the top corner. Mark my words, he is going to have more than five goals and assists this season.
Nemanja Nikolic, who had been relatively quiet throughout the game, found the back of the net on a rebound but was ruled offside. Someone should really make a Twitter bot counting the times Niko is offside for the upcoming season.
As the clock ticked down, I forgot the Fire had a one-man advantage. Martinez kept squandering his chances and Raheem Edwards was just awful at the back. Amando Moreno came on and gave the team a small breath of life, but that wasn’t enough.
The final whistle blew and the game ended as a draw. Despite being a preseason friendly, I couldn’t help be a tad bit disappointed. Maybe there are times you really shouldn’t expect anything.
The Fire will face MLS newcomers FC Cincinnati on Wednesday.