Chicago Fire 4 Sapong 7’ 29’, Frankowski 16’, Nikolic 39’
I’ve said this before, but one of the frustrating things about writing recaps for Fire games is that, routinely, you can’t just write about the match. There’s too much else going on around the team— almost always stemming from front office fuckery— that the game itself becomes superfluous.
That was definitely true for today’s game. What was different was the conspicuous absence of the crushing dread Fire fans have become all too familiar with over the past decade.
In terms of the game, things definitely felt different. I had already sketched out an intro that described a game in which Chicago played decent soccer through the first half but failed to capitalize. I was thrilled to delete it in the 7th minute, when CJ Sapong capitalized on some awful defending to hit an empty net.
A short time later, following a strong run of possession, Brandt Bronico hit a perfect cross to the far post that landed perfectly for Przemysław Frankowski. 2-0.
Amazing an ownership change can do for your confidence!
And they weren’t done there. More than ten minutes of constant pressure, with hardly any time spent near Kenneth Kronholm’s goal, the Fire won a series of corner kicks that culimated in Sapong’s second goal, a header at the near post. 3-0, not even half an hour in.
Ten minutes after THAT, Nemanja Nikolic made it 4-0, because why not.
The Fire coasted to the halftime tunnel, up by four goals and relishing their new lease on life.
Early in the second half, the Fire took their foot off the gas a bit, giving Dallas more possession and more forward movement in exchange for preserving legs. Most times, I would be worried. Up 4-0, notsomuch.
Chicago didn’t lay off completely, however. Soon after the hour mark, a spell of intense pressure in front of Dallas’ goal nearly delivered a fifth goal, ending with two balls pinging off the woodwork (a header from Dax McCarty and then a right-footer from Sapong).
But for the most part, the Fire were happy to spend the last 20-30 minutes of the game sitting back and defending to see it out. This time, it was exactly the right call. The Fire nailed down a 4-0, an incredible prologue to this new chapter in club history.
So, here we are. Nothing is materially different for this season; maybe we can win out and get lucky with other results around the league to stay mathematically in the playoff race til the end, but, like this specific game, that’s almost beside the point. We could finish in last place and Fire fans will still have big smiles on their faces come Oct. 6th. Whatever the results on the pitch, whatever happens with the playoff race, we all have hope now. We’re all just waiting for the future to get here.
The Chicago Fire (9W 10D 12L, 37pts, 9th place) are back at it next Saturday on the road against FC Cincinnati.