It’s very rare in soccer to see anything close to an NBA-style buzzer beater. Luka Stojanovic’s spectacular goal Wednesday night against FC Cincinnati was about as close as it gets.
When the ball fell to him in the dying minutes of stoppage time, with the game tied 3-3, Stojanovic channeled his inner Michael Jordan. He knew what was coming.
“I was sure it was a goal,” Stojanovic said. “100 percent. That’s my answer.”
Stojanovic’s MLS Goal of the Year candidate capped a seven-goal thriller, in what was the first game this season to feature two clubs already eliminated from playoff contention.
The Fire struck first, with two goals from Robert Berić, who has slowly started to pick it up after an ice cold season at striker. Cincinnati would respond not long after, with a Luciano Acosta tap-in in the 28th minute, and a Brandon Vazquez equalizer in the 36th minute.
In the 71st minute, Fire midfielder Álvaro Medrán put the Fire up 3-2 with a beautiful, curling free kick into the left upper 90 from just outside the box. However, when Tyler Blackett slotted home an FCC cross in the first minute of stoppage, the Fire’s chances of picking up a win seemed to be dead. That’s when Stojanovic, who entered the game in the 86th minute, worked his magic.
“Yes, I think it’s (a) very important time for that goal, first of all, and I was ready since the ball go to Chino (Chinonso Offor),” Stojanovic explained. “I was ready for a rebound, for the second ball and in my mind it was just (a) good first touch and to shoot. That’s the way I do a lot on the turn, and today finally one come in from long distance.”
With three games to go, the Fire will play their final home game of the season this Saturday night at Soldier Field against Real Salt Lake. It will almost surely be the biggest crowd of the season, and will be a good chance to grab a win, and build some goodwill with the fans heading into 2022.