After a four game losing streak and a scoreless run of 383 minutes, the Chicago Fire put one in the back of the net in the second half Saturday at Soldier Field, holding on to beat Inter Miami CF 1-0.
It was Chicago’s first victory of the season, and the team’s first win in 11 matches dating back to last season.
“It was fantastic,” Captain Francisco Calvo said after the match. “The team, the players, the staff, the fans, the whole club deserved a win. We knew it was gonna be difficult. We knew the pressure that we had, and we gave it all.”
After a scoreless first half where the Fire dominated possession but couldn’t finish, Chicago was able to break through off a 69th minute free kick from Luka Stojanovic, who had come into the match ten minutes earlier. Stojanovic shot the ball to the left of Miami goalkeeper John McCarthy. McCarthy got hands on it, but spilled it into the net, giving the Fire the lead.
It was ugly, but after going so long without scoring, it was exactly the goal Chicago needed. Something—anything—to end the streak and potentially turn around the team’s season.
“That’s what I told the players. I said we have to keep believing, keep working, and at one point, the ball goes in,” Raphael Wicky said after the match. “Maybe it’s deflected, maybe it’s an own goal, we don’t know why, and that’s what happens today. I believe you have to keep being positive, and things will turn around. Hopefully, this is the start of something today.”
The Fire still struggled to finish chances—especially striker Robert Beric—who had three consecutive shots saved by McCarthy during a short stretch in the second half before the Stojanovic goal. Defensively, though, the Fire avoided switching off, staying compact and strong for 90 minutes in the sweltering Chicago heat. Fire goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth saved Miami’s lone shot on target all day.
“We’ve been working really hard for this moment,” defender Mauricio Pineda said. “It feels like the hard work paid off in a game, but that’s all it is, it’s just one win.”
The Fire will look to make it two wins in a row next Saturday at Soldier Field, when they face Djordje Mihailovic and CF Montreal. That one kicks off at noon CT.
For now, the team will savor this one, as will the 10,844 people who cheered them on. For Wicky—and many of the players on this team—it marked their first home win with fans in the stands.
“I told the team this week, it’s up to us to bring the fans behind us,” Wicky said. “It’s up to us, the energy that goes into the game. It’s up to us, the way we play, the way we fight.... We’re gonna keep working hard so we can give the many, many more victories.”
Chicago Fire FC: GK Shuttleworth, D Sekulić, D Omsberg, D Calvo ©, D Navarro, M Pineda, M Herbers (Collier 68’), M Frankowski, M Medrán (Kappelhof 83’), M Gutiérrez (Stojanović 59’), F Berić (Offor 83’)
Subs not used: GK G. Slonina, D Bornstein, D Espinoza, M Casas Jr.
Inter Miami CF: GK McCarthy, D Ulloa (Makoun 63’), D Shawcross, D González Pírez (Figal 46’), D Jones (Guediri 78’), M Matuidi, M Gregore, M Shea (Robinson 46’), M F. Higuaín (Carranza 54’), M Morgan, F G. Higuaín
Subs not used: GK Castanheira, D Leerdam, M Chapman, F Azcona