The Chicago Fire’s 2022 came to an end with a 1-1 draw in Bridgeview against the New England Revolution. Chris Brady was handed his first MLS start in goal, and a number of other young players were given opportunities as the Fire had nothing to lose. In the final moments of the match, Dylan Borrero scored a screamer from the edge of the box which appeared like it would be the winner. However, late substitute Alex Monis scored with his only touch of the season to rescue a point at the death.
Starting Lineup (left to right): Brady; M. Navarro, Burks, Terán, Sekulić (Espinoza 79’); Pineda (Oregel Jr 79’), F. Navarro; Mueller (Monis 89’), Shaqiri, Gutiérrez (Ivanov 73’); Durán (Przybyłko 89’)
Chris Brady (7.5) — Many years from now, we may look back at this game and how it marked the beginning of Chris Brady’s professional career. The 18-year-old goalkeeper made his long-awaited MLS debut and put in a strong performance, making 4 saves. A terrific shot from Borrero in the 88th minute prevented Brady from getting a debut clean sheet, and of course, he still has areas to improve on, particularly playing with his feet. But nonetheless, there is no reason for anything but optimism going into 2023 surrounding this young star ready for a breakout season.
Miguel Ángel Navarro (7.5) — The left-back had a strong finish to the season and was a part of a strong backline that New England struggled to breach for the majority of the match. While Navarro was unable to provide much of an attacking threat this week, he was solid defensively and won 4 ground duels. Navarro has shown continued growth over the course of his three seasons so far in Chicago.
Kendall Burks (7) — The first-round draftee made his second start of 2022 and looked much more confident this time around as he was a key part of the Fire’s strong defensive performance against the Revs. Burks was reliable in defense partnering Carlos Terán, and even came close with a header in the attack. He has a future with this team, and he took this opportunity to get another 90 minutes very well.
Carlos Terán (7) — Terán was named as the official man of the match by the club, and he had another good showing the end the season. As previously mentioned, the Fire were resolute at the back, and Terán’s playing out of the back was also strong. Now, going into 2023, he will have to battle to keep his spot when Wyatt Omsberg returns from injury. The Colombian has shown his quality and potential on numerous occasions this season and is a great asset for the Fire to have going into next year.
Boris Sekulić (7.5) — Sekulić more than likely played his last game for the Fire this Sunday and put in a strong performance that showed why he will be missed in Chicago. New England posed little threat down Boki’s side of the field, and he posed a threat with the ball as well. The next few weeks will decide whether or not he returns in 2023, but from a sporting perspective, there’s no reason he shouldn’t as he has been one of the Fire’s most consistent and reliable players.
Mauricio Pineda (6.5) — Pineda has been a valuable player for the Fire over the course of the year, and he put in another good shift in central midfield on Decision Day. The 24-year-old received an early booking which affected his performance for the rest of the match, and he may have been a foul or two away from receiving a second yellow. Nonetheless, he provided no reasons to change the thinking that he will be an important squad player once again in 2023.
Fede Navarro (7.5) — The young Argentine midfielder was at his best defensively today, and anchored the midfield making 3 interceptions, 10 recoveries, and 1 block. Navarro completed 42/47 passes as well, and was ever-present in the center of the park. He was a huge acquisition in the summer of 2021, and is a huge part of the Fire’s future.
Chris Mueller (7) — Mueller has been a contender for the Fire’s player of the year, though he did struggle to make an impact in the final third against the Revs. He has barely had a rest since the start of 2021 since spent the MLS offseason playing in Scotland, and fatigue has potentially affected his performances towards the end of this year. Regardless, he completed 31/33 passes and was still attempting to make things happen on the wing, and he will be a key player for the Fire next year.
Xherdan Shaqiri (7) — Shaqiri was also unable to get on the scoresheet in the season finale, but he still found ways to get involved in the attack and showed flashes of himself at his best. On one occasion in the second half, the DP came close from inside the penalty box with a shot that was well saved by the goalkeeper, Djordje Petrović, who was undoubtedly the man of the match between both teams.
Brian Gutiérrez (7) — The red-hot Gutiérrez didn’t have as good of a game this weekend as he did in Cincinnati eight days prior, but it was still a respectable ending to what has been something of a breakout season for the 19-year-old attacking midfielder. Guti started taking some set pieces, even with Shaqiri in the game, and his delivery was very encouraging. It is yet another asset for the toolbox of one of the Fire’s brightest young talents.
Jhon Durán (7.5) — Though he couldn’t add to his goal tally of 8, the Colombian wonderkid showed his talent and was unlucky not to find the back of the net in what was, quite possibly, his last game in MLS. Durán came the closest to scoring in the first half when a beautiful solo move resulted in a shot that was remarkably saved by Petrović. He looks like a much more complete player than the raw talent who arrived in Chicago last January. The sky is the limit for Durán; only time will tell if we will ever see him in a Fire shirt again.
Stanislav Ivanov (6) — Ivanov is still under contract for 2023, but his 17-minute cameo on Decision Day may very well have been a farewell appearance. The Bulgarian didn’t make much of an impact going forward in this game, and it's unlikely he’ll be more than just a depth piece if he does indeed return next season.
Jhon Espinoza (6.5) — Espinoza got an 11-minute runout and looked comfortable on the ball, but he didn’t do enough to shatter expectations. Assuming Sekulić leaves with his contract expiring right back will become a position of need for the Fire.
Sergio Oregel Jr (6.5) — Much fanfare has surrounded the debut of Chris Brady, and rightfully so. But another extremely talented prospect made his debut for the Fire today, and that is Brady’s fellow academy product Sergio Oregel. Translating a strong preseason into a fantastic year for Fire II and the US U-19s, Oregel finally got his shot with the first team this weekend. It could be argued that he could have done better to prevent New England’s goal, but his passing was very good and he made a positive impression on the match. This is only the beginning, and 2023 should be a huge year for him to continue growing.
Kacper Przybyłko (NR) — As the Fire chased an equalizer, Przybyłko returned to the team with a brief look right at the death. He had one touch.
Alex Monis (10) — We haven’t given out a 10 rating this season yet, and that makes me sad. Alex Monis scored with his only touch of the 2022 season, earning the Fire a point in only his second appearance for the club, having entered in the 89th minute. It was a special moment for Monis, who has been putting in the work every week with Fire II and capped off a night that will make everyone involved with the Fire Academy very proud.
Ezra Hendrickson (8.5) — It’s difficult to prepare a team for a meaningless game like this, and Ezra managed it well. He has been patient in integrating many of the young homegrown players and provided them opportunities in this game which turned out to be an excellent low-stakes environment to integrate them. He made changes that impacted the game, namely introducing Monis, and ultimately set up the team to earn a point against a strong New England team. Ezra has shown growth as a coach of the course of the season, and there’s reasons to be optimistic going into 2023.