For about 89 minutes, the Chicago Fire and New England Revolution engaged it what would be best described as “Whatevering.” For those of you who are unfamiliar, Whatevering is a term invented by Chicago Sun-Times Fire beat writer Brian Sandalow to describe a soccer game where both teams trade possession around the midfield without a lot of meaningful action. The Fire and Revs played exactly like it was the last game of the year for two teams that just wanted to get through it and go home to take a nap.
It wasn’t all like that. Both teams had some chances in the first and second halves. The Fire floated in some good crosses that either were forced wide by defenders, collected by the goalkeeper, or just missed by Fire heads. The Revolution got a couple of open looks at the net, one of which looked ticketed into the back of the net. But Chris Brady the other Chicago Fire teenage goalkeeper prospect made a diving stop to preserve his clean sheet.
But then, New England scored. It was one of those goals that just kind of happens sometimes through no fault of the defense. The Fire did all the right things on the play. They reacted well to the long switch from sideline to sideline. They stopped Brandon Bye from cutting down the end line towards the net. And Sergio Origel, another one of the Fire’s collective of talented teenagers, closed out properly. But Dylan Borrero hit one of the best shots I’ve ever seen. He ripped it into the top corner with some knuckle action on it and there was nothing Brady could do about it. It was truly spectacular.
After that Ezra Hendrickson made the move. He brought on Alex Monis yet another Fire homegrown talent, presumably to give him a little experience closing out the end of the season with an eye toward next year. Instead, what he got was a Superhero moment and a tie game.
A long throw-in from Carlos Teran confused Petrovic and the New England defense. The ball bounced around the 6-yard box and landed right next to Monis, who poked it home through two defenders on the goal line. And just like that The Fire finished the season with a draw and positive feelings.
That is the key, those positive feelings. If the game had finished 1-0 or even scoreless, the good vibes coming out of Seet Geek this afternoon would not be there. The fact that it was Alex Monis who scored is icing on the cake.
This club is not without hope. Yes, they need to take advantage of this by reinforcing the squad to make that final push into being one of MLS’s good teams. But the foundations for a top squad are here, and the base of homegrown players they have after almost giving up on the academy three years ago is nothing short of a miracle. The future of the Chicago Fire Football Club is bright.
The Chicago Fire will next play in 2023.