The Chicago Fire battled to earn a point from the Western Conference leaders, the LA Galaxy, in a 0-0 draw. The visitors had two goals ruled out due to offside, but it was an even game and all things considered, a draw was the right result.
Starting Lineup (left to right): Slonina; M. Navarro, Czichos, Omsberg, Sekulić; F. Navarro, Pineda; Bornstein (Espinoza 61’), Giménez, Ivanov (A. Reynolds 72’); Przybyłko (Duran 77’)
Gaga Slonina (7) — Despite lining up with two of the league’s biggest stars in the front line, the Galaxy barely threatened Slonina’s goal; LA produced zero shots on target. With that being said, Gaga still played a small role, knowing when to come out a making a big recovery against Samuel Grandsir at the end of the first half.
Miguel Ángel Navarro (8) — The Venezuelan international has come into his own this season, a produced another great two-way performance. He made 5 interceptions and won 8 ground duels from a defensive standpoint, though his crosses couldn’t find their targets in the attack. His steady improvement has made him one of the more effective players for this team.
Rafael Czichos (7.5) — The captain slotted back into the lineup and produced another rock-solid performance after he missed the last two games due to heath and safety protocols. He had five clearances, and has established himself as a reliable ball-playing center back with 37 passes.
Wyatt Omsberg (8) — Omsberg was the best player on the night for the Fire, and put on another defensive clinic for the 30,000+ fans in attendance. Improvement from the last season’s players at an individual level has been key to the team’s success, especially from a defensive standpoint, and Omsberg is the prime example. Chicharito is a notoriously difficult player to defend, and Omsberg made it look easy; he also started an attack in the first half which nearly led to a goal.
Boris Sekulić (7) — Since the move back into Soldier Field, Sekulić has been the Fire’s most reliable and consistent player. Once again, he is as effective as an attacking full back, even if there was a lack of end product from the attackers in the final third.
Mauricio Pineda (6.5) — After a stellar first couple weeks, Pineda has remained a good option for Ezra Hendrickson. His passing was good on Saturday night, but ultimately, with Shaqiri and Gutiérrez out, you would have hoped that he would have gotten the ball into the attack a little bit more than he did, as he sometimes slowed the game down in transition.
Fede Navarro (7.5) — Federico Navarro is a very good midfielder. When he’s been healthy, the Chicago Fire midfield has been stronger than it already was, and he’s a key reason the Fire kept yet another clear sheet. Navarro won 10 duels and has been a fine addition to this team.
Jonathan Bornstein (6.5) — Bornstein filled in on the left wing again, a position which certainly is not his best. He was still somewhat impactful, making 2 accurate crosses and competing 15 passes, but it’s time to look at other options for this position, as when he’s started in an attacking position, he’s been mostly anonymous.
Gaston Giménez (7) — Gaston was another player who had to play in an unfamiliar position. He moved into a more advanced 10 role as a replacement for Shaqiri, rather than playing in the midfield double pivot. He also played the role similarly to Shaqiri, acting as a second striker in the attack and drifting wide when defending. He was one of the more creative attacking players on the night and was named as the Fire’s man of the match.
Stanislav Ivanov (6) — In 72 minutes of play, Ivanov only has 28 touches. The Bulgarian has gotten a lot of minutes to start the year due to lack of depth in the winger positions, but his limitations have been exposed and he lacks bite in the final third. Ivanov is the only natural winger who played for the Fire in this game.
Kacper Przybyłko (5) — Przybyłko had another extremely rough outing. Other than his brace against Sporting KC, he’s barely had any good moments, and if things can’t change, the Fire will have to hope that someone else can step up.
Jhon Espinoza (6.5) — Espinoza entered after an hour for Bornstein and didn’t make much of an impact offensively. He’s not an attacking player and it showed. He is better utilized as an option as a full back on either side.
Andre Reynolds II (6) — Reynolds got 24 minutes on the field, and only had 8 touches. Like Espinoza, he only game in as a winger due to a total lack of other alternatives, and he wasn’t effective at all.
Jhon Duran (6) — Duran also got nearly 20 minutes, but barely touched the ball, with only 9 touches. He had one shot, which missed the target; he needs some confidence, and maybe he can be a contributor for the Fire.
Ezra Hendrickson (7) — There’s only so much the coach can do when there’s a lack of offensive talent at his disposal. As has been the story of this season, Hendrickson has solidified the team defensively and built a cohesive unit which shut down Chicharito and Douglas Costa, even if the out of position attackers couldn’t score at the other end.