The Chicago Fire were handed their second league loss of the season, losing 3-0 to Minnesota United following a second-half collapse at Allianz Field. Emmanuel Reynoso opened the scoring with 18 minutes left, and a controversial second yellow for Fede Navarro opened the game up for the Loons to add two more in the final minutes. It was the first time this season that the Fire have conceded multiple goals in an MLS match.
Starting Lineup (left to right): Slonina; M. Navarro, Czichos, Omsberg, Sekulić; Giménez, F. Navarro; Gutiérrez (Bornstein 63’), Shaqiri (Pineda 82’), Ivanov (Espinoza 78’); Przybyłko (Duran 82’)
Gaga Slonina (5) — Unfortunately, this may have been Gaga’s worst game in a Fire shirt. He looked incredibly uncomfortable in possession and could hardly complete a pass (he only made 6 over the 90 minutes, with an accuracy of just 29%), and could not prevent some difficult yet still saveable shots. Inconsistency is expected from a 17-year-old soccer player, especially one starting every game, especially a goalkeeper; Gaga has mostly been a reliable option between the sticks this season, so there should be no reason for alarm.
Miguel Ángel Navarro (6) — Navarro had a forgettable game, but he isn’t why the Fire lost. He won numerous tackles and continued to be a good two-way player. However, his yellow card was needless, as he was booked following a very late tackle.
Rafael Czichos (5.5) — The main reason the Fire has kept so many clean sheets this season is that the defense, spearheaded by Czichos, has prevented their opponents from taking many shots. That didn’t happen today, and Czichos could have done better to shut down Lod on the third goal. The captain couldn't put his second-half header on frame, which was one of the Fire’s better chances.
Wyatt Omsberg (6) — Omsberg returned to Minnesota, where he played from 2018 to 2019, and had a mixed performance. On the one hand, he got rinsed on the third goal and gave the ball away far too much. On the other, he made some good stops, limiting the damage, including a huge tackle in the final minutes to prevent the scoreline from being even worse. He will be looking to bounce back next week.
Boris Sekulić (6) — Sekulić didn’t have too much to do, and he didn’t positively or negatively harm his standing. The Slovakian full-back completed 90% of his passes and had a header blocked at the end of the first half. There were moments when he didn’t look confident enough to go into a tackle on the defensive side.
Gaston Giménez (6.5) — Gaston mostly had a decent performance, even if the team had their worst of the season. He won 3/4 tackles, completed 87% of his passes, and won 11 duels. With that being said, he lost his mark on Kervin Arriaga on the second goal, so he was primarily responsible for that.
Fede Navarro (6) — This one is tough; Navarro had a relatively good game for the 77 minutes he was on the field and had his usual relentless defensive presence in the midfield. The elephant in the room is that he was sent off when he received a second yellow with 13 minutes remaining, although he made no contact with Robin Lod and has the right to feel extremely hard done by that referring decision. The red card ruined the game from a Fire perspective, and losing Navarro opened up many chances for Minnesota, which extended their lead from one to three.
Brian Gutiérrez (5.5) — The 18-year-old was ineffective on the wing, and this game just added further evidence that his best position is centrally as a 10. Gutiérrez struggled to get on the ball and only had 33 touches, and he was substituted around the hour mark. Ezra Hendrickson may consider moving Guti to the 10 and pushing Shaqiri out wide, leaving both players in their more natural positions.
Xherdan Shaqiri (5) — Shaqiri didn’t look like his usual self upon his return from a three-week injury layoff. He snatched at opportunities to shoot, missed many passes, and couldn’t be incisive in the attacking third. His playmaking was supposed to be the missing piece since the Fire failed to score an MLS goal in April, but he proved incapable of making a significant impact today.
Stanislav Ivanov (5) — Ivanov played 78 minutes but only managed to touch the ball 24 times. He managed to produce one shot on target, which was saved by St. Clair and added some spark on the ball. Jairo Torres will officially arrive as a Fire player in eight days, and one would imagine Ivanov will be demoted to the bench.
Kacper Przybyłko (4) — Another week, another disappointing Przybyłko performance for the Chicago Fire. His inability to get into good positions and convert his chances when he does find himself in front of goal has been the main reason the Fire have been held to four consecutive shutouts in MLS.
Jonathan Bornstein (5) — The Bornstein winger experiment has long run its course. While his high work rate is admirable, Bornstein doesn’t have the skillset to be consistently impactful in an attacking position. He had an almost anonymous performance in Minnesota.
Jhon Espinoza (5) — Espinoza came into the game when the score was still 1-0 to try to make an impact and find an equalizer. He only had four touches.
Mauricio Pineda (6) — Pineda made an 8-minute cameo and was pretty solid, even if the Fire collapsed in the final moments. He won 6/6 duels, completed 5/6 passes, and won 3/4 tackles. Barring some unforeseen event, he will start next week in place of Fede Navarro.
Jhon Duran (NR) — Duran also made a brief appearance at the end but barely touched the ball.
Ezra Hendrickson (5) — One thing is certain: the Ezra Hendrickson honeymoon period is over. Hendrickson’s team could not bounce back from the midweek Open Cup disappointment with a good showing, and the Fire produced their worst outing of the year. Offensively, this team is toothless and defensively perhaps not as solid as they have appeared so far this season. The roster that Georg Heitz built is imperfect and largely comprises homegrowns who aren’t yet ready to make an impact at the pro level, leaving Ezra with very few useful players to bring off the bench. Making new signings to fill the vacant U-22 and TAM slots will be essential if the Fire want to be a playoff team in 2022.