A shorthanded Chicago Fire team fell 1-0 against a good Orlando City team on the road in Week 6. A first-half red card for Brian Gutiérrez didn’t help matters as the Fire struggled without Shaqiri and Czichos in the team.
Starting Lineup (left to right): Slonina; Espinoza, Pineda, Omsberg, Sekulić; F. Navarro, Giménez (Duran 75’); Bornstein (A. Reynolds 60’), Gutiérrez, Ivanov (Offor 60’); Przybyłko (Casas 84’)
Gaga Slonina (7.5) — There were both negative and positive takeaways in this game for Gaga. On the one hand, he probably could have done better on the goal and had a few indecisive moments dealing with crosses. On the other hand, the Fire only conceded once from 3.45 xG, and Slonina’s season-high five saves were a big reason for that.
Jhon Espinoza (6.5) — Espinoza came into the lineup at left-back for his first start of the year and wasn’t particularly impressive. He barely touched the ball throughout the match and sometimes went missing defensively and was drawn out of position, leaving a gaping hole in the backline. Early in the second half, he also received a yellow card for a hard tackle. Miguel Navarro should be back for next week’s game, as he missed out on this one with an injury to his left knee.
Mauricio Pineda (6.5) — With Czichos still out, Pineda had to step in at left center back for the second game in a row. It was a shakier performance this week, and he had one instance where he gave the ball away in a dangerous position. With Czichos likely to return soon and Fede Navarro coming into form, he will find it difficult to keep his place in the lineup next week.
Wyatt Omsberg (7) — Omsberg was named the Fire’s man of the match. He had another relatively good performance, even if Orlando were allowed to generate many opportunities in the box. He won 2/2 aerial duels and made seven clearances.
Boris Sekulić (7) — The Slovakian right-back has been a good contributor going forward this season, and the sending off to Gutiérrez limited his role in an attacking sense. Despite that, he completed 27/30 passes and made several interceptions.
Gaston Giménez (6) — After the red card, Giménez had to adopt a more defensive role. He was much more conservative with his passing and was largely ineffective. He’s been one of the standouts this season for this Fire, but it was a disappointing performance before he was substituted in the 75th minute.
Fede Navarro (7.5) — Navarro was one of the Fire’s best players today. Navarro had lots of work to do defensively and was mostly pretty good at breaking up attacks. There was a span in the second half where he was the only midfielder on the field, and his motor was on display as he covered all over the defensive half.
Jonathan Bornstein (6) — Today’s captain has gotten pretty familiar with the left-wing position since it is where he’s played in all of his appearances this season. Unfortunately, though, he was practically anonymous in this game, only making 19 touches throughout the game. He was taken off in the 60th minute. It is evident that the Fire are desperate for more depth in the winger positions, and the May 1st arrival of Jairo Torres can’t come soon enough.
Brian Gutiérrez (4.5) — Brian Gutiérrez made his first start of 2022 but received his first career sending off. He got a silly and needless yellow card for interfering with an opposing free-kick five minutes in. His second yellow was definitely harsh; Cesar Araujo went down following a light push, and Guti was called for his first foul of the game, and that was enough for the referee to pull out the red card. He had one really nice shot saved, probably the Fire’s best chance of the game. However, because of how dramatically being reduced to 10 changed the game for the Fire, it’s hard to give any positive rating.
Stanislav Ivanov (6) — Ivanov only went an hour today after he was totally ineffective. The stats were not flattering: 1/9 attempted dribbles were successful, only 2/18 duels were won, and merely 9/15 passes were completed. His lone positive moment came when he knocked the ball to Kacper Przybyłko inside the box, but the Polish striker couldn’t convert.
Kacper Przybyłko (5) — Przybyłko was the only new signing on the field in Orlando. He barely made an impact, and he couldn’t find the target with either of his two shots. Strikers are signed to score goals; Przybyłko is paid to put the ball in the net and set aside the home win over SKC, he hasn’t done that.
Andre Reynolds II (6) — It was a surprise to see Reynolds coming on for Jonathan Bornstein in the 60th minute. His role on the field was unclear, as he bounced between left wing-back, left-wing, and somewhere in the midfield.
Chinoso Offor (6.5) — Offor made his first appearance of the season, and like Reynolds, his role wasn’t apparent. The Nigerian striker was sometimes a winger, sometimes a striker, and sometimes dropped deep into the midfield. He had a few looks at goal but was largely ineffective.
Jhon Duran (6) — Duran brought some energy to the attack but struggled to break through the Orlando back line. His goal should be to get back to form and try to push Przybyłko for his spot in the starting lineup.
Javi Casas (NR) — Casas only played a few minutes off the bench and only touched the ball once, so it is unfair to give him a rating. But it's the second successive game he’s played in, and he’s clearly starting to earn some trust from Ezra Hendrickson.
Ezra Hendrickson (6) — Hendrickson was dealt a difficult hand, as he had to field a team without its star players, its captain, and two other starters. It's also out of his control that the team had to work with only ten men for the second half. But the changes he made had no impact on the game, though he didn’t exactly have a plethora of great options. For the first time this year, the Fire are facing adversity; it will be essential that the team can bounce back.