With the Chicago Fire missing four key starters—Xherdan Shaqiri, Rafael Czichos, Fabian Herbers and Miguel Navarro—it’s not a huge shock they lost 1-0 away from home Saturday against Orlando City.
It’s how it went down that stings.
Brian Gutierrez was sent off after receiving a second yellow for a routine, weak foul late in the first half, forcing the Fire to play a man down for the remainder of the match. Fire head coach Ezra Hendrickson was clearly livid as the team walked into the tunnel at halftime. But after the match, he wanted to talk more about how Gutierrez received his first yellow—for standing in front of an Orlando free kick to delay a restart early in the match.
“Yes, it might have been a difficult call on the second yellow, but that first yellow is something he will have to learn from, and all the other players will have to learn from,” Hendrickson said post-match, with his voice nearly gone after shouting during the game. “That was a really poor yellow to get.”
The Fire were able to hang on until the 59th minute, when Pato headed a ball to Ercan Kara, who headed it point blank past Gabriel Slonina. It was only the second goal Slonina had given up all season, and the first time the Fire had trailed in a match in 2022.
“I have to do a little bit of a better job at reading that header coming back across,” Slonina said, putting the blame on his shoulders. “It’s obviously a set piece goal, so a lot of the time it comes down to focusing. If you switch off for one second, then teams will punish you.”
The Fire were able to keep Orlando from scoring a second, but were unable to get anything going on the attack with only ten men. The Fire are back in action at Soldier Field next Saturday against the LA Galaxy, where a large crowd is expected for the match.
Other notes: Andre Reynolds II made his first appearance of 2022, coming on for Jonathan Bornstein. The Fire’s two goals conceded are tied for best in MLS with the Philadelphia Union. Wyatt Omsberg was again stellar, winning 100 percent of his aerial duels in the match.
Chicago Fire FC: GK Slonina, D Sekulić, D Pineda, D Omsberg, D Espinoza, M Giménez (Durán, 75’), M F. Navarro, M Bornstein © (Reynolds II, 60’), M Gutiérrez, M Ivanov (Offor, 60’), F Przybyłko (Casas Jr., 84’)
Subs not used: GK Richey, D Burks, D Terán, M Oregel, F Bezerra
Orlando City SC: GK Gallese, D Ruan (Smith, 75’), D Moutinho, D Jansson, D Schlegel, M Araujo (Urso, 46’), M Mendez, M Pereyra © (Perea, 86’), M Torres (Michel, 75’), F Pato, F Kara (Akindele, 75’)
Subs not used: GK Stajduhar, D Williams, M DeZart, F Lynn
Stats Summary: ORL / CHI
Shots: 21 / 7
Shots on Goal: 6 / 2
Passing Accuracy: 89.3%/ 78.9%
Saves: 2 / 5
Corners: 6 / 2
Fouls: 6 / 15
Offsides: 0 / 0
Possession: 61.7% / 38.3%
Referee: Victor Rivas
Assistant Referees: Jeffrey Swartzel, Matthew Nelson
Fourth Official: Elvis Osmanovic
VAR: Jorge González, Craig Lowry