We saw a little bit of the future tonight in the Chicago Fire’s 3-3 draw with the New York Red Bulls. From minute 71 to minute 80, Kacper Pryzbylko, Chris Meuller, Jairo Torres, and Xherdan Shaqiri were all on the field at the same time. For those 9 minutes, we saw the ideal of the Fire attack for the rest of the season. While they didn’t score, it was the prettiest soccer the Frie have played all season. Chris Meuller may sneakily be the best acquisition of the season, and Jairo Torres looks to be coming along well after his injury his first few days with the team. The Future looks bright for the attack, and as the weather gets warmer, they should start to heat up.
That’s the future, however. The Now is still pretty shakey. It took the Fire a long time to find their footing in the game. The First 20 minutes were all Red Bulls, and their aggression was rewarded with a penalty on Jhan Espinoza. Louis Morgan Stepped up and inched it passed a diving Gaga Slonina and into the back of the net.
Gaga would continue to struggle. In the second half, Cameron Harper what we thought was a routine save off of a play that was passively defended, but effectively defended. The Fire forced the ball wide and closed the angle so the only place it could realistically be put was exactly where Slonina was standing. But Slonina bottled it. The ball went right through his hands and the Metros were able to retake the lead after the Fire were able to get the goal back in the first half. And what a goal it was. After a bit of sustained possession, Chris Meuller drove into the box, beat two defenders, and passed the ball to a posted-up Brian Gutierrez who laid it back off to Mueller. CM roofed it in to finish off the move in a glorious display of football.
The beginning of the second half was the exact opposite of the first. The Fire were in control and on the front foot. As a consequence, they took the lead off of a Xherdan Shaqiri corner, their second in the span of a minute. Shaqiri went near post this time and Jhon Duran flicked it across the face of the goal to a waiting Wyatt Omsberg who headed it into the back of the net.
The Fire took the lead late. Xherdan Shaqiri finally scored from the run of play. Jairo Torres and Boris Sekulic had a nice 2 man game going on the right, but Sekulic’s cross was a little light, to say the least. But Fabian Herbers didn’t give up on the play, and his disruption of the disruption let the ball find its way to Shaq. It was all raw sauce from the Swiss as he moved the ball to his left foot ad into the back of the net. However, the Fire being the Fire, they would lose the lead in stoppage time and the game would finish honors even.
It wasn’t always pretty, and it certainly wasn’t always good. But this is a game the Fire would have collapsed in and lost instead of drawn. For the short burst of time we saw the front four, they looked really good. The club scored 3 goals and the offense, in general, looked ready to break out and blow a team out of the water. Yes, Gaga needs a mental checkup after that howler and the defense still isn’t where it was in March and April. But things are starting to look up.
The Chicago Fire next play at Citi Field Sunday night against New York City FC.