Another winless result for the Chicago Fire as they lose again on Saturday to Toronto FC
The Chicago Fire dropped a 3-2 decision to Toronto FC on Saturday, continuing a perplexing stretch of results that have not seen them win a match since March 19 against Sporting Kansas City.
Frustration from the Chicago side felt palpable in the first half, as they dominated the possession battle and spent a significant amount of time in the final third of the field, but were unable to cash in on any of their opportunities. Conversely, chances for Toronto FC were few and far between, but Deandre Kerr made the most of his in the 13th minute, as his shot from just inside the penalty area snuck between Miguel Navarro’s legs and past Gabriel Slonina to put Toronto ahead 1-0.
Though the score would remain the same heading into halftime, the Fire maintained their pressure on Toronto to start the second half. They finally broke through in the 52nd minute, as Xherdan Shaquiri chipped a perfect ball into the middle of the 6-yard box, where Carlos Teran was waiting to head in his first goal of the season to knot things at 1-1.
Just a few minutes later, it appeared as though Chicago had taken the lead when Jairo Torres found himself in a perfect spot for a rebound from a Miguel Navarro attempt, finding the back of the net. However, a VAR review determined that Kacper Przybylko was offside on the initial shot from Navarro, and the goal was ruled out.
The Fire bounced back quickly, as Shaquiri played a ball into the penalty area which Gaston Gimenez headed back perfectly to Przybylko, who clipped the ball off the turf and over Toronto goalkeeper Quentin Westberg to give the Fire a 2-1 advantage in the 66th minute. With Toronto struggling to create chances or even maintain possession, it seemed Chicago would be able to escape with three points.
That feeling of optimism would be short-lived, as Federico Navarro was called for a penalty for a physical challenge on Alejandro Pozuelo in the 68th minute. Initially, Toronto was awarded a free-kick from just outside the penalty area, but a VAR review found the foul occurred inside the 18-yard box. Pozuelo subsequently buried the penalty kick, bringing Toronto back even at 2-2.
10 minutes later, another mistake by Federico Navarro proved to be costly, as he turned the ball over short of midfield, with the ball finding Pozuelo quickly. As the Fire defense was slow to close down Pozuelo’s space, he scored an outstanding goal from just outside the penalty area, bending the ball around Federico Navarro and into the back of the net, giving Toronto a 3-2 lead in the 78th minute.
Chicago had chances to level the match from there, including an attempt from Shaquiri in the 83rd minute that hit the crossbar. But, despite controlling 63% of the possession for the match and out-shooting Toronto 33-5, including 9-4 in shots on target, the Fire ran out of time before finding the equalizer.
Heading into the match, it felt like the perfect opportunity for the Fire; they were essentially healthy and whole for the first time this season (minus Wyatt Omsberg, who entered health and safety protocols), they were well-rested with no mid-week action, and were facing one of the few MLS teams who had struggled nearly as much as they had. Instead, they break for international play dead last in MLS with just 11 points and at risk of allowing the season to slip away, with 538 dropping their chances of making the playoffs to just 18%.
Chicago returns from the break on Saturday, June 18 to host D.C. United for a 7:00pm match at Soldier Field.
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