Chicago Fire 0, FC Dallas 0.


It was an absolutely horrid afternoon in Chicago, and the fans that made the trek to Soldier Field were treated to an exceptionally boring game of soccer. It sounds like a harsh take, but the Fire’s third 0-0 draw of the season may have been their most uninspired one yet. Yes, the boys maintained their unbeaten start, and retained the famed Brimstone Cup. Yes, Gabe Slonina added a fourth clean sheet in five matches to bring himself to 25% of the way to an MLS record. And you could possibly excuse the performance due to the weather.  But following Shaqiri sustaining an injury within the first twenty minutes, the drop off in creative fluidity was clear to see. Credit to Brian Gutierrez for stepping in for him and doing fairly well, all things considered. Anyway, here are some takeaways and opinions on the match. Starting with the match rating:

G. Slonina // 9

B. Sekulic // 7

J. Espinoza (sub) // 6

W. Omsberg // 8

M. Pineda // 7

M. Navarro // 6

G. Gimenez // 7

F. Navarro // 7

S. Ivanov // 5

J. Casas (sub) // 6

X. Shaqiri // 6

B. Gutierrez (sub) // 8

F. Herbers // 5

J. Bornstein (sub) // 6

K. Przybylko // 6


Key Takeaway from the match: The Fire did quite alright without Czichos and Shaqiri.

The Fire missed two of their key acquisitions in the offseason in this match. Rafa Czichos missed the entire match due to illness and marquee player Xherdan Shaqiri missed 70+ minutes after seemingly pulling a muscle while making a pass. Despite this, the Fire made it through the game without conceding and even could’ve, arguably, won the game, having two rather obvious penalties not called by the referee. A few players really stepped up when it mattered, mainly Shaqiri substitute Brian Gutierrez, and Wyatt Omsberg who is looking better and better every week and is an early shout for most improved player in the league this season. I want to focus on Brian Gutierrez for a minute though. He’s thrown into this awkward situation. It’s raining and it’s cold. He has to take over for our main man Shaqiri and hopefully be the difference maker. The team didn’t score but he had probably his best performance as a professional soccer player, and hopefully he kicks on from here and proves to be a viable option to come off the bench, and maybe even break into the first team later in the season.

The most disappointing player, I felt was Kacper Przybylko. After a brace in the previous match, you would’ve hoped he would follow it up with another goal or two. But he squandered a handful of chances and all in all looked well off the pace up front. Fans may have to wait a little while longer before seeing our new number 9 enter a purple patch of goalscoring form, which I don’t doubt will happen. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

A player that doesn’t hear praise from fans all that often, Gaston Gimenez, had a really good night to be honest. He responded to the early season criticism and really showed what kind of player he can be. While it wasn’t his best game of the season, I thought the one against Kansas City was pretty great, it was a step up from last season and the first three games of this one. He took the armband once Shaqiri had to get subbed, and really controlled a lot of the Fire’s gameplay. Hopefully these kinds of performances happen on a consistent basis, and he shows that the Fire are not in fact wasting their money and time keeping him as a Designated Player.

For the past five matchdays the Chicago Fire has happily surprised me with their ability to maintain their shape and core gameplay values throughout each ninety. They are playing as a unit and Ezra Hendrickson has impressively coached this team so far. I didn’t like everything I saw on Saturday, and that includes, in large part, the weather. Regardless, the Fire remains one of three undefeated teams in MLS this year and has become one of only four teams in MLS history to allow just one goal in the first five weeks of the season. They look like a playoff team, but they are absolutely capable of more. At the moment they are playing like a spots 5-7 team. If they can take it up a notch, they definitely have the talent to be in that spots 2-4 conversation. No, they’re not going to win the conference.

Featured Image: Chicago Fire/Twitter
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