The Chicago Fire scored some great goals in 2019, but which one was the best? Here are the top 10 goals of the season for the Men In Red.
With the 2019 season all but over for the Chicago Fire, now is as good a time as ever to look back at the year that was. Most viewed the offensive potential of the Fire as the most enthralling element of the team at the start of the season. However, the attack at points over the course of the campaign.
The Men In Red did still manage to create a lot going forward, scoring 44 goals in 30 games, but there was not quite the same consistent prolificacy throughout the campaign. Nevertheless, there were a few gems along the way, but which goal was the best of the bunch?
Here are the Chicago Fire’s top ten goals of the season (so far).
10. Fabian Herbers vs. Atlanta United
Sometimes, simplicity is beautiful, and this goal proves that. Already up 3-0 in the opening half an hour, the Chicago Fire were running circles around reigning MLS Cup champions Atlanta United. They would use that momentum to grab a fourth right before the end of the half, completely killing off the contest. Francisco Calvo picked up the ball at midfield, looked up, and sprayed a diagonal pass into the penalty area. It found its way to Fabian Herbers, who chopped back inside before drilling a shot towards the near post. It got past Brad Guzan, wrapping up a five-star first-half performance for Chicago.
9. Djordje Mihailovic vs. Columbus Crew
It has not been the best season for the U.S. international, but Djordje Mihailovic was able to show some of his quality against one of the Chicago Fire’s biggest rivals. Tied 0-0 at the half-hour mark, Przemyslaw Frankowski whipped a cross that flew towards the edge of the area, picking out Mihailovic. The American chested the ball down quickly before turning and volleying a shot into the side netting. It wasn’t the easiest skill to pull off, but the sheer speed of his movement made this goal really impressive. Mihailovic might not score much, but when he does, it’s usually sublime.
8. Francisco Calvo vs. D.C. United
Far from the prettiest goal, Francisco Calvo’s late equalizer against D.C. United will still be some fan’s personal favorite. Down 3-2 in the nation’s capital with only minutes to go, the Fire launched in one last hopeful cross. Bastian Schweinsteiger was able to react quickly to flick on the ball over his own head, sending it towards goal. Bill Hamid came out to punch it away, but lost out to Calvo, who jumped highest to head home from close range. The Costa Rican did pay a price, and was down on the ground for a few minutes following the collision. It was all worth it, however, as it secured a vital point on the road for the Men In Red.
7. Nemanja Nikolic vs. Colorado Rapids
This one is much more about the assist than the finish. Nicolas Gaitan carried the ball down the wing, but seemingly trapped himself into a corner. Defenders were on either side of him, with little support from his teammates. However, the Argentine would use his guile and experience to turn around quickly, creating a few feet of space before whipping a cross into the penalty area. It flew straight to Nemanja Nikolic, who barely even had to move, simply heading the ball into the back of the net from close range. The striker knew who deserved all the credit, running over to Gaitan celebrate and thank him for the pass. The Argentine had a promising debut season in MLS, with this moment of magic certainly being a highlight.
6. Nemanja Nikolic vs. Montreal Impact
Sometimes, the best offense is a great defense. Down 1-0 at Seatgeek Stadium, the Impact were pushing forward in search of an equalizer. Francisco Calvo made the most of their desperation, intercepting an attempted long ball in behind. In mere moments, Chicago would put the ball into the back of the opposing net. Calvo quickly found Aleksandar Katai out wide, who took one touch before setting up Nemanja Nikolic for a tap in at the back post. The Hungarian obliged, doubling the Fire’s advantage. It might seem like a simple goal on the surface, but the speed at which they turned defense into offense is what makes this so satisfying to watch.
5. CJ Sapong vs. Atlanta United
Gaitan would create more magic later on in the season, this time setting up CJ Sapong. Coming in the now famous rout of Atlanta, the Chicago Fire were in the midst of a first half offensive explosion. Brandt Bronico started the move, tackling the ball away in the midfield. It fell to Gaitan, who without even looking, backheeled it in behind the opposing defense. Sapong latched onto the pass, and made no mistake with the finish, hitting a low shot past Brad Guzan into the bottom corner. The goal quickly went viral, as everyone was stuck watching Gaitan’s backheel on loop. Chicago may have scored five that night, but the Argentine’s brilliance meant Sapong’s second was the pick of the bunch.
4. CJ Sapong vs. Toronto FC
That past goal was the second time Sapong benefited from a superb assist, with the first instance coming against Toronto FC earlier in the season. This time, instead of a well known foreign import providing the service, it was a Chicago Fire homegrown setting up Sapong. Jeremiah Gutjahr, who was only playing in his second MLS game, won the ball in his own half. Quickly looking up, the left back launched a long ball across the field. Sapong got to it first, bringing the pass down with a sublime touch while getting by the onrushing keeper in the process. With an almost empty net in front of him, Sapong simply chipped the ball across the goalline, helping Chicago secure an important road point against Eastern Conference opposition.
3. Aleksandar Katai vs. Colorado Rapids
Aleksandar Katai might be incredibly inconsistent, but when he is on form, the winger is a joy to watch. That was proven by this late goal against the Colorado Rapids, which put the cherry on top of a dominant 4-1 win for the Men In Red. Picking up the ball near the halfway line, Katai started driving forward. He had little help, but that didn’t matter as he didn’t need any. The winger cut inside to get by one defender before dancing past another. Katai made his way to the top of the box before unleashing a shot on target that curled past the outstretched arms of Tim Howard, flying into the top corner. Some fans get frustrated when Katai tries to do things on his own, but goals like this show he’s got the ability to get the job done.
2. Nicolas Gaitan vs. Minnesota United
If you want to know what a counter attack looks like in its most lethal form, watch this goal back, and then watch it again and again and again. The Chicago Fire were absorbing pressure against Minnesota United, and had to defend yet another corner. The initial cross was cleared out of danger, sending the Men In Red streaking forward. Dax McCarty found Przemyslaw Frankowski, who took off with the ball, sprinting nearly 50 yards up the field. When he finally made his way into the penalty area, the Polish international played a square pass to Nicolas Gaitan. Instead of shooting it first time, Gaitan took a touch, completely fooling the Minnesota goalkeeper. All he had to do at that point was walk the ball into the back of the net, capping off the devastating counter attack in style.
1. Brandt Bronico vs. New England Revolution
With all the attacking threats going forward for the Chicago Fire, it’s somewhat remarkable that the goal of the season was scored by a central midfielder, who had only one professional goal to his name beforehand. However, against the odds, it is Brandt Bronico who takes the top spot on this list. Already up 2-0 against the New England Revolution, Chicago were looking to add a third to put the game away. A long ball was lumped into the corner, and Bronico chased after it. Picking the ball up on the endline, many expected him to whip a cross into the area. Instead, the American started dribbling, cutting inside before getting past two defenders. Bronico made New England pay for the space they gave him, unleashing a shot that flew into the top corner.
Those in attendance leapt out of their seats, knowing they had just seen an absolute banger. Bronico may have only gotten one goal this entire year, but he made it count, as it is the Chicago Fire’s goal of the season (so far).