The Chicago Fire’s freefall continued on Saturday night as they lost 4-0 on the road to D.C. United at Audi Field.
The home side started hot, and they stayed hot in the first half. They scored near the 10th minute and the 20th minute, and a third goal in the 40th minute practically sealed the result by halftime.
Chicago put up some sort of fight in the second half, but it was all for naught as they were still held scoreless, and they even gave up another before the night was done.
It was a dream day for United, and a nightmare for the Fire.
D.C. opened the scoring before we even hit 10 minutes. It was all too simple, as Mateusz Klich lobbed a ball over the top to Christian Benteke, and he did the rest, cutting inside before picking out the bottom corner.
Benteke turned from scorer to provider 10 minutes later. He settled a high ball, juggled it, and then played Theodore Ku-DiPietro through on goal. He then finished the move, slotting home past the goalkeeper.
Chicago finally had their first opening a bit before the halftime break. Kei Kamara nearly did it on his own, settling and turning on the ball at the same time before blasting a shot towards frame. His contact was true, but the attempt flew right at the goalkeeper.
That proved to be an anomaly, as it was 3-0 soon after. An utterly baffling goal, Carlos Terán seemingly fouled an opponent in the area, but while doing so managed to kick the ball off himself, and the ricochet carried the ball over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
The Fire had a chance to pull one back at the very end of the half when Gastón Giménez stepped up to take a free-kick. It wasn’t the worst attempt, but it still flew wide of the frame.
They were better to open up the second half, and they almost grabbed a goal to mark their promising spell. Ousmane Doumbia drove forward before slipping in Brian Gutiérrez, but his shot hit the wrong side of the side netting.
After a period of nothing, Chicago had their best chance to get back into a game. A loose ball bounced around the area before falling right to the feet of Giménez, but his curling effort flew wide of the frame.
In the end, it was D.C. who added another goal. Benteke hung around the back post, and he was left unmarked, which meant that he could easily tap-in the low cross that eventually came his way.
What it means
This was a real six-pointer, as D.C. jumped Chicago in the standings, and they’re the ones now occupying the 9th and final playoff spot.
The win will likely serve as a huge momentum boost for United. They’ve got some talent, and now they might finally have the confidence to make the most of it.
For the Fire, the story could not be more different. They’ve collapsed recently, and the fanbase is on the verge of depression again.
Something, something, the duality of man is undefeated.
Notes and observations
Why did it look like there were puddles on the pitch?
I’ve never seen Gabriel Pirani before, but he looks like a real player.
Chicago were awful to start the contest. It genuinely didn’t look like they were even playing, they were just kind of along for the ride. That led to them conceding twice early on, and they practically gave up after that.
Theodore Ku-DiPietro is someone to keep an eye on going forward. The 21-year-old isn’t the most technically talented prospect, but there’s something to his game. He gets involved, and he was certainly involved on this night.
The Fire are very fortunate that they’ve got a break ahead of them. They need time away from themselves, and they need time to figure out what the hell is going so wrong.
Benteke, mmm yeah, thank you very much, have a good day, bye.
Man of the match – Christian Benteke
It’s like we were watching prime Aston Villa Christian Benteke tonight.
He was an absolute menace up top, bullying the Fire backline. The forward used his speed and strength and power to devastating effect. He held up the ball to set up teammates, and he went for goal himself too.
That’s what led to him scoring the opener, and then setting up D.C.’s second goal of the night. His stoppage time goal was the icing on the cake.
Benteke put on a masterclass, and if he can keep playing like this, then the capital city club could become dangerous down the stretch.