The points were shared at Soldier Field on Saturday night as the Chicago Fire drew 2-2 against the New England Revolution.
Not much happened on the night other than two hectic periods. New England opened the scoring early on, only for Chicago to equalize a minute later. The Fire then jumped in front shortly after the halftime break, but the Revolution responded with a goal of their own soon after.
That proved to be it really, and the away side will end the night happier with the result given the circumstances of the Eastern Conference table.
The first opportunities fell to the Fire. They had shot after shot in the area get blocked, and then Fabian Herbers finally got one past the mass of bodies, but he hit it right at the goalkeeper for a simple save.
They created a few more chances soon after. Jairo Torres forced the keeper into a good stop with a curling effort, and then Herbers fluffed an attempt well over the bar.
It was New England who opened the scoring, though. A loose ball in the box fell to Tomás Chancalay, and he made the most of it, slamming a shot into the back of the net.
Chicago took no time to respond, equalizing about a minute later. Jonathan Dean was played into space down the right wing, and he hit a perfect low cross to the feet of Brian Gutiérrez, who then redirected the ball into the bottom corner.
Not much happened for the rest of the first half, but things kicked back into gear early in the second half. Gutiérrez received the ball in a tight area in the box, and he did very well to turn and lay the ball off to Gastón Giménez. He did the rest, curling a low shot into the bottom corner.
This lead didn’t last too long either. The Revolution tied things up at the hour mark, as a strike from Carles Gil deflected off a defender before flying into an empty net.
The contest went back and forth for a while, but neither side was able to create a real clear chance. New England nearly jumped back in front, but Bobby Wood was inches away from getting on the end of a delightful cross.
Chicago thought they deserved a penalty kick when Gutiérrez went down in the box. It looked like there was contact, although it was very, very minimal. Either way it wasn’t enough for the referee, who decided not to give anything after a VAR review.
What it means
Not much changed in terms of the Eastern Conference standings.
New England serves as the best of the rest at the top, as they’re now in 6th place with six points separating them from the team behind them. Chicago, meanwhile, are on the outside looking in, but they’re still quite close to the 9 seed.
Takeaways and general observations
Do not eat three slices of Giordano’s deep dish in one sitting. You’ll think you can handle it, but you won’t be able to.
Fair play to Omar Gonzalez and Kei Kamara, who both put in solid performances despite it feeling like they’ve been in MLS for two decades now.
Jairo Torres was given another chance in the lineup, but once again he fell a bit short. His decision making was poor, and when he did make the right decisions, he didn’t do enough to find the final ball in the box. At this point it seems quite clear that Chicago should move on from him in the offseason.
Noel Buck drifted out wide a ton in this match, and although it helped unbalance the opposition, it didn’t really get the most out of him. It’ll be interesting to see if this fluidity continues in the future, or if he’s returned to his more natural role in the side.
Ousmane Doumbia is not a bad player. Ousmane Doumbia is not a great player. Ousmane Doumbia is simply there. If he was a regular player on the roster this wouldn’t be too much of an issue, but the problem is he’s a Designated Player. Then again, he’s probably gone in the offseason as well.
Earl Edwards Jr looked solid tonight. The Revolution have had to replace the likes of Matt Turner and Djordje Petrović, but they might be just fine with Edwards.
Man of the match – Brian Gutiérrez
Brian Gutiérrez might just be ready to be the main man for the Fire going forward.
There was more responsibility on his shoulders due to the absence of Xherdan Shaqriri, and he dealt with it very well. He scored Chicago’s first with a finish that picked out the bottom corner, and then he set up the second after some lovely play in the penalty area.
Unfortunately the attacker had to exit the game before it was over due to injury, and everyone will be hoping that it’s only a minor issue. He’s simply so good, and he’s only going to get better.
Give him the keys to the getaway car, as Dan Kelly used to say.