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CHICAGO (June 11, 2022) – Chicago Fire FC II dropped its first match of the season against St. Louis CITY2 by a score of 5-0. The match featured a professional debut at home for Chicago Fire Academy product Carlos Nevarez, who entered to cheers from the crowd in the 87th minute of play. 

CITY2 applied pressure early, forcing a turnover in the ninth minute. Sergio Rivas took advantage of it quickly, slipping behind the defense to score the opening goal of the match. The pressure did not relent; only 11 minutes later, AJ Palazzolo found some space beyond the 18 and powered a shot just beyond the reach of a diving Mihajlo Mišković. Although the Fire regained most of the possession throughout the first half, they could not generate enough chances and went into the break down two goals.

As the match resumed, the Fire immediately went on the hunt for a goal, but left space in the back of which CITY2 took advantage. Karson Gibbs went up for a contested header and recorded his second assist of the match when he found Josh Dolling, who turned and scored on a long range effort. Despite some forays into the St. Louis half, including good combination work between brother Luka and Victor Bezerra, the Fire left room for Célio Pompeu and Ben Di Rosa to give the visitors a 5-0 victory. 

NEXT GAME: Chicago Fire FC II will go on the road on Sunday, June 19 to face Philadelphia Union II at Subaru Park in Chester, Pa. The game is slated to kick off at 1 p.m. CT. As all MLS NEXT Pro regular season matches, it will be streamed live on mlsnextpro.com.

Social: Twitter - @ChicagoFireNext (Hashtags: #ChicagoFireII) | Instagram - @chicagofirenext | Facebook

Box Score:

Chicago Fire FC II 0-5 St. Louis CITY2

Goals:
STL - Rivas (K. Gibbs) 9’
STL - Palazzolo (J. Dolling) 20’
STL - J. Dolling (K. Gibbs) 51’
STL - Pompeu (A. Watts) 83’
STL - Di Rosa (M. Schneider) 88’

Discipline:
STL - Volmar (Yellow Card) 11’
STL - Pompeu (Yellow Card) 38’
STL - Schneider (Yellow Card) 43’
CHI - Casas Jr. (Yellow Card) 45’

Chicago Fire FC II: GK Mišković; D Ostrem, D Ritaccio ©, D Baumgartner, D Baumgartner; M A. Rodriguez, M Casas Jr. (Nevarez, 87’), M Hernandez (L. Bezerra, 63’); F M. Rodríguez, F V. Bezerra (Viera, 77’), F Monis

Subs not used: GK Katsimpalis

St. Louis CITY2: GK McGrane; D Awuah, D Volmar (Maher, 72’), D Hiebert, D Watts (Di Rosa, 78’); M Pompeu, M Schneider, M Palazzolo, M Rivas (Heard, 72’), M Gibbs (Perez, 65’); F Dolling (D. Armstrong, 65’)

Subs not used: GK Creek; D Yaro; M Wan Kamal, M Dias

Stats Summary:
CHI / STL
Shots: 5 / 15
Shots on Goal: 1 / 7
Passing Accuracy: 78.5% / 68.5%
Saves: 2 / 2
Corners: 7 / 14
Fouls: 4 / 8
Offsides: 1 / 5
Possession: 65.1% / 34.9%

Referee: Nickrod Fateh

Assistant Referee 1: Ben Rigel

Assistant Referee 2: Eric del Rosario

Fourth official: Nabil Bensalah

Chicago Fire FC II Head Coach Ludovic Taillandier

On the team adapting from game to game and the resilience of the players...

"Each game is a new journey with a new roster. We know that, I mean that's our context, that's a reserve team, that cannot be an excuse. That's what we just told the players in the locker room, we have to be strong enough to look at ourselves in the mirror, us you know all together and to be to be ready to accept that we were not good enough, to make it simple. We were not good enough at this game. We need to work more, harder. And again, to have this ambition to improve, each of us, improve ourselves on a daily basis and that's the way to go to the next game. Now yes, of course we adjust to changes of the roster, we had a U-17 player at the end of the game, we have the first team guys, we have a puzzle of players but that's, again, that's what a reserve team should be. There is no doubt about that. And now each player has to do more because today was definitely a good learning experience, but also a good assessment that at the moment, for these games, we are not good enough, individually and collectively. We need to work."

On how the team will turn the page before the next game...

"The fact that we don't always have the same roster helps turning pages because it's always a new journey, like I said. We go from Toronto, feeling like we are potentially one of the best teams in the league and we go to the next game, it feels good in the first half against Columbus then we get scored on a lot. But in general, what's coming again and again is that we concede too many goals. And that's something to address. But again, it's never an easy solution. Should we defend lower, higher. The sure thing is that we need to work on being more compact. That's definitely something that we'll have in mind going to the next game, because that's what makes the difference there also. On top of pretty much them being better than us, they were also more compact on the field, closer to each other and that's something we need to work on also."

On how the players stay motivated...

"The players are motivated. They have a lot of reasons to be motivated. They are preparing an individual career. That's why it's sometimes a little difficult, also, to see this reserve team as a team with a chemistry, with players always playing  together. That's not exactly what it is. Then we need to make sure that all the players are feeding the collective idea, but in general they also have individual challenges to reach and then they're focusing on getting better. That will be the main message, get better, work harder."