CHICAGO (April 24, 2022) – Chicago Fire FC II and Philadelphia Union II earned a 3-3 draw on Sunday evening, but the Fire was awarded an additional point following a 5-4 result in the final shootout. A brace by Chinonso Offor, including a header scored during stoppage time, helped the Fire reach the shootout, and the additional point helped the team reach three points in the standings.
The match started off as a back-and-forth affair, with both teams afforded plenty of scoring chances early on. Philadelphia took the lead in the 12th minute, but the assistant referee determined Chris Donovan was offside, disallowing the goal. Two minutes later, a scramble in the box left the ball in front of Victor Bezerra, but he was tackled from behind and awarded a penalty by the referee. Bezerra stepped up and powered a shot to the lower left corner, out of reach for Union goalkeeper Brooks Thompson. The goal marked Bezerra’s first of the season for Fire II.
Both teams traded open looks and big saves, including a pair of stops by Fire goalkeeper Mihajlo Mišković in the 21st minute. In the 39th, Allan Rodriguez lofted the ball to Charlie Ostrem, who quickly found Offor in space on the left. From the edge of the box, Offor turned and slotted it home past Thompson for the 2-0 Fire lead, his first goal of the season for Fire II.
Shortly after the start of the second half, the referee awarded a penalty to Philadelphia after Chris Donovan was pulled down in the box. Cole Turner converted the kick to cut the Fire’s lead in half in the 51st minute. Only six minutes later, Victor Bezerra was shown a red card, and Philadelphia capitalized on it with a goal headed by Chris Donovan, assisted by Boubacar Diallo. The visitors soon went down to 10 men themselves after Jack Jasinski was shown a red card after a hard tackle on Missael Rodriguez in the 70th, but they soon took a 3-2 lead off Chris Donovan’s second goal of the match in the 72nd minute.
The Fire had several looks in front of goal, including some missed chances by Offor and Matteo Kidd in front of goal in the 85th. As stoppage time began, the Fire earned a corner kick taken by Kidd. His kick found Kendall Burks, heading the ball into the six-yard box, where Offor powered it home for a brace. Offor’s second goal gives him the scoring lead for Fire II early on in the MLS NEXT Pro season.
Offor’s late goal thus gave both teams a draw and a point, but a shootout would determine who would earn an additional point. Both teams were perfect after one kick, but Mišković made a diving save of Jackson Gilman’s shot to give the Fire an advantage in the shootout. Goals by Offor, Alex Monis, Josh Penn and Kidd kept the Fire ahead in the shootout. Ryan Quintos stepped up to take the home side’s fifth and final kick, which he buried to give the Fire an additional point.
NEXT GAME: Chicago Fire FC II return to Bridgeview, Ill. on Sunday, May 8 to face Minnesota United FC II. All MLS NEXT Pro regular season matches will also be streamed live on mlsnextpro.com.
Chicago Fire FC II (5) 3 - 3 (4) Philadelphia Union II
CHI - V. Bezerra (P) (1) 17’
CHI - Offor (1) (Ostrem 1) 37’
PHI - Turner (P) (1) 51’
PHI - Donovan (1) (Diallo) 58’
PHI - Donovan (2) (Nkanji) 72’
CHI - Offor (2) (Burks 1) 90+1’
PHI - Perdomo (Yellow Card) 2’
CHI - M. Rodríguez (Yellow Card) 5’
PHI - LeBlanc (Yellow Card) 16’
PHI - Diallo (Yellow Card) 45+1
CHI - V. Bezerra (Ejection) 56’
PHI - Jasinski (Ejection) 70’
Chicago Fire FC II: GK Mišković; D Ostrem ©, D Quintos, D Burks, D Alvarado; M Kidd, M A. Rodriguez (Monis, 60’), M Fleming III; F M. Rodríguez (Penn, 76’), F V. Bezerra, F Offor
Subs not used: GK Girón; D Baumgartner, D Ritaccio; M Flores, M Glasgow; F Hernandez, F L. Bezerra
Philadelphia Union II: GK Thompson; D Gilman, D Craig, D Nkanji (Villero, 80’), D Westfield (Darboe, 58’); M Jasinski, M Diallo (Riasco, 80’), M Cole, M Perdomo (Abbey, 46’); F Donovan, F Paternina (Stojanovic, 58’)
Subs not used: GK Moore, GK Rick; D Krueger; M Oliver
CHI / PHI
Shots: 16 / 17
Shots on Goal: 7 / 9
Passing Accuracy: 76% / 57.1%
Saves: 6 / 4
Corners: 7 / 7
Fouls: 9 / 16
Offsides: 1 / 2
Possession: 62.4% / 37.6%
Referee: Laura Rodriguez
Assistant Referee 1: Eric del Rosario
Assistant Referee 2: Kaitlyn Trowbridge
Fourth official: Seun Yinka-Kehinde
Chicago Fire FC II Head Coach Ludovic Taillandier
Overall thoughts on the game…
“We have different emotions today. First we thought that we started well. We are 2-0 up, at 2-0 up we were very very focused on trying to score the third one and that was the message at halftime in the locker room with the guys, saying that we start a new game, we want to win the second half like we won the first one. Unfortunately, it didn't happen like this and we lacked a little bit of, I could say, concentration, at the least. Maybe a little bit of responsibility, also, to keep pushing, to not think that we did enough, because obviously two-zero was not enough when they came back. Two-two to three-two for them, then after, yes, I like the end of the game where we really pushed to get the third one and we even pushed to score a fourth one and to win the game. And I love the mindset and the mentality at the end of the game. And like I told the guys, we want to do things step by step, and that's the first time we gained two points in one game and we’ll take it.”
On the upcoming break…
“Yeah, a definitely deserved break, because we are definitely focused on developing the players so they train a lot including sometimes in the afternoons with the ball; some days, two sessions per day sometimes, six sessions a week. It's something that they do on a very consistent basis, that's a lot of work. They will have five days off starting Thursday—Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday off and we'll be starting next Tuesday. And yeah, that's definitely well deserved.”
Chicago Fire FC II Midfielder Alex Monis
On his thoughts on the game, overall…
“Yeah, obviously it was a pretty intense game, back and forth. Got pretty chippy towards the end, but I think the group showed well to dig deep at the end. It came down to the last minute and we did well (in the shootout) to take our shots and Miha (Mišković) came up big in the end with a big save.”
On what the group will do during the upcoming break…
“I think we just got to refocus. Obviously, it hasn't been the best start to the season. Focus on the little details. We'll definitely watch a lot of film. Just, again, focus on the details so we can get some more results in the future.”