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CHICAGO (July 17, 2022) – Chicago Fire FC II dropped three points at home in a 4-3 loss to Orlando City B on Sunday evening. Victor Bezerra’s hat trick catapulted him to the team’s lead in goals for the season, while Charlie Ostrem added to the team assist lead with his fifth. The Fire fell to eighth place in the Eastern Conference as they head into a bye week before embarking on a three-game road trip.

The Fire started the match applying plenty of pressure on the Orlando backline. But the visitors were able to overcome the high press before countering, forcing the Fire back. Following a counter attack, Orlando was awarded a free kick in the 19th minute that forward Jack Lynn converted for a 1-0 lead. Lynn’s opening goal was his 12th of the campaign, good for third among all of MLS NEXT Pro goal scorers.

But the Fire were not content and soon doubled up their pressure. In the 35th minute, Ryan Quintos won a ball following an Orlando turnover. The defender lofted a perfectly placed ball to Ostrem, who played it back to Bezerra for a one-time finish. The goal broke a tie for the Fire goal lead between Bezerra and Penn, who previously had five apiece.

Just four minutes later, an indirect free kick led to Josh Penn tapping the ball to Bezerra at the edge of the 18-yard box. The Homegrown forward then laced a shot away from Orlando goalkeeper Javier Otero for a brace and his seventh goal of the season. The team continued the hunt for another goal beyond the break, and eventually earned a chance as Sergio Oregel, Jr. crossed a ball into the box in the 49th minute. Bezerra chested the ball down, turned and fired an unstoppable shot to the back of the net for the 3-1 lead. Bezerra’s hat trick is the second of the season for the Fire, following Penn’s three goals in Toronto on May 27.

Down two goals, Orlando made some adjustments on the field, including deploying Favian Loyola into the match in the 59th minute. The midfielder made his mark in the 70th minute after a scramble in the box left him as the last man standing for a goal. The pressure intensified and Loyola once again scored in the 83rd minute via a counter attack, equalizing the match late. 

As the Fire looked to regain their lead, Orlando took advantage and Loyola once again found himself in front of goal on a breakaway. Fire goalkeeper Mihajlo Mišković made a kick save to deny him, but Orlando midfielder Neicer Acosta pounced on a rebound from long distance to seal the scoring in regulation. Despite further forays into the Orlando half, Chicago came away empty-handed after seven minutes of stoppage time.

NEXT GAME: Chicago Fire FC II will have a bye week before beginning a three-game road trip at Rochester NY FC on Saturday, July 30. First kick is scheduled at 6 p.m. CT, and the match will be streamed live on MLSNEXTPro.com.

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

Box Score:

Chicago Fire FC II 3 - 4 Orlando City B

Goals:
ORL - Lynn (12) 18’
CHI - V. Bezerra (6) (Ostrem) 35’
CHI - V. Bezerra (7) (Penn) 39’
CHI - V. Bezerra (8) (Oregel, Jr.) 49’
ORL - Loyola (1) 70’
ORL - Loyola (2) (Lynn 3) 83’
ORL - Acosta Mendez (2)  90’

Discipline:
CHI - Quintos (Yellow Card) 5’
ORL - Freeman (Yellow Card) 40’
CHI - Kidd (Yellow Card) 58’
ORL - Gunera-Calix (Yellow Card) 80’
ORL - Pareja (Yellow Card) 88’

Chicago Fire FC II: GK Mišković; D Ritaccio ©, D Quintos, D Burks (Baumgartner, 61’); M Ostrem, M Oregel, Jr. (Alvarado, 61’), M Kidd, M Fleming III, M A. Reynolds II (Flores, 79’); F Penn, F V. Bezerra (M. Rodríguez, 71’)

Subs not used: GK Girón; M A. Rodriguez, M Kocs-Washburn; F Hernandez, F L. Bezerra

Orlando City B: GK Otero; D Galván, D Williams (Taylor, 50’), D Forth, D Freeman (Pareja, 50’); M Gunera-Calix, M Yan, M DeZart (Granados, 34’), M Acosta Mendez, M Rivera (Loyola, 59’); F Lynn

Subs not used: GK Pereira; D Hackenberg, D Reid-Brown, D Bell; F Subachan

Stats Summary: CHI / ORL

Shots: 25 / 21
Shots on Goal: 12 / 12
Passing Accuracy: 80.7% / 73.7%
Saves: 8 / 9
Corners: 6 / 6
Fouls: 14 / 15
Offsides: 0 / 0
Possession: 53.7% / 46.3%

Referee: Rebecca Pagán
Assistant Referee 1: Jacob LittleAssistant Referee 2: Eric Wood
Fourth Official: Alex Hofstetter

Postgame Quotes

Chicago Fire FC II Head Coach Ludovic Taillandier

On what the team can learn from today’s match heading into a break and three-game road trip…

“Today is a learning experience in the sense that you feel at some point that 3-1, for you, that you control the game. You have many opportunities to finish the job and that's football. If you don't finish the job, at some point you do a little mistake, they come back 3-2 and now their hope is high and now they're just one goal away from potentially tying and then maybe it's going to be more. At 3-1, you know when you have opportunities you don't finish and you unfortunately do some little mistakes at the back that put them back in the game, but you know, that's football. We learn from it, hopefully. But the first 60 minutes, they were like good moments so we need to analyze the video calmly, coldly enough to see the positives and even what we can improve for the next year but yes, they will have a break. I think they deserved it. One week off so they can refresh a little bit mentally and physically.”

On Victor Bezerra’s three-goal performance...

“That's good. I mean, Victor is a good player. He's a talented player that can finish that, you know, good at finishing which is something very important for a nine so we're very happy for him, for his confidence. And for sure, it was a good performance from him tonight.”

On what he will tell his players before the break…

“First, I will tell them that we'll speak about this game later, that they should enjoy the break, time with their family and we'll get back at work in one week with fresh energy to go back to the next games.”

Chicago Fire FC II Forward Victor Bezerra

On what the team can learn from today’s match heading into a break, followed by a three-game road trip…

“Yeah, I think, you know, I think individually a lot of players had great performances and we got to keep those players confident. But overall, you know, it's very disappointing. When we play at home, these sorts of things cannot happen, even away, but especially at home. We're going to take this on the chin, we're going to look at what went wrong and fix it for the next game, because for majority of the game we played very well, we had them against the ropes and so at the end, managed to slip and, you know, it's been kind of a theme throughout the year, to not let that happen. We're going to continue looking to fix these things.

On his hat trick…

“Yeah, I mean, it's always good to get on the score sheet. You know, it's fortunate to get three today and I want to keep that form rolling for the team. It helps the team overall. When you have a striker scoring at a high rate, it’s always gonna help and you know, I gotta keep focusing, make sure I stay consistent there, but also see what I can improve on outside of just scoring to bring others confidence. Overall, it's a great feeling to get three [goals], but you know, the three points are much more important.”

On what it has been like to play this season with his brother Luka Bezerra, who will be soon attending Indiana University…

“Yeah, I mean, it's unique. I've never had the experience before. We've never been able to play together because of the three-year age difference, but getting on the same field as him is super cool. We'll hold that in our hearts forever. And I know he's going to kill it at IU. You know, Bezerra DNA at IU is strong and I expect nothing but the same for him and, and we'll just always remember the time that we spent together on the field.”

Chicago Fire FC II Midfielder Sergio Oregel, Jr.

On what the team needs to do before the three game road trip ahead…

“I think we just need to keep our heads straight. Let this game go and just focus on the next three games. We have a good team, we were winning by two goals. We just have to keep consistency and be able to play the full 90 minutes to get the win.”

On assisting Victor Bezerra’s hat-trick goal…

“We just made eye contact. And I know him, he is an amazing finisher inside the box. So if you give him something nice in there he’ll for sure make it.”