BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (April 12, 2019) – The Chicago Fire Soccer Club scored a late game-tying goal to draw Vancouver Whitecaps FC 1-1 at SeatGeek Stadium on Friday night. With the result, the Fire are unbeaten in its last three matches in league play. Forward Nemanja Nikolić scored the team’s lone goal in the 84th minute of play, finding the back of the net for a second straight match.
Friday’s match against Whitecaps FC featured a plethora of chances for the Fire, which dominated the Canadian side in total shots (23-9), shots on target (6-2) and possession (60-40).
Attacking Vancouver early in the match, the Men in Red created a chance through midfielder Aleksandar Katai who struck a strong effort from distance, forcing goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau, to make a difficult diving save at the near post in the sixth minute.
Six minutes later, after a solid spell of possession, the Fire created another threatening opportunity from distance. With the Fire pinning Whitecaps FC deep inside their own half, defender Bastian Schweinsteiger ventured forward from the center back position and struck driven long range effort, causing Crépeau to bobble his initial save. Nikolić, who was lurking in the penalty area, reacted to the loose ball but Crépeau recovered quickly and forced the striker’s shot wide of the target (WATCH).
Approaching halftime, Katai created a moment of brilliance and nearly gave the Fire a 1-0 lead after taking the team’s seventh shot in the first half. Receiving a deep pass from midfielder Mo Adams on the far right side of the field, Katai ran at defender Ali Adnan and pushed the ball through his legs to cut inside, before pulling the ball back onto his right foot and causing Adnan to lose his footing and fall inside the 18-yard box. To complete the play, Katai turned and clipped a left-footed effort from a difficult angle, creating another nervous moment for Crépeau who had to make a difficult save in the 31st minute (WATCH).
Despite outshooting Vancouver 10-1 in the opening 45, the Fire fell behind eight minutes into the second half when a giveaway from goalkeeper David Ousted allowed forward Yordy Reyna to sneak the ball inside the near post from a tight angle (WATCH).
Following several scoring chances, the Fire would eventually find the equalizer after referee Jair Marrufo utilized Video Review to determine that the ball struck defender Doneil Henry’s arm inside the box, awarding a penalty kick. Nikolić confidently stepped up and blasted the ball into the top left corner, sending Crépeau the wrong way (WATCH). The goal marked Nikolić’s second of the season.
The Fire’s next match will take place at home on Saturday, April 20 against the Colorado Rapids at SeatGeek Stadium. Beginning at 12:00 p.m. CT, the match against the Rapids will be broadcast live on ESPN+ and transmitted locally on Univision Radio WRTO AM 1200.
- Nikolić scored for a second straight game, scoring the game-tying goal with a penalty kick in the 84th minute.
- Nikolić has scored the most goals (four) in Club history against Whitecaps FC.
- Midfielder Nicolás Gaitán made his first MLS start as a member of the Chicago Fire.
- Captain Dax McCarty made his 60th appearance (60th start) for the Fire. Since beginning his professional career in 2006, McCarty has made 335 MLS appearances (305 starts).
- McCarty led the team in touches (120), total passes (102) and chances created (four).
- Midfielder Cristian Martínez made his first home appearance of the 2019 season.
- The Fire are on a three game unbeaten streak.
- Friday’s match marked the 10th meeting between the Fire and Whitecaps FC since the 2011 season.
- With the 1-1 result, the Fire are unbeaten in its last two home games (1-0-1) against Whitecaps FC dating back to July 1, 2017.
Chicago Fire 1:1 Vancouver Whitecaps FC
VAN – Reyna (1) 53’
CHI – Nikolić (2) (Penalty Kick) 84’
CHI – Adams (Caution) 40’
VAN – Crépeau (Caution) 79’
Chicago Fire: GK Ousted, D Kappelhof, D Marcelo, D Schweinsteiger, D Gutjahr, M Katai, M Adams (Mihailović 66’), M McCarty ©, M Gaitán (Martínez 74’), F Sapong, F Nikolić
Subs not used: Sánchez, Campos, Lillard, Bronico, Moreno
Shots: 23 Shots on goal: 6 Fouls Committed: 7 Fouls Suffered: 10 Offsides: 2 Corners: 6
Vancouver Whitecaps FC: GK Crépeau, D Sutter, D Godoy, D Henry, D Adnan, M Erice, M Martins, M Teibert, F Hwang, F Montero (Ardaiz 72’), F Reyna (Venuto 66’)
Subs not used: MacMath, Cornelius, Bangoura, Nerwinski, Giro
Shots: 9 Shots on goal: 2 Fouls Committed: 10 Fouls Suffered: 7 Offsides: 1 Corners: 2
Referee: Jair Marrufo
Assistant Referees: Corey Rockwell, Jose Da Silva
Fourth Official: Ismir Pekmic
VAR: Daniel Radford