ATLANTA (June 1, 2019) – Playing its second away match in four days, the Chicago Fire Soccer Club (4-6-6, 18 points) fell 2-0 to Atlanta United FC (8-5-2, 26 points) at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday evening.
Opening the game on the front foot, the Fire created a strong chance in the 12th minute when midfielder Aleksandar Katai capitalized on an Atlanta turnover on the edge of the 18-yard box and fired a left-footed effort that skipped just wide of the far post (WATCH).
With the game featuring a high tempo from the opening whistle, Atlanta United managed to take the lead on a counterattack – also in the 12th minute – when forward Josef Martínez was slipped into space in the box and converted a close-range attempt.
Despite conceding the early goal, the Fire responded with several goal scoring opportunities in the first half. In the 21st minute, Katai floated a cross to the back post for striker Nemanja Nikolić, whose header from close range was saved by Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan.
Moments later, the Men in Red, who controlled possession in the game 53-47, threatened to score on another chance when midfielder Dax McCarty slipped the ball into the box for forward CJ Sapong. Running onto McCarty’s pass, Sapong got a shot off with his right foot, but Guzan slid off his line to make the save in the 29thminute (WATCH).
With the team continuing to push for an equalizer, Katai earned a dangerous free kick on the left side of the field, just outside of the 18-yard box. On the ensuing set piece, midfielder Nicolás Gaitán whipped a curling free kick to the back post where defender Francisco Calvo’s header nearly equalized in the 36th minute (WATCH).
In the 42nd minute, Atlanta United midfielder Gonzalo Martínez struck a powerful left-footed effort from distance, but Fire goalkeeper Kenneth Kronholm made a confident diving save to push the effort wide (WATCH).
With just two minutes remaining in the first half, Atlanta United extended its lead when Josef Martínez scored on a breakaway to notch his second goal of the game.
As the Fire pushed forward to cut into Atlanta’s lead in the second half, the home side created two solid chances but Kronholm was in position to deny both efforts. Following a stop on Atlanta United midfielder Brek Shea’s shot in the 67th minute, the German goalkeeper came off his line to deny midfielder Julian Gressel from close range in the 71st minute (WATCH). Kronholm finished the match with six saves.
Looking ahead, the Fire’s next match will occur on Tuesday, June 11 when the team travels to face USL Championship side Saint Louis FC in the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at World Wide Technology Soccer Park. Scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. CT, the match against Saint Louis be broadcast live on ESPN+.
Chicago Fire 0:2 Atlanta United FC
ATL –J. Martínez (9) (G. Martínez, Escobar) 12’
ATL –J. Martínez (10) (Pereira) 43’
ATL – Escobar (Caution) 33’
CHI – Corrales (Caution) 59’
CHI – Schweinsteiger (Caution) 77’
Chicago Fire: GK Kronholm, D Kappelhof, D Calvo, D Schweinsteiger, D Corrales (Edwards 64’), M McCarty©, M Mihailović, M Gaitán, M Katai (Herbers 82’), F Nikolić (Frankowski 64’), F Sapong
Subs not used: Ousted, Adams, Marcelo, Bronico
Shots: 10 Shots on goal: 3 Fouls Committed: 14 Fouls Suffered: 10 Offsides: 3 Corners: 2
Atlanta United FC: GK Guzan, D Robinson, D González Pirez, D Escobar, D Parkhurst ©, M Gressel (Larentowicz 72’), M Remedi, M Nagbe, M G. Martínez (Meram 80’), F Pereira (Shea 55’), F J. Martínez
Subs not used: Kann, Carleton, Pogba
Shots: 10 Shots on goal: 8 Fouls Committed: 10 Fouls Suffered: 14 Offsides: 4 Corners: 6
Referee: Nima Saghafi
Assistant Referees: Adam Wienckowski, CJ Morgante
Fourth Official: Fotis Bazakos
VAR: Ricardo Salazar