BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (June 28, 2019) – The Chicago Fire Soccer Club (4-7-7, 19 points) fell 3-1 to the New York Red Bulls (8-6-3, 27 points) at Red Bull Arena on Friday night. Forward Nemanja Nikolić scored for the Fire in the second half, tallying his sixth goal of the season.
The Fire opened the match with three strong chances to take the lead within the first 10 minutes. In the fifth minute, midfielder Aleksandar Katai dribbled past his marker and drove a low cross through the box, finding forward CJ Sapong for a close-range attempt that was deflected just past the target.
On the ensuing corner kick, midfielder Nicolás Gaitán found an unmarked Sapong at the back post, but the striker nodded his effort just high of the target.
The Fire continued to look dangerous in the final third when Gaitán clipped the ball over the top to Katai in the sixth minute. Approaching the edge of the 18-yard box, Katai cut inside on his left foot and curled a strike that narrowly missed the target.
Shortly afterward, the Red Bulls took the lead against the run of play when goalkeeper Kenneth Kronholm misplayed a back pass, allowing midfielder Alejandro Romero Gamarra to steal the ball and score into an open goal in the eighth minute.
Continuing to attack New York’s goal, the Fire created its fifth shot of match in the 25th minute when midfielder Dax McCarty connected with Katai’s free kick, whipping his header just over the crossbar.
In the final 15 minutes of the first half, the Men in Red created several opportunities to level the score. In the 32nd minute, midfielder Przemysław Frankowski played a dangerous cross into the 18-yard box to set up a chance for Gaitán. Running onto Frankowski’s cross, Gaitán redirected the ball on target but had it blocked by defender Amro Tarek. On the following play, Frankowski pinged another threatening cross through the six-yard box, just missing a sliding Sapong.
Remaining relentless on the attack, the Fire tested the Red Bulls again in the 40th minute when Gaitán slipped the ball through the right side of the box for Frankowski, who had his shot deflected off the crossbar and the far post by goalkeeper Luis Robles. Two minutes later, Sapong headed the ball down for Gaitán, who volleyed his attempt on target, forcing Robles to make a strong save. Gaitán’s effort marked the Fire’s 11th shot of the first half.
In the second half, the Fire continued its dominant play in the attacking end, producing back-to-back scoring chances in the early stages of the final 45. In the 54th minute, Katai weaved past several defenders and curled a threatening right-footed shot on target, but Robles made a diving save to push the attempt wide. Two minutes later, Sapong received the ball with his back to goal and turned to fire on target, forcing another strong save from Robles.
Despite outshooting the Red Bulls 21-6 in the first 60 minutes, the Fire conceded another goal against the run of play in the 59th minute when forward Brian White converted a cross from midfielder Daniel Royer.
The close chances to score continued for the Fire in the 70th minute when Sapong hit a right-footed shot just past the far corner, as the striker tallied his sixth shot of the match.
The Men in Red eventually found the back of the net when Nikolić scored a rebounded effort in the 81st minute. The goal occurred after Katai fired an effort that rattled off the post and landed in Nikolić’s path for a close range finish (WATCH). Nikolić’s goal marked the Fire’s 26th shot in Friday’s match, the most by the Club in a single game this season. The Men in Red previously took 25 shots against Seattle Sounders FC on March 16.
In the third minute of stoppage time, the Red Bulls scored the game’s final goal when midfielder Daniel Royer slotted defender Kyle Duncan’s cross into the back of the net.
Looking ahead, the Fire face a quick turnaround in league play when the team hosts Atlanta United FC at SeatGeek Stadium on Wednesday, July 3. Scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. CT, the match will be broadcast live on ESPN+ and transmitted locally in Spanish on Univision Radio 93.5 Latino Mix.
Chicago Fire 1:3 New York Red Bulls
NY – Gamarra (3) 8’
NY – White (5) (Royer) 59’
CHI – Nikolić (6) 81’
NY – Royer (4) (Duncan, Wright-Phillips) 90+3’
NY – Rzatkowski (Caution) 28’
NY – Robles (Caution) 30’
NY – Nikolić (Caution) 74’
Chicago Fire: GK Kronholm, D Bronico, D Marcelo, D Schweinsteiger, D Corrales, M Herbers (Gutjahr 75’), M McCarty©, M Frankowski (Nikolić 68’), M Gaitán, M Katai, F Sapong
Subs not used: Ousted, Lillard, Campos, Moreno, Martinez
Shots: 26 Shots on goal: 8 Fouls: 12 Offsides: 2 Corners: 7
New York Red Bulls: GK Robles, D Duncan, D Parker (Nealis 46’), D Tarek, D Lade, M Davis, M Rzatkowski, M Muyl, M Gamarra (Fernandez 78’), M Royer, F White (Wright-Phillips 67’)
Subs not used: Meara, Ivan, Cásseres Jr, Barlow
Shots: 10 Shots on goal: 5 Fouls: 14 Offsides: 4 Corners: 4
Referee: Ted Unkel
Assistant Referees: Brian Dunn, Jeffrey Greeson
Fourth Official: Marcos de Oliveira
VAR: Jorge Gonzalez