CINCINNATI, Ohio (Sept. 21, 2019) – The Chicago Fire Soccer Club (9-12-11, 38 points) battled FC Cincinnati (6-22-4, 22 points) to a 0-0 draw at Nippert Stadium on Saturday night. The result extends a three game unbeaten streak, as well as a second consecutive clean sheet by goalkeeper Kenneth Kronholm. With a point gained from the draw, the Fire currently sit within three points of a playoff position with two games remaining in the regular season.
Chicago created an early chance to score from a set piece in the ninth minute. Receiving a short corner from midfielder Brandt Bronico, midfielder Nicolás Gaitán whipped a dangerous cross to the near post for defender Francisco Calvo, who headed the ball just over the target.
Two minutes before halftime, the Fire, who outshot FCC 16-10, came dangerously close to breaking through and finding the opening goal. Fire captain Dax McCarty started the play with a long ball over the top for midfielder Przemysław Frankowski, who used his pace to run onto the pass. The Polish international, who played several dangerous crosses in the first half, sent another threatening ball into the 18-yard box for forward Nemanja Nikolić, whose first-time shot was knocked wide by a last-second challenge from defender Mathieu Deplagne.
Chicago dominated the first half with six shots (to FCC's three) and six corner kicks (to FCC's zero).
The Fire, who controlled possession 54-46 in the match, created another good scoring opportunity in the 60th minute, as the Men in Red continued to put the home side under pressure. After combining with defender Bastian Schweinsteiger and Bronico, defender Johan Kappelhof cut the ball back inside the 18-yard box to Nikolić, who knocked his final effort just high of the target.
FC Cincinnati were forced to make 36 clearances in the match.
Two minutes after entering the game, midfielder Aleksandar Katai narrowly missed the target with the Fire’s 11th shot of the match. After combining with Nikolić, Katai curled a first-time shot that went just wide of the far post in the 68th minute.
With the Fire pushing for the go-ahead goal late in the match, FC Cincinnati found a chance against the run of play and Kronholm was forced to make his first save of the game in the 79th minute. The goalkeeper dove to his right to push forward Roland Lamah’s shot wide of the target to keep the score level. Kronholm, who finished the match with three total saves, recorded his fifth clean sheet of the season.
After pinning Cincinnati deep in their own half, the Fire created another solid opportunity in the 91st minute. Another cross into the box from Chicago forced a poor clearance from the Cincinnati defense. Reacting to the clearance, Katai pounced on the ball on the left side of the 18-yard box and fired a shot that went high of the target. Katai’s shot proved to be the Fire’s 16th and final attempt of the match, as the referee blew the final whistle in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
Looking ahead, the Fire will return to SeatGeek Stadium to host Toronto FC on Sunday, Sept. 29. Scheduled to begin at 4:00 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 0:0 FC Cincinnati
FCC – Waston (Caution) 20’
CHI – Sapong (Caution) 25’
CHI – McCarty (Caution) 30’
Chicago Fire: GK Kronholm, D Kappelhof, D Schweinsteiger, D Calvo, D Bornstein, M McCarty©, M Bronico (Herbers 77’), M Frankowski, M Gaitán (Mihailović 58’), M Sapong (Katai 66’), F Nikolić
Subs not used: Sánchez, Marcelo, Gutjahr, Azira
Shots: 16 Shots on goal: 1 Fouls: 12 Offsides: 3 Corners: 9
FC Cincinnati: GK Tyton, D Deplagne, D van der Werff, D Waston©, D Garza, M Amaya, M McCabe, M Bertone (Gutman 90’), F Ledesma, F Dally (Gyau 46’), F Etienne (Lamah 64’)
Subs not used: Hague, Hagglund, Ulloa
Shots: 10 Shots on goal: 3 Fouls: 13 Offsides: 0 Corners: 2
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Assistant Referees: Apolinar Mariscal, Ian McKay
Fourth Official: Fotis Bazakos
VAR: Kevin Terry Jr.