ORLANDO, Fla. (Oct. 6, 2019) – In its final game of the 2019 season, the Chicago Fire Soccer Club (10-12-12, 42 points) defeated Orlando City SC (9-15-10, 37 points) 5-2 at Exploria Stadium on Sunday. Midfielder Przemysław Frankowski led all players with a brace in the match, while midfielder Aleksandar Katai and forward CJ Sapong each scored once. The win extended a five-game unbeaten streak (2-0-3) and marked the Fire’s largest road victory of the 2019 MLS campaign.
Orlando took the lead in the fifth minute when forward Benji Michel found forward Tesho Akindele, who converted a shot that went off the post and deflected in off of Fire goalkeeper Kenneth Kronholm.
After controlling nearly 60 percent of the possession for the first 15 minutes, the Fire quickly found their way back into the game when Katai and Sapong forced an own goal in the 17th minute. The goal occurred when Katai received the ball on the right wing and produced two skillful cuts to get by his defender, before driving the ball across the face of the goal. Charging into the six-yard box, Sapong slid to redirect the ball on target, and goalkeeper Brian Rowe’s save deflected off defender Kyle Smith to cause an own goal.
As the Fire continued to push up the field, Orlando found another chance against the run of play when Akindele was set up for a glorious scoring chance. Kronholm, who was named the Fire’s Man of the Match, was quick to respond and came charging off his line to make a beautiful kick save. Kronholm finished the match with eight saves.
In the 30th minute, Chicago came close to taking the lead when midfielder Brandt Bronico forced Rowe to make a spectacular diving save. Controlling a pass from Gaitán in the middle of the field, Bronico pulled the ball back onto his left foot after a nifty change-of-direction move and powered a blistering effort on target that forced the goalkeeper to make a finger-tip save.
After opening the second half with several good scoring opportunities, the Fire went on a run and scored three goals in a six-minute span to take the lead 4-1. In the 61st minute, Katai slid the ball through the left side of the 18-yard box to second-half substitute Fabian Herbers. The German forward craftily played the ball back across the face of the goal to set up a calm tap in for Sapong. The goal marked Sapong’s team-leading 13th goal, earning him the Club’s Golden Boot for the 2019 season.
After creating the team’s first two goals, Katai found the back of the net two minutes later with a left-footed blast to notch his sixth goal of the season. Frankowski then scored a sublime goal to cap off the dominant stretch. In the 67th minute, Bronico played the ball into the 18-yard box to midfielder Dax McCarty, who knocked a one-time flick to Frankowski. After controlling the pass, Frankowski cleverly backheeled the ball into the corner of the net to score his fourth goal of the season.
Seven minutes later, in the 74th minute, Orlando scored its second goal of the match to cut into the Fire’s lead when Michel ran onto midfielder Sacha Klejstan’s through ball, slotting into the back of the net.
With the home side pressing forward, Kronholm was called into action once again in the 85th minute. Michel, finding himself all alone in front of goal, smashed a shot from point blank range but a fearless Kronholm denied the striker, preventing a third goal by Orlando.
One minute later, Frankowski added the Fire’s fifth and final goal of the game. A pass from Fire defender Bastian Schweinsteiger was perfectly flicked on by forward Nemanja Nikolić, hitting Frankowski in stride. The Poland international, who was recently called up by his country and who had dummied the pass to Nikolić, had his initial touch deflected straight up in the air by Rowe. Refusing to give up on the play, Frankowski headed the ball in, his fifth of the season.
Chicago Fire 5:2 Orlando City SC
Scoring Summary: ORL – Akindele (10) (Michel 1, Pereyra 3) 4’ CHI – Smith (Own Goal) 17’ CHI – Sapong (13) (Katai 7, Herbers 1) 61’ CHI – Katai (6) 63’ CHI – Frankowski (4) (McCarty 4) 67’ ORL – Michel (5) (Klejstan 3) 74’ CHI – Frankowski (5) 87’
Misconduct Summary: CHI – Kappelhof (Caution) 40’ ORL – Nani (Caution) 45+1’ CHI – Herbers (Caution) 76’ CHI – Calvo (Caution) 78’ ORL – Pereyra (Caution) 83’
Chicago Fire: GK Kronholm, D Kappelhof, D Schweinsteiger, D Calvo, D Bornstein (Mihailović 66’), M McCarty©, M Bronico, M Frankowski, M Gaitán (Herbers HT), M Katai, F Sapong (Nikolić 70’)
Subs not used: Sánchez, Marcelo, Gutjahr, Azira
Shots: 20 Shots on goal: 9 Fouls: 10 Offsides: 2 Corners: 8 Possession: 52.7%
Orlando City SC: GK Rowe, D Ruan (Mueller 81’), D Smith, D Jansson (O’Neill 70’), D Miller, M Pereyra, M Rosell, M Johnson (Kljestan 55’), F Michel, F Akindele, F Nani
Subs not used: Grinwis, Ascues, Mendez, Dwyer
Shots: 17 Shots on goal: 10 Fouls: 10 Offsides: 2 Corners: 7 Possession: 47.3%
Referee: Pierre-Luc Lauziere Assistant Referees: Oscar Mitchell-Carvalho, Jose da Silva Fourth Official: Chris Penso VAR: Kevin Terry Jr.