ORLANDO, Fla. (July 14, 2020) - Chicago Fire FC earned all three points in a 2-1 win in their opening match of the MLS is Back Tournament against defending MLS Cup champions Seattle Sounders FC at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on Tuesday morning. Forward Robert Berić netted his second career MLS goal to give the Fire the lead early in the second half. After the Sounders leveled the score, Homegrown Player Mauricio Pineda scored his first professional goal off a corner kick from midfielder Gastón Giménez to deliver the game-winner. Pineda finished the game with one goal and one assist.
- More Info: MLS Is Back Tournament
After switching to Group B in the MLS is Back Tournament, the Fire now lead the group with three points. The 2-1 victory for the Fire also counts toward the 2020 MLS regular season standings. To view the MLS is Back Tournament standings, click here.
Next on the schedule: Chicago will play its second MLS is Back group stage match against the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday, July 19 at 7:00 p.m. CT (FS1, TUDN, TUDN 1200AM). The Fire’s “Drive-In Matchday, presented by Continental Tire” will be held that night. The event will take place on the Waldron Parking Deck at Soldier Field. Parking lots will open at 5:30 p.m. CT. For more information, click here.
- Forward Robert Berić scored his second goal of the season against Sounders FC on Tuesday. Berić previously scored in a 2-1 loss against Seattle in the season opener at CenturyLink Field on March 1.
- The Fire are now 1-1-0 versus Seattle this season.
- Today’s match marked the Fire’s first competitive game since March 7 when the team tied the New England Revolution 1-1 at Gillette Stadium.
- Defender Francisco Calvo captained the Fire and wore a captain’s armband that represents the Black Lives Matter movement. The armband was designed by Chicago-based artist and former Northwestern student-athlete Dwight White. For more information on the design, click here.
- Today’s result counts towards Group B in the MLS is Back tournament and the 2020 regular season standings. The Fire lead Group B with three points, in front of Seattle and San Jose (both with one point apiece) and Vancouver (who play their first game tomorrow versus San Jose | 8:00 p.m. CT, TUDN/Twitter).
- Midfielder Gastón Giménez made his first start for the Fire in today’s match. Giménez, who was signed by Chicago on Feb. 24, previously came on as a substitute in the team’s 1-1 draw with New England on March 7.
- Forward CJ Sapong made his first appearance in 2020 after missing the first two games of the season due to a chest injury.
- Defender Boris Sekulić made his MLS debut and earned his first start for the Fire. Sekulić was signed by the Club on Feb. 15, joining the Fire days before the league stopped play due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Defender Wyatt Omsberg and midfielder Luka Stojanović made their first appearances for the Fire, entering the game in the second half.
- The Fire led the match in shots (10-7) and shots on target (5-1).
- For their first match in the tournament, Fire players had a MLS Unites patch applied to the back of their jerseys. The patch provided an opportunity for players to write the name of a person they would like to honor directly onto the jersey.
- Defender Andre Reynolds II chose to recognize Laquan McDonald on the back of his jersey. McDonald was tragically shot and killed in 2014 in Chicago. Reynolds was attending high school in Chicago at the time of McDonald’s death.
- Goalkeeper Connor Sparrow highlighted frontline workers for all of their sacrifices to help save lives during the pandemic. Sparrow is a registered nurse and comes from a family of healthcare professionals. His sister, Zoey, is a nurse working at a hospital in St. Louis, and he also has cousins who are frontline workers.
- Wyatt Omsberg chose to spotlight “8:46” to recognize George Floyd and his tragic death. Eight minutes and 46 seconds is the length of time that a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on George Floyd’s neck. Omsberg began his professional career in Minnesota, spending two seasons with Minnesota United FC before joining the Fire on Feb. 11.
𝙅𝙪𝙨𝙩 𝙒𝙖𝙧𝙢𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙐𝙥 🔥 pic.twitter.com/iIGWnSLt1R— Chicago Fire FC (@ChicagoFire) July 14, 2020
CHI – Robert Berić 52nd minute (WATCH): The Fire first found the back of the net in the 52nd minute when Berić scored his second goal in as many games against Sounders FC this season. The striker was able to finish an incredible solo effort after dispossessing defender Xavier Arreaga near the halfway line. Running at full speed, Beric beat defender Yeimar Gomez with a Cruyff cut just outside the 18-yard box and perfectly slotted a left-footed shot past a diving Stefan Frei.
SEA - Handwalla Bwana 77th minute (WATCH): Jordan Morris found Handwalla Bwana making a run towards the near post who found the back of the net with a left-footed shot.
CHI - Mauricio Pineda 84th minute (WATCH): A corner kick by Gastón Giménez curled in off a bounce to the back post that fell to an open Mauricio Pineda. Pineda makes a textbook run to the falling ball and scores on a half-volley to regain the lead for the Fire.
Key attacking plays:
CHI – Robert Berić 10th minute: Forward CJ Sapong floated a cross into the box for forward Robert Berić. Controlling the ball just inside the 18-yard box, Berić turned and fired a shot that went just high of the far corner.
CHI – Álvaro Medrán 42nd minute: After the Fire earned a set piece deep in the final third, midfielder Álvaro Medrán curled a dangerous free kick on target, forcing goalkeeper Stefan Frei to make a difficult save.
CHI – Djordje Mihailović 69th minute: Moments after entering the game, midfielder Djordje Mihailović pounced on a loose ball on the edge of the six-yard box, firing a shot from close range that was blocked by a sliding challenge from defender Nouhou Tolo.
Stops and key defensive plays:
CHI - Kenneth Kronholm 29th minute: Goalkeeper Kenneth Kronholm was called upon to make his first save of the game when he charged off his line to deny Sounders FC forward Raúl Ruidíaz from close range.
Chicago Fire FC 2:1 Seattle Sounders FC
CHI - Berić (2) (Pineda 1) 52’
SEA - Bwana (1) (Morris 1) 77’
CHI - Pineda (1) (Giménez 1) 84’
CHI – Herbers (Caution) 22’
SEA – Hopeau (Caution) 41’
SEA – Gomez (Caution) 60’
SEA – Ruidiaz (Caution) 90’
Chicago Fire FC: GK Kronholm, D Frankowski, D Sekulić, D Pineda, D Calvo © (D Omsberg 75’), D Bornstein (D Navarro HT), M Giménez, M Medrán (M Stojanović 75’), M Herbers (M Mihailović 68’), F Berić (F Collier 90’+1’), F Sapong
Subs not used: GK Sparrow, GK G. Slonina, D N. Slonina, D Reynolds II, M Bronico, M Casas, F Aliseda
Shots: 10 Shots on goal: 5 Fouls: 9 Offsides: 0 Corners: 5 Possession: 39.4%
Seattle Sounders FC: GK Frei, D Leerdam (M A. Roldan 85’), D Gomez (D O’Neill 62’), D Arreaga (D Delem 85’), D Tolo, M Svensson, M Roldan, M Hopeau (M Morris HT), M Lodeiro, M Ibarra (M Bwana 59’), F Ruidiaz
Subs not used: GK Muse, GK Cleveland, M Atencio, M Dobbelaere, M Leyva, F Dhillon
Shots: 7 Shots on goal: 1 Fouls: 12 Offsides: 4 Corners: 1 Possession: 60.6%
Referee: Rosendo Mendoza
Assistant Referees: Kathryn Nesbitt, Jeremy Kieso
Fourth Official: Amando Villareal
VAR: Allen Chapman
AVAR: Cory Richardson