ORLANDO, Fla. (Sept. 19, 2020) - Chicago Fire FC (2-7-3, 9 points) fell 4-1 to Orlando City SC (6-2-4, 19 points) in an action-packed and back-and-forth match at Exploria Stadium on Saturday evening.
It was a match where the Fire could have scored multiple goals. The final score certainly didn’t reflect the number of chances had by both teams. Shots were 19-19 and the Fire controlled 54% of the possession.
The first half alone saw the Fire hit the crossbar, the post, have a goal called back by Video Assistant Referee (VAR), and have a penalty saved. The second half had a second goal disallowed by VAR.
The Fire started attacking from the get-go, with Heineken Man of the Match Robert Berić’s deflected shot hitting the crossbar in the 4th minute.
Chicagoland native Chris Mueller opened the scoring for Orlando City SC in the 11th minute, receiving the ball on the right side, cutting inside and getting a weak shot off that was deflected and dribbled in.
Forward Ignacio Aliseda found the woodwork for a second time in the 20th minute. A cross from Berić was mishandled by Orlando goalkeeper Pedro Gallese and bounced out to Aliseda who charged toward goal and after a pinball-like sequence, hit the post.
Nani doubled Orlando’s lead in the 24th minute. Mueller served a ball in from the right side and Orlando’s star player eluded a Fire defender and headed the ball into the back of the net.
Shortly after, the Fire appeared to pull one back when a perfectly-weighted set piece from Álvaro Medrán found Francisco Calvo in the box. The Fire captain headed the ball into the goal, but the play was reviewed by VAR and disallowed due to Elliot Collier being in an offside position earlier in the play.
The Fire continued to attack. As Chicago pushed forward, Orlando defender Ruan was called for a hand ball in the box and referee Nima Saghafi pointed to the spot. Medrán stepped up to take the kick. The Spaniard hit the ball with force, but Gallese was able to react and reach back with his left arm to save the penalty in the 36th minute.
The second half kicked off with Miguel Navarro and Aliseda connecting on the left side and Mueller taking down Navarro in the box. This time Berić stepped up to take the kick, cutting the lead in half in the 48th minute with a calm finish low and to the right.
In the 57th minute, Chicago appeared to level the score. Mauricio Pineda chested down a flicked header off a corner kick and took a shot that was blocked by a defender. The ball fell to Boris Sekulić whose shot found its way through traffic into the back of the net. The goal was, once again, disallowed after a VAR review, in which it was determined that Pineda’s hand had touched the ball.
Orlando took advantage of the calls that went their way and scored two additional goals. Junior Urso scored in the 78th minute and a stoppage-time goal from second-half sub Benji Michel made it 4-1 for the home squad.
Next on the schedule: Chicago Fire FC will return to Soldier Field for back-to-back home games, beginning on Wednesday, Sept. 23 against the Houston Dynamo. The match will begin at 6:30 p.m. CT and will be broadcast live on WGN-TV and ESPN+ and transmitted locally in Spanish on TUDN 1200AM. The pregame show, presented by CIBC, will begin at 6:15 p.m. CT on ESPN+.
- Berić scored for the second straight game. He leads the team with four goals.
- Berić also earned Heineken Man of the Match honors for the second straight game.
- The penalty kick awarded to the Fire in the first half was the first for the team in 2020.
- Fire forward Fabian Herbers missed the match due to yellow card accumulation.
- Chicago Fire FC has teamed up with Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Ronald McDonald House Charities during the month of September to bring awareness to Kick Childhood Cancer. Player jerseys featured a yellow ribbon patch that represents Kick Childhood Cancer.
- ORL - Chris Mueller 11th minute
- ORL - Nani 24th minute
- CHI - Robert Berić 48th minute
- ORL - Junior Urso 78th minute
- ORL - Benji Michel 90+5 minute
Orlando City SC 4:1 Chicago Fire FC
- ORL - Mueller (7) 11’
- ORL - Nani (4) (Mueller 5, Pereyra 4) 24’
- CHI - Berić (4) 48’
- ORL - Urso (2) (Perea 2) 78’
- ORL - Michel (3) (Nani 3) 90+5’
- CHI - Pineda (Caution) 15’
- CHI - Sekulić (Caution) 60’
- ORL - Mendez (Caution) 66’
- CHI - Calvo (Caution) 76’
- CHI - Bronico (Caution) 86’
Chicago Fire FC: GK Shuttleworth, D Sekulić (M Azira 85’), D Pineda (D Omsberg 85’), D Calvo ©, D Navarro, M Mihailović (M Gutiérrez 81’), M Giménez, M Medrán (D Bronico 85’), M Aliseda, M Collier (F Sapong 65’), F Berić
Subs not used: GK Slonina, D Bornstein, D Reynolds II, M Casas Jr.
Orlando City SC: GK Gallese, D Ruan, D Jansson, D Carlos, D Miller (D Smith HT), M Mendez (M Perea 66’), M Mueller (F Michel 75’), M Pereyra (M DeZart 75’), M Urso, F Nani ©, F Dike (F Akindele 66’)
Subs not used: D De John, D Schlegel, GK Rowe, M Robinho
Stats Summary: ORL / CHI
Shots: 19 / 19
Shots on Target: 7 / 3
Saves: 2 / 3
Corners: 5 / 4
Fouls: 11 / 11
Offsides: 1 / 2
Possession: 45.6% / 54.4%
Referee: Nima Saghafi
Assistant Referees: Jason White, Tyler Wyrostek
Fourth Official: Natalie Simon
VAR: Kevin Terry Jr.