SAINT PAUL, Minn. (Nov. 4, 2020) - Chicago Fire FC (5-9-8, 23 points) earned a point on the road in a 2-2 draw against Minnesota United FC (8-5-7, 31 points) on Wednesday night at Allianz Field in Saint Paul. With the tie, Chicago remains above the playoff line and the Club’s playoff fate will come down to Decision Day presented by AT&T, on Sunday, Nov. 8 against New York City FC at Soldier Field. A win on the weekend will secure the Fire a spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
Chicago scored the lone goal of the first half in the 17th minute when midfielder Przemysław Frankowski delivered a pinpoint cross to the head of forward Robert Berić. Defender Francisco Calvo hit a diagonal ball over the top of the Minnesota backline to Frankowski on the right flank. The Polish international took a superb first touch, located his star striker and served up a perfect ball for Berić. It was the Slovenian’s team-leading 11th goal of the season, tying him for second in MLS’ Golden Boot race.
The Fire doubled their lead in the 52nd minute courtesy of Homegrown Mauricio Pineda. In Minnesota’s end, midfielder Fabian Herbers created a turnover pushing the ball towards the endline. It rolled to Álvaro Medrán who sent a dangerous cross into Minnesota’s six-yard box. The ball was cleared by a Loons defender but fell to Pineda who buried his third goal of the season. The former Tar Heel also had a number of defensive stops in the game, earning him Heineken Man of the Match honors.
Minnesota United pulled within one in the 64th minute when substitute Emanuel Reynoso delivered a left-footed free kick into the box that an outstretched José Aja managed to poke inside the far post.
Robin Lod scored the equalizer for Minnesota in the 80th minute. Minnesota defender Romain Métanire, positioned on the right side of the field, sent a cross into the box where Lod let it glance off his head, directing it inside the far post.
In second half stoppage time, Chicago appeared to have scored the game-winner. Medrán swung in a corner kick that was flicked on goal by Boris Sekulić. After an initial save, it fell to the back post where both Pineda and Berić were standing and it pinballed into the net. The goal was disallowed by Video Assistant Referee (VAR) due to Berić being in an offside position and the match would end in a draw.
Fire goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth -- who played two seasons with Minnesota United -- made five saves in the match including key stops in the 14th minute and 38th minute.
Next on the schedule: Chicago Fire FC returns home for Decision Day on Sunday, Nov. 8 against New York City FC. The match will take place at Soldier Field and is scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. CT. It 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 2:15 p.m. CT on ESPN+.
- The Fire remain in a playoff position in the Eastern Conference (10th place, 23 points).
- Berić scored his team-leading 11th goal of the season. He is currently tied for second in scoring in MLS with Columbus’ Gyasi Zardes. LAFC’s Diego Rossi leads MLS with 13 goals.
- Pineda, who earned Heineken Man of the Match honors, netted the third goal of his rookie season.
- Frankowski earned his first assist of the season and 10th of his Fire career.
- Three current Fire players previously played for Minnesota United FC. Defender Francisco Calvo captained the side for two-and-a-half seasons (2017-19), defender Wyatt Omsberg spent two seasons (2018-19) with the Loons, making seven appearances, and goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth made 58 appearances (58 starts) in two seasons (2017-18) with the team.
- Minnesota midfielder Raheem Edwards was a member of the Chicago Fire from 2018-19, tallying two goals and two assists. The Fire traded Edwards to Minnesota on Feb. 11 in exchange for Omsberg.
- Lod joins midfielder Kevin Molino as the top scoring Loon. Both have 7 goals this season.
- Game highlights can be viewed here.
- CHI - Berić (11) (Frankowski 1, Calvo 2) 17’
- CHI - Pineda (3) 52’
- MIN - Aja (1) (Reynoso 5) 64’
- MIN - Lod (7) (Metanire 4) 80’
Minnesota United 2:2 Chicago Fire FC
- CHI - Calvo (Caution) 23’
- MIN - Dibassy (Caution) 41’
- CHI - Aliseda (Caution) 78’
- MIN - Aja (Caution) 90+5’
Chicago Fire FC: GK Shuttleworth, D Sekulić, D Bornstein (D Navarro 86’), D Calvo ©, D Pineda, M Medrán, M Mihailović (M Aliseda 70’), M Giménez, M Frankowski, M Herbers (F Collier 70’), F Berić
Subs not used: GK Sparrow, M Azira, D Terán, D Omsberg, D Kappelhof, M Gutiérrez
Minnesota United: GK St. Clair, D Aja, D Kallman, D Métanire, D Dibassy, M Molino, M Gregus ©, M Finlay (M Reynoso 60’), M Lod, M Hairston (M Musa 85’), F Kamara (F Schoenfeld 60’)
Subs not used: GK Zendejas, GK Emmings, D Billingsley, M Edwards
Stats Summary: MIN / CHI
Shots: 18 / 16
Shots on Target: 7 / 7
Saves: 5 / 5
Corners: 8 / 6
Fouls: 12 / 10
Offsides: 1 / 4
Possession: 48.4% / 51.6%
Referee: Victor Rivas
Assistant Referees: Jason White, Matthew Nelson
Fourth Official: Fotos Bazakos
VAR: Jorge Gonzalez