CHICAGO (Nov. 8, 2020) - Chicago Fire FC (5-10-8, 23 points) fell 4-3 to New York City FC (12-8-3, 39 points) in an action-packed Decision Day on Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field. With the loss, the Fire were eliminated from qualifying for the 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs.
In a first half that saw six goals scored, New York City struck first when Alexander Callens scored off a corner kick in the 15th minute. Maximiliano Moralez delivered a ball to the edge of the six-yard box that Callens powerfully headed towards goal. Fire goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth was able to get a hand on it, but the ball fell into the net for the Peruvian’s second goal of the season.
Gary Mackay-Steven doubled the lead for NYCFC in the 32nd minute. Valentin Castellanos played a ball in behind the Fire backline to Mackay-Steven, which forced Shuttleworth off his line. The veteran goalkeeper was able to get a hand on the ball and push it wide, but the Scottish midfielder was able to maintain his footing, spin and score on a left-footed shot from a difficult angle.
One minute later, Chicago answered from none other than striker Robert Berić. Midfielder Djordje Mihailović crossed in a ball from the left side to find Berić unmarked in the box. The Slovenian directed a strong header on frame for his team-leading 12th goal of the season. Berić is currently tied for second in the MLS Golden Boot race.
New York made it 3-1 in the 37th minute with a goal from Jesus Medina. A poor clearance from the Fire fell to Keaton Parks. Parks found Moralez who laid it off for Medina. The Designated Player struck a left-footed shot to the left side of the net to regain a two-goal lead.
Fire midfielder Przemysław Frankowski would score back-to-back goals in the 42nd and 43rd minutes. After a long diagonal ball that New York failed to clear, Mihailović made his way to the endline before playing it dangerously into the box. Frankowski took advantage of a melee to tap it home.
The Fire did not waste any time leveling the match. Berić would take on his defender one-on-one and swing in a cross from the left side to Mihailović. The Homegrown Player would mistime the volley but it fell to Frankowski. The Polish international calmly placed a right-footed shot inside the left post to grab a brace.
NYCFC scored the game-winner in the 77th minute off a Fire turnover. An errant pass fell to Castellanos who easily redirected the ball into the net.
- The Fire finished the season with a 5-10-8 record (11th place, Eastern Conference).
- Berić scored his team-leading 12th goal of the season. He is currently tied for second in scoring in MLS with Columbus forward Gyasi Zardes. LAFC’s Diego Rossi leads MLS with 14 goals.
- Frankowski notched his first brace of 2020 and earned Heineken Man of the Match honors. With the two-goal performance, Frankowski became the first player in Club history to score a goal in consecutive minutes. Prior to the start of the 2020 season, only 12 players in MLS history had scored goals in consecutive minutes.
- Rookie defender Mauricio Pineda earned his 23rd start of the season, becoming the first Homegrown player to start every regular season match for the Club in his rookie season.
- Game highlights can be viewed here.
- NYCFC - Callens (2) (Moralez 3) 15’
- NYCFC - Mackay-Steven (2) (Castellanos 3) 32’
- CHI - Berić (12) (Mihailović 6) 33’
- NYCFC - Medina (5) (Moralez 3, Parks 1) 37’
- CHI - Frankowski (2) 42’
- CHI - Frankowski (3) (Mihailović 7) 43’
- NYCFC - Castellanos (6) 77’
Chicago Fire FC 3:4 New York City FC
Chicago Fire FC: GK Shuttleworth, D Sekulić (F Collier 76’), D Bornstein (D Navarro 58’), D Calvo ©, D Pineda (D Terán 88’), M Medrán, M Mihailović, M Giménez, M Frankowski, M Herbers (M Aliseda 58’), F Berić
Subs not used: GK Sparrow, D Bronico, D Omsberg, D Kappelhof, M Gutiérrez
New York City FC: GK Johnson, D Tinnerholm, D Chanot, D Callens (D Ibeagha HT), D Ring ©, D Matarrita (D Thorarinsson 68’), M Moralez, M Mackay-Steven (F Tajouri-Shradi 81’), M Medina (M Rocha 81’), M Parks (D Acevedo 68’), F Castellanos
Subs not used: GK Stuver, D Scally, M Torres, M Haak
Stats Summary: CHI / NYCFC
Shots: 19 / 20
Shots on Target: 7 / 10
Saves: 6 / 4
Corners: 3 / 8
Fouls: 9 / 12
Offsides: 4 / 2
Possession: 46.9% / 53.1%
Referee: Fotis Bazakos
Assistant Referees: Andrew Bigelow, Peter Balciunas
Fourth Official: Timothy Ford
VAR: Jose Carlos Rivero