ORLANDO, FLA. - Chicago Fire FC got its first taste of match action in 2021 on Saturday afternoon, earning a 2-1 win over New York City FC in a preseason friendly held at Orlando’s ChampionsGate Sports Complex.
Head coach Raphael Wicky employed entirely different lineups in each half, and got a goal from both squads as his side came from behind to get the first win of their four-match preseason slate in Florida.
NYCFC got an early lead through a Fire own goal in the second minute that stemmed from a defensive miscue.
The advantage was short-lived, though, as 2020 Fire Golden Boot winner and Team MVP Robert Berić equalized 12 minutes later. After Homegrown midfielder Alex Monis forced NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson to make a save off of his line, Ignacio Aliseda recovered the loose ball inside the 18-yard box and slid it across for Berić to finish into an open net.
Our 2020 Golden Boot winner picking up where he left off 💥 pic.twitter.com/LpOCZsRlgG— Chicago Fire FC (@ChicagoFire) March 13, 2021
After a full squad rotation at halftime and with the score level at one apiece, midfielder Elliot Collier then delivered the lead in the 54th minute.
While making a run into the left side of the NYCFC 18, Collier was played in by Luka Stojanović and uncorked a curling right-footed shot past substitute goalkeeper Luis Barraza. The goal proved to be the match-winner, and the Fire walked away 2-1 winners at the final whistle.
Curl it like Collier 💫 pic.twitter.com/JMuZilH4Lo— Chicago Fire FC (@ChicagoFire) March 13, 2021
The match offered 2021 newcomers Chinonso Offor and Jhon Espinoza their first (unofficial) appearances in a Fire shirt, as both featured in Wicky’s second-half lineup. Fellow 2021 addition Stanislav Ivanov was withheld from today’s match as a precaution after picking up a minor knock in training this week.
The Fire will next take on the Philadelphia Union in a preseason friendly on March 20 at the Joe DiMaggio Sports Complex. The match is scheduled for a 2 p.m. CT kickoff.
Chicago Fire FC Starting XI: Shuttleworth; Sekulić, N. Slonina, Calvo, Reynolds; Casas, Giménez; Frankowski, Aliseda, Monis; Berić
Chicago Fire FC substitutes: G. Slonina; Espinoza, Terán, Omsberg, Bornstein; Herbers, Kappelhof; Gutiérrez, Stojanović, Collier; Offor