CHICAGO (March 26, 2023) – Chicago Fire FC II opened its 2023 MLS NEXT Pro campaign with a 3-1 road win over Inter Miami CF II. Goals by Matteo Kidd and Alex Monis bookended a score by Billy Hency in his professional debut for the Fire, while Edison Azcona got the lone tally for Miami. Chicago comes away from South Florida with three points prior to its home opener Friday at SeatGeek Stadium.
As both teams sought to shake off some rust from the offseason, they traded dangerous chances early on. Miami dominated the first 10 minutes, forcing Fire goalkeeper Jeff Gal to save a point blank shot as early as the third minute. But Chicago soon gained control of the match, generating chances through Missael Rodríguez that were inches away from goals in the 14th and 17th minutes. Rodríguez nearly contributed an assist in the 21st, when he laid a ball off to Victor Bezerra that the Homegrown forward lashed just past the glove of Nick Marsman and beyond the far post.
In the 23rd minute, the Fire’s pressure paid off. Playing the ball out from the back, Miami defender Aimé Mabika rushed a pass to a fellow defender that newcomer Luka Prpa stepped in front of. Prpa immediately found a wide open Kidd in the box, who took one touch before slotting the ball home for the first Fire goal of the 2023 season. This was Kidd’s first goal with Chicago Fire II; the midfielder had three assists in over 1500 minutes in 2022 but hadn’t found the net himself.
The Herons answered with their own series of chances, keeping Gal on his toes. In the 37th minute, they finally broke through when Ben Cremaschi found Azcona following a recovery by Bryan Destin. Azcona found himself behind the defense and quickly beat Gal for the equalizer. Miami had a few more opportunities following the goal, but the Fire defense snuffed them out as the teams went to the locker room for halftime.
Chicago came out of the break eager to get the lead back. Only five minutes into the second half, Hency chested a ball down to Prpa, who immediately played it back to Hency on a give-and-go. The 2023 MLS SuperDraft selection immediately struck for his first professional goal, returning the lead to the Fire.
Following the goal, the Fire slowly chipped away until they won a corner kick in the 80th minute. The ball caromed in the six-yard box and fell right to the feet of Alex Monis, who rifled it home to extend the lead. The goal is the second in consecutive matches for Monis against Miami, who scored the lone tally in a 1-0 home win to close the 2022 MLS regular season.
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Chicago Fire FC II 3:1 Inter Miami CF II
CHI - Kidd (1) (Prpa 1) (WATCH) 23’
MIA - Azcona (1) (Cremaschi 1) (WATCH) 37’
CHI - Hency (1) (Prpa 2) (WATCH) 50’
CHI - Monis (1) (WATCH) 80’
MIA - Convers (Yellow Card) 20’
MIA - Ruiz (Yellow Card) 64’
MIA - Thomas (Yellow Card) 86’
CHI - Ostrem (Yellow Card) 89’
Chicago Fire FC II: GK Gal; D Aceves (Ostrem, 61’), D Burks (Egan, 46’), D Omsberg ©, D Reynolds; M Kidd, M Casas Jr. (Fleming III, 46’), M Prpa; F M. Rodríguez, F V. Bezerra (Hency, 35’), F Monis (Hernandez, 85’)
Subs not used: GK Mišković; D Leonard; M Osorio; F Nesci
Inter Miami CF II: GK Marsman; D Abadia-Reda, D Mabika (Hall, 46’), D Sailor, D Neville (Sessock, 46’); M Cremaschi, M Convers, M Destin, M Azcona (Ruiz, 46’), M LaCava (Thomas, 77’); F Perkovich
Subs not used: GK dos Santos; D Caputo, M Taghvai-Najib, M Sunderland, F Meek
Stats Summary: MIA / CHI
Shots: 9 / 13
Shots on Goal: 3 / 5
Passing Accuracy: 81.1% / 74.5%
Saves: 2 / 2
Corners: 4 / 8
Fouls: 13 / 10
Offsides: 1 / 2
Possession: 61.7% / 38.3%
Referee: Calin Radosav
Assistant Ref 1: Juan Pablo Casas
Assistant Ref 2: Fritz Barberousse
4th Official: Michael O’Reilly