CHICAGO (April 22, 2023) – Chicago Fire FC II (2-3-0-0) were shut out 2-0 by Atlanta United 2 on Sunday night at Fifth Third Bank Stadium in Kennesaw, Georgia. A pair of goals by Nick Firmino handed the Fire their third straight loss. Atlanta’s three points helped them leapfrog the Fire for seventh place of the match, pending Sunday’s MLS NEXT Pro action.
Atlanta United 2 (2-2-1-0) started off on the stronger foot, forcing the Fire back on their heels with a high press. The press created multiple looks early on, including a corner kick header saved by Jeff Gal in the fourth minute. In the 10th minute, Luke Brennan intercepted a wayward pass in the box and headed the ball to Nick Firmino. The midfielder turned and found the back of the net for his fourth goal of the season and third in two consecutive matches.
The visitors answered back with some pressure of their own, but Atlanta held on throughout much of the first half. Omari Glasgow’s pace unnerved the Atlanta defense late in the half, forcing several corner kicks and shots on goal for the Fire, but ATL UTD 2 held on to the lead going into the break.
Chicago flipped the script coming out of the locker room, pushing Atlanta into their own half. In the 50th minute, Harold Osorio muscled a shot toward the upper 90 that forced a shuffling save from Vicente Reyes. Osorio almost struck again just eight minutes later, and Luka Prpa had a look himself in the 60th minute. But the Chilean goalkeeper held on despite facing 11 shots in the second half, including four on target.
The Fire’s heavy possession created several counter attacks for Atlanta, including one in the 84th minute that led to a corner kick. Erik López lofted a perfectly placed ball into the box that Firmino finished cleanly for a brace, his second in as many matches. Atlanta gained some confidence from his second goal and soon generated more opportunities, but the Fire kept them off bay to finish the match.
The Fire return to SeatGeek Stadium next Sunday, April 30 to play New York Red Bulls II for the first time in MLS NEXT Pro action.
Box Score:Chicago Fire FC II 0:2 Atlanta United 2
CHI - Ostrem (Yellow Card) 20’
ATL - Fortune (Yellow Card) 42’
ATL - Brennan (Yellow Card) 45+1’
ATL - Centeno (Yellow Card) 48’
CHI - Glasgow (Yellow Card) 72’
ATL - Firmino (Yellow Card) 76’
Chicago Fire FC II: GK Gal ©; D Reynolds, D Leonard, D Burks (Fleming III, 46’), D Ostrem; M Casas (Osorio, 46’), M Prpa, M Oregel Jr. (Kidd, 69’); F Hency, F M. Rodríguez (Monis, 46’), F Glasgow (Nesci, 76’)
Subs not used: GK Mišković; M Flores; F Hernandez
Atlanta United 2: GK Reyes; D McFadden, D Morales, D Cobb (Tiente, 62’), D Young; M Twumasi, M Fortune (Carleton, 62’), M Centeno (Mejía, 88’), M Firmino, M Brennan; F López (Sanchez, 90+3’)
Subs not used: GK Guerra; D Orji, D de Gannes; F Tmimi, F Ritarita
Stats Summary: ATL / CHIShots: 14 / 21
Shots on Goal: 6 / 7
Passing Accuracy: 76.2% / 82.4%
Saves: 7 / 4
Corners: 9 / 5
Fouls: 15 / 19
Offsides: 3 / 0
Possession: 42.8% / 57.2%
Referee: Austin Saini
Assistant Ref 1: Rachel Smith
Assistant Ref 2: Jonathan Smith
4th Official: Kyle Johnston