BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (March 31, 2023) – Chicago Fire FC II earned a 2-0 win against Toronto FC II on Friday night at SeatGeek Stadium. Despite playing a man down for nearly one hour, the Fire improved to a 2-0 start in MLS NEXT Pro play. A weather delay forced the match to kick off later than scheduled but the entire match was able to be played without any further issues.
Four players made their Chicago Fire II debut on the night, with defender Henrique Gallina getting the start, and defender Eric Leonard and midfielders Jake Fuderer and Harold Osorio entering in the second half. Leonard also registered his first Chicago Fire II goal, getting on the end of a free kick in the 55th minute. Defender Charlie Ostrem also scored his first MLS NEXT Pro goal, and it was also off a set piece in the 59th minute.
Chicago started the first half with high pressure, forcing Toronto goalkeeper Luka Gavran to make three saves. The first came in the ninth minute when forward Omari Glasgow carried the ball into the middle of the box and fired a shot that Gavran just managed to get a glove on.
In the 36th minute, it was Luka Prpa who tested Gavran’s reaction. Gallina won a tightly-contested ball and sent a pass up the left flank for Ostrem, who squared it into the middle of the six-yard box for Prpa. His one-time shot was blocked by an outstretched goalkeeper.
Four minutes later, the Fire went down to 10 men when Gallina received a direct red card for a last-man challenge. The teams went into halftime scoreless, but the Fire came back from the break with renewed motivation.
Ten minutes into the second half, the Fire earned a free kick from nearly 40 yards away from the goal. Prpa sent a ball into the box where an unmarked Leonard headed it into the near post to give the home team a 1-0 advantage.
Two minutes later, Chicago earned another free kick in a dangerous area with Glasgow and Prpa lining up to take the kick. Glasgow sent a well-placed ball toward the goal and Gavran was able to block it but unable to hold on. The rebound fell in front of the goal, where Ostrem had followed the play and calmly hit the ball into the back of the net from the top of the six-yard box.
Chicago will play its second of three consecutive matches at home when it hosts Columbus Crew 2 at 6 p.m. CT on Sunday, April 9 at SeatGeek Stadium.
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Box Score:Chicago Fire FC II 2:0 Toronto FC II
CHI - Gallina (Red Card) 40’
TOR - Rigopoulos (Yellow Card) 57’
TOR - Stojadinovic (Yellow Card) 62’
CHI - Osorio (Yellow Card) 79’
CHI - Kidd (Yellow Card) 85’
Chicago Fire FC II: GK Gal; D Ostrem, D Gallina, D Egan, D Reynolds (Fleming III, 85’); M Oregel, Jr. (Leonard, 45’), M Kidd, M Prpa (Osorio, 60’); F Glasgow, F Hency (Nesci, 74’), F Monis (Fuderer, 60’)
Subs not used: GK Mišković; M A. Rodriguez, M Flores; F Hernandez
Toronto FC II: GK Gavran; D Antonoglou, D Stefanovic (Curic, 45’), D Pearlman, D Pantaleo (Rigopoulos, 45’); M Catavolo (Altobelli, 45’), M Cimermancic, M Stojadinovic (Olguin, 62’); F Walkes (Goulbourne, 79’), F Diaz, F Batiz
Subs not used: GK De Rosario; D Watson; F Faria
Stats Summary: CHI / TORShots: 16 / 8
Shots on Goal: 9 / 0
Passing Accuracy: 79.6% / 82.5%
Saves: 0 / 7
Corners: 6 / 3
Fouls: 14 / 15
Offsides: 1 / 3
Possession: 44.4% / 55.6%
Referee: Nabil Bensalah
Assistant Ref 1: Zach Gaidar
Assistant Ref 2: Eric Burton
4th Official: Alex Beehler