The away side were the better team, to be fair, and a free-kick from Álvaro Barreal was enough for them to take all three points from the contest. As a result, Cincy jumped Chicago in the league standings, with the Fire now sat in last place in MLS.
Story of the match
The first chance fell to Cincinnati on the counter. A lay off to the top of the penalty area picked out Brenner in space, but his effort was a relatively tame one, which allowed Bobby Shuttleworth to make the save. They then had a few more shots in quick succession, but they were all turned away as well.
They continued to pile on the pressure going forward, and they had their best opportunity of the early stages moments later. Luciano Acosta snuck in behind the backline and went for a cheeky chip over the goalkeeper, but Shuttleworth got a hand up to deny him from close range.
Cincinnati finally broke the deadlock five minutes into the start of the second half, and they did it in some style. A free-kick was hit perfectly by Álvaro Barreal, who managed to curl a shot around the wall and into the back of the net. Shuttleworth nearly made the save on this occasion as well, but he could only manage to redirect the ball off of the post before it eventually went past him.
That seemed to finally wake up Chicago, who nearly equalized close to the hour mark. A corner wasn’t dealt with properly by either team, and a number of shots were somehow blocked by a number of different players. Despite all that, the danger was cleared away.
The hosts absolutely should have grabbed a goal almost right after that chaotic scene, though. Some lovely buildup play set up Robert Berić for an easy tap-in at the back post, but he decided to take a touch for whatever reason. That would cost him, as he gave the goalkeeper enough time to come out and block the ensuing shot.
Cincinnati then somehow managed to mess up an even better chance. Jürgen Locadia broke free on the counter before getting past the goalkeeper, but he couldn’t finish off the move, as he stumbled and hit a weak shot that hit the post before rolling out of play.
The Fire finally had the ball in the back of the opposition net in stoppage time, but the goal would not stand. A header was flicked-on towards goal, and Berić reacted fastest to head it past the goalkeeper from a few yards out. However, he was clearly offside, and a VAR review eventually confirmed that decision.
That would prove to be the last chance Chicago created, as the away side held on to secure the win on the road.
It’s hard to describe just how bad both of these teams are.
Cincinnati made so many mistakes on the night, and it’s unclear how they didn’t concede. They just kept shooting themselves in the foot, whether it be by failing to clear the ball or by misplacing passes at the back. The away side were also incredibly wasteful going forward, and they absolutely should have had more than the one goal they did score.
Chicago, meanwhile, were somehow worse. It took them about an hour to get going, and even when they did start putting pressure on the opposition, they failed to find the back of the net. At one stage, a Fire player blocked a shot that seemed destined to go in, which sums up how this season has been for them.
This game showcased why both of these teams are at the bottom of the league standings. They both stink, and they each need to change things soon if they want to have any chance of saving their respective campaigns. Don't bank on that happening, though.
Man of the match - Álvaro Barreal
The matchwinner on the night, Álvaro Barreal was able to create the one moment of magic that was enough to lead his team to victory.
Stepping up to take a free-kick in a dangerous position, the Argentine made the most of the opportunity given to him. His attempt was a perfect one, as he bent the ball around the wall and into the back of the net despite Shuttleworth’s best efforts.
Barreal didn’t do much else, but he didn’t need to, as his goal was what sealed three huge points for Cincinnati.