It took the hosts some time to get going in the contest, but once they did, they never looked back. A brace from Ignacio Aliseda before the half-time break put Chicago in front, and then Przemysław Frankowski scored to make it 3-0 near the hour mark. That would be all they needed, as the Fire held on with relative ease to secure the win and three potentially vital points.
Story of the match
After an uneventful opening half hour, Chicago opened the scoring through Ignacio Aliseda. A superb run from Álvaro Medrán created space for the Argentine near the edge of the area, and he received the pass with one touch before getting a shot off with his next one. The attempt did take a deflection, but luckily for the hosts the ball ricocheted off of the underside of the bar and into the back of the net.
They nearly doubled their advantage moments before the break. Coming courtesy of a quality counter attack, a chipped through ball from Robert Berić played Przemysław Frankowski through on goal. He could not convert, though, as his shot was saved by Brad Guzan.
The Fire would still somehow grab a crucial second goal in stoppage time, though. The move started when Miguel Navarro flew forward to intercept a pass, getting the ball to Aliseda in a dangerous position. The scorer of the first goal then did the rest, curling a shot into the bottom corner past a helpless Guzan.
The contest was all but over near the hour mark after Chicago scored their third. Some lovely passing led to Frankowski getting in behind the backline once again, but this time, he would make no mistake with the finish, confidently slotting home from close range to effectively secure three points for his side.
The good, the bad, and the ugly
It’s unclear whether or not this game was more about Chicago or more about Atlanta.
The Fire were much better than they usually are. Things just seemed to click going forward, which allowed them to score three in a short span to put the contest to bed. They were also solid defensively, with the three-centre-back system recently put in place bringing balance and a bit of extra safety to the side. As a result, they were deserved winners.
However, it’s important to mention just how bad Atlanta were. They simply never got going on either end of the pitch, which led to a woeful showing from all involved. The Five Stripes looked lost on the attack once again without Josef Martínez, and they’ll need him to return as soon as possible in order to turn things around. It was the same at the back, as poor marking and dumb mistakes ended up costing the team dearly. They’ve now slipped even further away from a playoff spot, which just highlights their recent fall from grace.
Time will ultimately tell how important this game was for both, but at the very least, each side will have things they can take away from the match.
Man of the match - Ignacio Aliseda
Many who live in Chicago know the feeling of waiting for a CTA bus or train for what feels like hours only to have multiple arrive in the span of minutes. Well, that’s kind of what happened to Ignacio Aliseda in this contest.
He scored his second goal for the Fire in what was his 26th appearance for the club, and he then scored his third goal for them only 15 minutes later. The first was a bit fortunate, of course, as the Argentine’s shot took a deflection before going in. The second was all his, though, as his curling shot into the bottom corner left Brad Guzan absolutely helpless.
Chicago will now hope that this performance is just the start for Aliseda. His tenure with the club has been a bit disappointing so far, as injuries have kept him off the field, and he hasn’t done much when on it. However, he has shown glimpses of his potential over the course of the last year and a half, and this match proved what he is capable of when he’s at his best.
Whether or not the 21-year-old can keep the good times rolling remains to be seen, but for now, the Fire have reason to hope for the future.