The home side made a dream start to the contest, scoring twice in the opening six minutes courtesy of goals from José Mauri and Johnny Russell. Oddly enough, those would prove to be the only goals of the game, as Kansas City held on despite some quality attempts from Chicago.
It wasn’t particularly close, though, and the better team clearly won on the night.
Story of the match
Kansas City took the lead within five minutes in remarkable fashion. A tame shot from José Mauri was hit right at the goalkeeper, which should have led to an easy save. However, Bobby Shuttleworth made a mess of things, and the ball ended up rolling through him and into the back of the net.
Unbelievably enough, they would double their advantage just moments later. Dániel Sallói broke free down the wing, and even though his initial attempt was saved, the rebound fell right to Johnny Russell, who poked home from close range.
Things finally simmered down, and the rest of the half was quite uneventful. The home side did hit the post at one stage, but that was it really.
It seemed like the start of the second half would be more of the same boring play, but Chicago then nearly pulled one back in spectacular fashion. A cross into the area picked out Luka Stojanović, and he went for a volley. He made great contact on the strike, but the ball ended up rattling off of the crossbar before flying away.
They then hit the bar again when Fabian Herbers’ shot from distance smacked the woodwork.
The Fire continued to put some pressure on Kansas City, but they never really came too close to threatening late on. As a result, the hosts were ultimately able to hold on to the win and the three points with relative ease.
The early error from Bobby Shuttleworth really ended the game before it even got going. Chicago were already underdogs going into this contest, and their tough task became a nearly impossible one when they went down 1-0 after a few minutes. What was especially brutal about the mistake is the fact that the goalkeeper has been one of the team’s best players.
This performance and result could serve as the confidence boost that Kansas City has needed for a while now. Their recent form had been shocking, and it led to them dropping down the Western Conference standings. They were nearing free fall, but this contest should help them turn things around.
The Fire’s playoff chances didn’t die tonight, but they took yet another hit. This game served as a reminder of how bad they are on the road, and considering how many away games they have left this year, it doesn’t seem like they’ll be able to make the late season surge needed to qualify for the postseason.
Man of the match - Johnny Russell
The best of an admittedly average bunch, Johnny Russell put on another solid showing while grabbing a crucial goal in the process.
He was alert early on, pouncing on a rebound to give his side an important 2-0 lead six minutes in. The Scotsman continued to be involved going forward, as he got onto the ball on several occasions. He tried to make something happen with his dribbling ability, and even though it didn’t really come off on the night, he still seemed dangerous.
Russell is going to have to be big for Kansas City if they want to have any legitimate hopes of winning MLS Cup. If he can build upon this performance going into the future, then the team might just have a chance.