The Chicago Fire were beaten once again on Wednesday night as they lost 3-0 to D.C. United at Audi Field.
A first half hat-trick from Ola Kamara was ultimately the difference. He scored two penalties early on to give his side a big lead, and then he put the game to bed with a header right before the break.
It was a complete performance from the hosts, and an absolutely woeful one from the Fire.
Story of the match
D.C. took the lead on the night after just eight minutes. Carlos Terán stupidly took down Ola Kamara in the penalty area, and the forward stepped up to coolly convert the resulting spot-kick, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way before passing it into the opposite corner.
Chicago absolutely should have equalized midway through the first half when Miguel Navarro picked out Luka Stojanović with a brilliant low cross. However, even though the midfielder was only a few yards out, he managed to miss the entire goal with his shot.
That miss would haunt them, as the hosts doubled their advantage with ten minutes to go in the half. Unbelievably enough, it came via another penalty kick. This time it was Jhon Espinoza who committed the foul when he (also stupidly) tackled Kevin Paredes in the box, and Kamara eventually slotted home for the second time despite the best efforts of Bobby Shuttleworth.
United then all but sealed the result right before the break. The move started when Paul Arriola took the ball, cut inside, and absolutely unleashed a shot that rattled off of the bar. The ball then fell to Julian Gressel, and his cross was met by Kamara, who headed home from close range to secure a first half hat-trick.
It was nearly four in the 63rd minute. Ramón Ábila broke free on the counter, and even though he was able to dribble past challenges from a defender and the goalkeeper, his shot that followed was blocked.
Ábila then had another chance to grab a goal, as a cross was drilled right to him in the area. It didn’t come towards him at the best height, though, which led to the substitute’s attempted volley missing the mark.
It seemed like a third penalty was about to be called when Robert Berić went to ground in the box after Steve Birnbaum stuck his leg out and made contact. The referee did blow his whistle, but instead of pointing to the spot, he decided to call a dive, awarding D.C. a free-kick in the process. It didn’t look like the right call, but luckily for the official it didn’t matter much anyway.
That proved to be the final highlight of the contest.
It’s hard to understate just how bad Chicago are.
A decent summer run gave some fans hope of a late playoff push, but their recent form has proven that those dreams were quite silly. They’ve lost both of their last two games before they even really got going, and they’ve all but been eliminated from postseason contention as a result.
It’s not even been particularly close. The Fire have come out and immediately shot themselves in the foot in each match, digging themselves a hole that they could not get out of. Their improved play later on in these fixtures isn’t thanks to them either, as it only comes when the opposition lets off of the gas pedal.
All in all, it seems like this season will be yet another incredibly disappointing one for the club. It's nothing less than they deserve, though.
Chicago beat themselves more than D.C. beat them, of course, but it still was a good showing from the hosts.
They made the most of the gifts given to them, and United took a commanding 3-0 lead into the break as a result. They stepped off in the second half, but it was obviously enough to secure the result with ease. The team was clinical going forward and solid defensively, which was a recipe for a sweet home victory.
D.C. might be kicking into gear at the right time, as they’ve picked up seven points from their last three games, with all of those contests coming against Eastern Conference opponents. This has put them in the midst of the playoff picture, and if they can keep up this form until the end of the season, then they might just be a dark horse contender for MLS Cup come December.
Man of the match - Ola Kamara
I promise Ola Kamara isn’t a pen merchant.
The forward was the star of the show on the night, scoring a hat-trick before the end of the first half. The first two came via the penalty spot, to be fair, but his third was well deserved. He reacted quickest to a cross, getting in front of his marker before heading home with composure.
Kamara’s goals in this game put him in the lead in terms of the MLS Golden Boot race, and he was rewarded for his performance when he was subbed off, allowed to rest for the remainder of the contest.
He’s been elite all year, and his play might just be what makes D.C. a threat in the East.