The first half was a whole lot of nothing, and even though the second half was more eventful, with two goals called back, the deadlock was never broken.
Is it a bad result for either side? No, not at all. Was it a fun night for the neutrals watching at home and at the stadium? No, not at all.
Story of the match
I was watching this game while visiting family, and early on during the game my little cousin hit my aunt in the head with a bottle of Mini M&M’s, which was funny.
That proved to be the only highlight of the opening stages, but Chicago finally had an opportunity of sorts near the half hour mark. A floated free-kick into the box was headed back across the area by Wyatt Omsberg to Rafael Czichos, who then tried to head the ball towards goal. He didn’t get a clean connection on it, though, and a whiffed clearance by a Los Angeles defender was enough to deal with the danger.
The rest of the first half went by with little incident, which is standard for a Fire game at this point.
It looked like things had changed in the first few minutes of the second half when Javier “Chicharito” Hernández slipped in behind and rifled home past Gabriel Slonina. However, the sideline official’s flag would go up to call the goal back for offside.
Los Angeles found the back of the net once again minutes later, but this goal wouldn’t stand either. Douglas Costa broke free beyond the backline, took a few touches to settle himself, and then converted from just a few yards out. The sideline official wouldn’t deny him, but VAR would, and the strike would be wiped off the board following a review.
The away side kept pushing forward, and they created another good chance. A cross into the middle picked out Chicharito, but he made a mess of the finish, skying a volley well over the bar.
Chicago really should have taken the lead themselves against the run of play. Kacper Przybyłko beat the offside trap, which put him clear through on goal with a teammate beside him. He bottled it, though, as his attempt at rounding the goalkeeper was stuffed by Jonathan Bond.
Both teams had a bit of the ball for the remainder of the contest, but neither did much with it, so the scores stayed at 0-0 until the final whistle.
Is it a little worrying that it took a marquee opposing player to get people to go to Soldier Field? Of course. That’s just the reality of the situation for Chicago at the moment. If they keep playing the way they have been as of late, that’s not going to change.
Not having Xherdan Shaqiri available was a real shame. This was a big game, and he’s a player that should be playing in these sorts of games. Life is pain, though.
Football Twitter would have a field day with this Fire team if they played in the UK.
I know Chicago is getting clean sheets and results, but they really need to start pushing more bodies forward. They’re an absolute bore to watch, and they’re being shut out time and time again, especially at home. Head coach Ezra Hendrickson has fixed the defense, but now he has to fix the attack. Hopefully the return of Shaqiri will help things, but they weren’t great with him either.
Man of the match - Jonathan Bond
He made the biggest play of the game, so Jonathan Bond will get the nod here.
The goalkeeper had a pretty quiet day at the office. Chicago didn’t create much, so he was rarely ever tested.
However, the one time Bond had to step up to the plate, he did. Faced with a 1v1 against Kacper Przybyłko, he read the situation perfectly, staying big before pouncing on the forward’s attempt to dribble by him.
It was a goal saving moment, and it helped his team secure a good point on the road.