Chicago Fire 1-0 D.C. United: Making due
Photo via @ChicagoFire on Twitter

The Chicago Fire’s winless run came to an end on Saturday night as they beat D.C. United 1-0 at Soldier Field.

Far from the best representation of the beautiful game, both sides had chances, but neither could convert. That was until the 78th minute, when Kacper Przybyłko’s cross was flicked-on by Fabian Herbers into the back of the net.

It wasn’t a convincing win for Chicago, but they will not care about that in the slightest as they were the ones who ended the night with all three points.

Story of the match

Chicago carved out a chance in the opening moments, as Boris Sekulić broke free down the right wing before hitting a cross into the middle. It just flew over a teammates head, though, so nothing came of it.

D.C. had an opportunity of their own about 10 minutes later when a set-piece was whipped beautifully into the area. The ball picked out Steve Birnbaum, but he fluffed his lines, heading an attempt well over the bar. 

The game was an open one early on, so there were even more highlights to come. Brian Gutiérrez did very well to dribble into the box with the ball and get a solid shot off, but his effort was hit a bit too close to the goalkeeper, so the save was made. 

The Fire came close again minutes later. Chris Mueller was the man involved this time, cutting in from the left side before curling a cross towards the backpost. He didn’t hit it where he wanted to, but that was almost to his favor as it started sailing for goal. However, he was ultimately denied by the woodwork before the rebound was cleared away.

They kept pushing forward, creating another chance after some good movement. Gutiérrez was played into space, but once again he hit his shot at the goalkeeper, so he was denied a second time. The worst thing was, he really should have passed the ball instead, as Mueller was open on the other side of the field.

Things died off for a bit, and the contest didn’t really kick back into gear until the hour mark. That’s when D.C. started to take control, although they couldn’t do anything with the openings they had.

They really should have taken the lead a little bit later on. Ola Kamara picked out Taxiarchis Fountas with a lovely cross, but the Greek attacker skied his header over the bar despite being just a few yards out.

In a surprise turn of events, it would be Chicago who jumped in front. Kacper Przybyłko got the ball out wide before cutting in and dribbling a bit. He decided to dink a cross into the area, and it ended up going right to Fabian Herbers in front of him, who flicked a header towards goal. His instinctive effort was a perfect one, as the ball flew towards the bottom corner and in despite the goalkeeper's best efforts.

Even though D.C. had time to find an equalizer, they were unable to carve out any more opportunities. The Fire held on to the clean sheet as a result, ultimately securing three potentially important points.

Takeaways

This very much looked like a game between two bad teams. It was too open, and there was no sign of a midfield from either outfit. The touches weren’t great, and the decision making was more of the same. There were even a number of fouls throughout. All in all, it was 90 minutes of ugly.

Despite not playing well, Chicago were able to take all three points from the contest, which could prove to be crucial. Will they now push on and ride this momentum into the summer months, or was this win just another fluke that sells false dreams to the fanbase? Only time will tell, but we’ll certainly learn more about this team next week.

Man of the match - Chris Mueller

He may not have been involved in the only goal of the game, but Chris Mueller was still the best player out on the pitch.

Without the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri and Jairo Torres, there was a bit of pressure on Mueller to be the focal point of the attack. He took responsibility, and he was his team’s main threat for most of the contest.

Dynamic as usual, he got on the ball time and time again. He then made the right decision when on it, either finding a teammate with a pass or driving forward himself.

Not everything came off, of course, but the American was one of the few bright sparks of a pretty dreadful night. He’s been like that ever since joining the club, and he’s now become a key part of the lineup as a result.

Just imagine what Mueller will be able to do with a healthy Shaqiri and Torres alongside him.

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