Chicago were flying early on, and they went into the break up 2-0 thanks to a Kei Kamara brace. An error from Chris Brady brought Minnesota back into the contest, but the Fire were ultimately able to hold on to the win and all three points, even if things looked really shaky at the end.
Story of the match
After an even opening to the contest, the first chance fell to the hosts. A cross found Maren Haile-Selassie in the area, but his header was a woeful one, and it went well over the bar.
Chicago had another dangerous cross a few moments later. Arnaud Souquet hit an excellent ball towards the back post, and Kei Kamara was able to rise highest to win the aerial duel. He couldn’t find the finish, though, with his attempt sailing wide of the target.
They continued to pile on the pressure, and they made the most of their dominant spell soon after. A loose ball fell kindly to Kamara on the right wing, and he cut inside before going for goal. His strike hit off two different defenders, but it still snuck its way through to break the deadlock.
That finally woke up Minnesota, who had their first opportunity at the half-hour mark. Robin Lod’s instinctive volley looked like it was going to loop into the top corner, but Chris Brady reacted quickly and got across to make the highlight-reel save.
The Fire didn’t let them build up any momentum, and instead doubled the advantage before the break. Souquet set him up Kamara again, and this time the latter made the most of the gift, burying a diving header into the bottom corner.
Chicago were all over the opposition to start the second half, and they really should have killed the game off. A superb pass from Haile-Selassie picked out Chris Mueller in loads of space, but he skied his first-time attempt. Brian Gutiérrez then had an opening of his own right after, and even though his effort was much better, it still missed the mark.
They were made to rue those misses as Minnesota pulled one back in the 57th minute. It was a very lucky goal, as Kervin Arriaga blasted a free-kick from distance right down the middle, but Chris Brady somehow bumbled it into the back of his own net. It was a terrible moment for the goalkeeper, and it made the contest a close one again.
It was the Loons who were now pushing bodies forward, but the Fire had the next chance on the break. Gutiérrez laid the ball off to an onrushing Kamara, but his shot towards the near post went just wide.
Minnesota finally carved out an opening, and they came so close to tying things up. A header was acrobatically saved by Brady, and then he managed to get across to deny the rebound as well before the danger was finally cleared away.
That ended up being the final highlight of a pretty entertaining contest.
I did not realize Wil Trapp was 30-years-old. I’m now old enough to have players who I remember as youngsters become MLS veterans. I do not like it.
There was a better turnout at Soldier Field for this contest, but a decent amount of free tickets were potentially given out. Only time will tell if those attendees become paying customers in the future.
At one point Arnaud Souquet absolutely took down a player with an NFL-style tackle, yet he wasn’t booked for it. MLS refs are something esle.
Minnesota’s first half showing was the worst I have seen from a team this season. They simply couldn’t keep the ball, and when they tried to venture forward, they couldn’t create anything. Things weren’t any better at the back, as they were too slow to react to everything that was thrown at them. To sum it up, absolutely horrific.
I did not expect Kei Kamara to be this good. When he was signed I knew he’d be good for a few late goals off the bench, but tonight’s performance proved that he’s certainly got enough in the tank to lead the line on a consistent basis. Who needs a DP forward anyway?
Brian Gutiérrez is class, and he has to stay in the number 10 role going forward.
It’s still too soon to legitimately panic in terms of Chris Brady, but the fact that he’s already had two horrific errors this season is a bit of a concern. If a third happens anytime soon then the coaching staff might have to think about benching him.
Miguel Navarro isn’t good enough. He returned to the starting lineup this weekend, and he looked as shaky as usual. He didn’t contribute much going forward either. How does Jonathan Dean not start ahead of him?
Chicago held on at the end, but the fact that they almost bottled another two-goal lead is a big worry. On another night they probably don’t pick up the win. They need to get much much better at closing out games, whether that’s by scoring a killer goal or being more solid at the back.
Man of the match - Kei Kamara
As mentioned earlier, Kei Kamara is good.
A true striker’s performance, he took his chances early, and that was enough for his side to get the win. His first was a bit lucky since it took two deflections, but his second certainly wasn’t as he picked out the bottom corner with a superb diving header.
His impact went beyond the scoresheet. Kamara brought energy to the frontline, and he helped open up space for himself and his teammates in the final third. It was a wonderful performance, and it showed that he could be the answer to the Fire’s problems up top.