Chicago Fire 1- New York Red Bulls 1
BRIDGEVIEW, IL—In the end, it was a result that helped neither side in their respective quests, though you wouldn’t know it from Fire head coach Veljko Paunovic’s press conference (more on that later). The Fire and New York Red Bulls played to a 1-1 draw at Toyota Park.
The Fire remain third in the East, but are now on a three-match winless streak at home. The Red Bulls remain fifth, four points behind the Fire.
It was the Red Bulls who went ahead after just seven minutes when Sacha Kljestan found a criminally unmarked Bradley Wright-Phillips who had a tap-in for the opening score.
The Fire hit woodwork twice in the first half. Michael de Leeuw hit the crossbar in the 26th minute and David Accam striking a free kick off the post in the 43rd.
The Fire would strike in the 66th minute. Johan Kappelhof sent a long ball into the box that Michael de Leeuw set up nicely for Nemanja Nikolic for his first goal since July 1st and 17th this season. Luis Solignac nearly gave the Fire the lead a minute later, but Luis Robles made the save.
Back to Paunovic, he was very adamant that his team will be grinding results from now until the rest of the way when asked if this draw was a continuation of the team’s struggles and his seemingly visible frustrations in the technical area.
“This is a great point,” said Paunovic. ‘We played against one of the great teams in the league with huge experience, huge resources, great team on the field. They pushed hard and we played hard. That’s what it is and that is what it’s going to take from here on out. Every single game like this we have to play. We have to grind, we have to push, we have to give our best and that’s what the guys did. I’m proud of them and fantastic job from everyone. One point in this game means a lot, it can be decisive for the playoffs.
“[My reactions on the sideline are] the sign that I want to win like no one else in this league. That what it is. I want to win, I want to put the team in the playoffs and I’m going to push like the guys pushed today in every single game from now on. Until the end, that’s the only sign and that’s how were going to play from now on.”
Michael de Leeuw, who will miss next week’s match to yellow card accumulation is hopeful that the team’s recent struggles are behind them.
“Let’s hope so,” said de Leeuw. “I think everybody you saw in the game in Montreal, we were fighting for each other, we were taking points again. That streak is gone, we don’t want to think about that anymore; just keep moving forward, keep doing what we’re doing and the points will come.”
The Fire will be home to DC United next Saturday at 7:30pm on CSN Plus.
NY-Bradley Wright-Phillips (Kljestan, Escobar) 7
CHI-Nemanja Nikolic (de Leeuw, Kappelhof) 66
NY-Sal Zizzo (caution, reckless tackle) 31
CHI-Jonathan Campbell (caution, tactical foul) 57
CHI-Arturo Alvarez (caution, dissent) 73
CHI-Michael de Leeuw (caution, reckless tackle) 76
CHICAGO FIRE (4-2-3-1): #28-Matt Lampson; #2-Matt Polster, #4-Johan Kappelhof, #16-Jonathan Campbell, #3-Brandon Vincent; #19-Juninho (#18-Drew Conner 78), #6-Dax McCarty; #8-Michael de Leeuw, #9-Luis Solignac, #11-David Accam (#14-Djordje Mihailovic 88); #23-Nemanja Nikolic
Subs not used: #45-Richard Sanchez, #5-Michael Harrington, #12-Arturo Alvarez, #13-Brandt Bronico, #10-David Arshakyan
NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-2-3-1): #31-Luis Robles; #15-Sal-Zizzo (#10-Muhamed Keita 84), #29-Fidel Escobar, #33-Aaron Long, #5-Connor Lade; #92-Kemar Lawrence, #8-Felipe; #4-Tyler Adams, #19-Alex Muyl (#30-Gonzalo Veron 69), #16-Sacha Kljestan; #99-Bradley Wright-Phillips
Subs not used: #18-Ryan Meara, #62-Michael Murillo, #55-Damien Perrinelle, #22-Dilly Duka, #7-Derrick Etienne
TOTAL SHOTS: CHI 14-5 NY
SHOTS ON GOAL: CHI 4-2 NY
FOULS: CHI 14-14 NY
OFFSIDES: CHI 2-7 NY
CORNER KICKS: CHI 7-5 NY
SAVES: CHI 1-3 NY
Referee: Alan Kelly
Assistant Referees: Matthew Nelson, Eric Weisbrod
Fourth Official: Daniel Radford
Video Assistant Referee: Jon Freeman
Weather: Sunny and 67º
Man of the Match: Michael de Leeuw (CHI)