The Chicago Fire opened the 2021 season with a 2-2 draw at home against the New England Revolution, extending their run without a win to 12 consecutive matches, tied with Colorado for the most in MLS history. The Fire’s last opening day victory was a 3-1 win over FC Dallas in 2009.
Two players Chicago will count on this year are Slovenian international Robert Beric and proven midfielder Alvaro Medran. Beric has scored 10 goals since resuming the MLS season in August 2020. That puts him tied with Seattle’s Raul Ruidias for the most appearances in the league since the resumption of the season. Medran, the Fire’s number ten forward, led the team with six assists and is becoming an increasingly important part of Chicago’s offense following the transfer of Jorge Mihajlovic to Montreal.
Berich played well today and finished the game with a goal and an assist. He was by far Chicago’s most consistent threat on offense. However, Medran was completely neutralized by New England and could not find space in the midfield. The defenders took him down more than once, and it was clear that Medran’s plan for revolution had to be physical.
Teal Bunbury, Gustavo Buo and Adam Busca all scored 23 goals for the Revolution last season. So the Fire knew that one of the keys to today’s match was to keep them at bay. However, two of the three, Buska and Buo, were successful and combined for two goals on the night. Buszka was particularly outstanding, Chicago had no answer for the 6-foot-6 Polish attacker, who used his size to dominate the air for several sets.
Beric wasted no time in getting behind the goal. In the fifth minute, Boris Sekulic found Beric for an easy run in goal after good combination play by the Chicago midfielder. Four minutes later Luka Stojanovic put the home team on a 2-0 lead after a nice pass from none other than Beric. New England seemed completely disoriented in their backline, while the Fire were relentless on offense.
But the guests took the lead in the 14th minute. Carls fired a shot in the 29th minute when he found Gil Busca, who pushed a header past Chicago goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth. In the 27th. New England equalized in the 57th minute when Tajon Buchanan got past defender Jonathan Bornstein on the right wing and sent a cross into the box that was parried by the aforementioned Buo.
The hosts were on a roll in the first half and were left completely frustrated when they heard each other clash on the pitch after losing their two goal lead. From that point on, New England took control of the game and would do so in the 37th minute. They almost took the lead in the 41st minute had Shuttleworth not made an excellent save, and in the 41st minute. In the 29th minute, Gil shot just wide of the post.
In the second half, The Fire put Gil in the back, determined to stop the New England playmaker from dictating the tempo. Minutes into the second half, Gil was sent off the field after a gross foul by Stojanovic and was treated by the Revolution coaching staff. Their plan worked, as Chicago dominated the second half, gaining ground and forcing New England to sit back.
Unfortunately, the Fire could do nothing but get a few half chances. The visitors seemed to be playing for a draw. In the 87th minute. However, New England took the lead in the 57th minute when substitute Edward Kizza got a free header in the six-yard area but hit the crossbar.
The Fire had one last chance with 60 seconds left when Przemyslaw Frankowski took a free kick from outside the box, but Gaston Gimenez couldn’t convert it, ending the game at 2-2.
The man of the match was Beric, who scored the Flames’ first goal and assisted on the second. He was Chicago’s only real offensive threat and was successful tonight despite the lack of support on offense.
Next Saturday, the 24th. In April, the Fire will play Atlanta United. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast locally on WGN-TV, in addition to the ESPN+ stream for viewers outside the market. As always, you can check out the latest content, articles and more on Second City On Tap.
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