Home Cooking! Fire scorch FC Cincinnati at Soldier Field


by - Staff Writer -
Medran celebrates after scoring a goal (Mike Dinovo - USA Today Sports)
Medran celebrates after scoring a goal (Mike Dinovo - USA Today Sports)

Home Sweet Home. The Chicago Fire played their first home game of the season and left fans with a lasting impression of what might be happening in the future. Not only that, but it was also a surreal return as the team returned to Soldier Field for the first time in nearly 15 seasons. Whether it was the comfort of playing at home or some tactical changes, the Fire looked like a completely different team using a fast start to pound FC Cincinnati into submission 3-0.

Coming off their 3-0 loss to Columbus last week, the Chicago Fire elected to make some changes to the attacking third despite leading the way in shots against the Crew. Those adjustments appeared to be just what the doctor ordered as the Fire couldn't have asked for a better start. The new tactical formation paid off only two minutes into the game as the normally stout Cincinnati defense was reeling.

Riding a four-game shutout streak, Gaston Gomez controlled the ball in the Cincinnati third of the field before playing the through ball off to Fabian Herbers. He took care of the rest, blasting the shot past Przemyslaw Tyton for the quick 1-0 lead. As if one early goal wasn't enough, the Fire continued the quick-strike offense eight minutes later as they were looking to double their lead.

With Przemyslaw Frankowski controlling the attack, he played it off to Ignacio Aliseda, whose attempt was blocked outside the penalty area. Unable to clear the ball from their end, Cincinnati was still in trouble with Alliseda holding possession. Looking to space the Cincinnati defense, Aliseda played the ball wide to Alvaro Medran, who blasted it from 30 yards out doubling the Fire lead 2-0.

Medran was a man on a mission in this one as he played like a player possessed in the first half. Just six minutes after picking up their second goal, the Fire attack was at it again, with Frankowski finding Medran inside the box for the header. This time Tyton was able to make the save preventing any further damage. Chicago continued to dominate the shots as Francisco Calvo, Miguel Angel Navarro, and Gaston Gimenez all had looks on goal in the next 10 minutes with no luck.

It wasn't until the 43rd minute when the Cincinnati offense cracked the Chicago defense for their first real scoring chance. With Frankie Amaya controlling the pace, he was able to earn a free-kick outside the penalty area. Amaya then found Kendall Watson in the penalty area as his header landed in the arms of Bobby Shuttleworth, and the Fire headed into the locker room up 2-0.

Unlike most of their games this season, the Fire didn't have to make many half time adjustments, but that wasn't going to stop them from keeping the pressure on. After Siem de Jong, Yuya Kubo, and Andrew Gutman got several good looks on the net in the first six minutes; the Fire defense knew they needed to put the clamps on again to prevent further momentum.

That increased pressure allowed for several counter-attacks, including one in the 57th minute in which Gimenez missed the shot wide left. Gimenez continued his offensive barrage in the second half getting another shot toward Tyton, but an excellent save kept the Fire scoreless in the second with the score still 2-0. After a lengthy delay from their last scoring chance, Amaya looked to pull closer in the 66th minute to have his attempt blocked.

That same attempt allowed the Fire to get out and run, which they did a great job of in the first half. With Boris Sekulic taking the ball into the Cincinnati defense's teeth, Aliseda found open space inside the penalty area, taking the pass and putting it home for the 3-0 Fire lead.

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