Red Bulls make history in wild 2-1 comeback win at Chicago Fire

Red Bulls Luquinhas dribbling vs Chicago Fire

The Red Bulls have made league history with a wild 2-1 win at the Chicago Fire. They’re now the second team to win its first five road games to start the season, in a game that had everything. Xherdan Shaqiri scored a penalty to give Chicago an early lead. A lengthy weather delay offset everything. Luquinhas assisted Patryk Klimala for the equalizer. Klimala would also score a penalty late in the game to give the Red Bulls three valuable points. Chicago finished the game with nine men.

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Ezra Hendrickson makes a few tweaks to the Chicago team that lost at Minnesota United. Jhon Duran, the 18-year-old leads the line over Kacper Przybylko, who is not fully fit. He is supported by Xherdan Shaqiri, Brian Gutierrez and Nnamdi Offor. Federico Navarro got two yellows last match and is not available, so Mauricio Pineda replaces him and is alongside Gaston Gimenez in midfield. No changes to the backline, the young wonderkid Gabriel Slonina is in goal.

Gerhard Streber names the exact same lineup that won at Orlando City last weekend. Expect subs such as Patryk Klimala and Tom Barlow to make an impact in the second half. New York is looking to become the second team in MLS history to win its first five road games to start the season.

Chicago lineup (4-2-3-1): Gabriel Slonina; Miguel Navarro, (C) Rafael Czichos, Wyatt Omsberg, Boris Sekulic; Mauricio Pineda, Gaston Gimenez; Brian Gutierrez, Xherdan Shaqiri, Nnamdi Offor; Jhon Duran

Fire subs: Chris Brady, Kendall Burks, Jonathan Bornstein, Carlos Teran, Jhon Espinoza, Stanislav Ivanov, Missael Rodriguez, Victor Bezerra, Alex Monis

Red Bulls lineup (3-4-3): Carlos Coronel; Tom Edwards, (C) Aaron Long, Sean Nealis; John Tolkin, Frankie Amaya, Cristian Casseres Jr, Lewis Morgan; Luquinhas, Ashley Fletcher, Omir Fernandez

New York subs: Ryan Meara, Dylan Nealis, Dru Yearwood, Daniel Edelman, Zach Ryan, Tom Barlow, Patryk Klimala

First Half: Shaqiri scores to give Chicago Fire a first half lead

An early chance came Chicago’s way just 90 seconds into the match. Duran got on top of a long ball, shot towards goal but was denied by a nice Coronel save. Chicago was awarded a penalty off a set piece after a shot hit Fletcher in the arm. Shaqiri stepped up and calmly slotted home the opening goal. Soon thereafter, the Red Bulls equalized, or so they thought. VAR ruled that Long was offside in the buildup to Edwards scoring off a set piece. 

Ashley Fletcher nearly equalized, was in a dangerous area when he received the cross from Casseres Jr. His effort just whiffed over the crossbar. And just before the halftime whistle, the game was halted to a weather delay. There had been multiple reports of lighting and rain in the area. Play resumed after a lengthy rain delay. Brief passages of play ensued before the actual halftime whistle came. 

Only five shots apiece for each team, only one on target for the Red Bulls. Chicago had the early momentum going for them but slowly lost its way in the latter stages of the first half. Ashley Fletcher came closest to leveling the scores, and given how much it rained, the pitch will play a major factor in the second half.

Second Half: Klimala scores twice, gives Red Bulls key victory in a wild game

After what was easily the shortest halftime segment in history, the second half resumed. The action was lacking due to stoppages in play, yellow cards and broken passages. Eventually, the game found an equalizer, as the Red Bulls leveled the score. Luquinhas slipped in Barlow, but his effort to nutmeg the keeper was easily denied. The Brazilian drove down the right flank, cut across and squared a ball back across the box that found Klimala. The Polish international swung his foot at it and finally ended his drought to score. Just his second goal of the season, but one that came in the nick of time.

Soon after the goal, Jhon Duran was sent off with a second yellow card after a foul. However, not to be outdone, Czichos would also be sent off for a slide tackle on Luquinhas near the end line. Chicago would be down to nine men, after a wild few minutes. After a lengthy review for a foul near the box, the referee awarded a penalty to the Red Bulls. Klimala stepped up and buried it. His second of the game completes the comeback. 

After five minutes of stoppage time, the Red Bulls make history with a 2-1 win. 

Three Takeaways from Chicago Fire vs New York Red Bulls

The Red Bulls make history. The second team to win its opening five road games. This team has displayed a “everyone versus the world” type of attitude and it shows in their play. They are embracing the “road warriors” mentality and are proving themselves to be a dangerous team.

It rained, and poured all over the Chicago Fire. Wow, what an incredible implosion. This team took the lead and proceeded to not only let their foot off the gas pedal, but lose more than three points. They will be down two key players for their next league game, and are now winless in their last five league games. Chicago lacked attacking quality in the final third, and lost their heads in crucial moments. Ezra Hendrickson needs to find answers, quickly,

This Red Bulls team is different than last year, they’re better. There has been a steady progression with this team over the past 12 months. Players are being integrated slowly, and Gerhard Struber has taken notice. Their style gives opposing teams trouble, and they are now showing the character and mentality to overcome crazy obstacles in a match like this. New York’s only blemish is their home form, but once that gets sorted, who knows what the ceiling is for this young team.
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