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D.C. United, Chicago Fire cancel each other out in scoreless draw

A tepid game of very few chances felt unsatisfactory for either side

MLS: D.C. United at Chicago Fire Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

D.C. United and the Chicago Fire fought hard, but a lackluster performance from both sides ended with a 0-0 draw. United failed to capitalize on their possession, while the Fire couldn’t convert on their occasional counter-attacking chances. It was Frederic Brilliant who came to United’s rescue, saving his side with two key first half blocks to keep the hosts off the board.

United took control of possession early on, but Chicago still had more ease creating what chances there were in the game. In the 11th minute, a sly pass from Bastian Schweinsteiger to Przemyslaw Frankowski forced Brilliant to complete a stunning slide tackle inches from the goal to prevent a CJ Sapong shot, saving United. The ball popped loose to Frankowski, who let D.C. off the hook with a shot over the bar.

Later in the half, a free kick for Chicago required Brilliant come to United’s rescue once again. After Hamid saved an initial header, Johan Kappelhof followed up with a strike that was blocked by Brillant on the goal line.

Besides those moments, the first half contained limited action. Both sides used the midfield to slow down their opponents, leading United and Chicago to manage only four shots attempts apiece.

The home side initially held on to their attacking edge in the second half by challenging Hamid seconds after the whistle, but the flame quickly fizzled out. The Fire wanted a penalty kick after the ball struck Brillant’s hand early in the half, but while referee Kevin Stott consulted VAR, he never went to the monitor and gave a corner instead.

In the 58th minute, a foul by Chicago awarded United with a free kick and their first threatening opportunity of the half. Wayne Rooney stepped up, beating the wall to force Kenneth Kronholm into a great save to keep the game scoreless.

The game’s late stages saw the Fire — desperate for points as they sit outside the playoff places — challenge United constantly, coercing the visiting side to take on defensive role, but ultimately there was no breakthrough coming.

United moves up to 3rd place with the draw, though that may not last due to their having played more games than most of the rest of the East. The Black-and-Red’s next match is a big one, as they host the conference-leading Philadelphia Union on August 4.

Box Score

MLS Regular Season (Game 24)
Chicago Fire 0
D.C. United 0

Chicago (4231): Kenneth Kronholm; Johan Kappelhof, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Francisco Calvo, Jonathan Bornstein; Dax McCarty (C), Brandt Bronico; Przemyslaw Frankowski, Nico Gaitan (Diego Campos 76), CJ Sapong; Nemanja Nikolic (Amando Moreno 70)

DCU (3421): Bill Hamid; Donovan Pines, Frederic Brillant, Steven Birnbaum; Leonardo Jara, Russell Canouse (Chris Durkin 64), Junior Moreno, Lucas Rodriguez; Paul Arriola (Joseph Mora 88), Luciano Acosta; Wayne Rooney (C) (Ulises Segura 89)

Chicago - Sapong 54, Kappelhof 58
DCU - Pines 69