D.C. United had a frustrating trip to the Windy City. In an end-to-end game with missed chances galore, both sides struggled to find the back of the net. Chicago finally broke through late in the second half to secure all three points and send D.C. away empty-handed.
While the first half was shaky for both D.C. and Chicago, the Fire still put multiple shots on target. Gastón Giménez, Brian Gutierrez, and Wyatt Omsberg put D.C. goalkeeper Rafael Romo to the test, forcing several saves.
Captain Steve Birnbaum looked like he would take advantage of an early set piece, but alas his header was just too high to find the back of the net. Unfortunately, the rest of D.C.’s chances for the match would follow suit – a bit wide or lacking just one small element that would convert the chance to a goal.
After a scoreless first half, the Black-and-Red seemed to tighten up their form, making several adjustments and getting back on the front foot. Despite the changes, D.C. still couldn’t get a shot on target, giving Gabriel Slonina a leisurely evening.
The Black-and-Red had what may have been their best chance of the match in the 71’, as Taxi Fountas got underneath a good ball from Ola Kamara at close range. Although Fountas tried to adjust aim mid-shot, his header went just too high, sailing over the woodwork.
In a critical moment, Fabian Herbers scored from distance, sealing the win for Chicago in the 78’. While the initial shot bounced out of the net, the ball had already crossed the line. Not taking any chances, Jhon Jairo Espinoza made sure to follow through. Five minutes of stoppage time wouldn’t be enough to change the outcome for D.C. Herbers’ goal was the game-winner.
D.C. United and Chicago Fire are now tied at points (14) and occupy the bottom two spots of the Eastern Conference table. D.C. leads due to goal differential.
The Black-and-Red return home to Audi Field next weekend to face Nashville SC at 5 PM ET on June 25.
- Rafael Romo held up well to pressure. With Bill Hamid out of action due to illness, the weight was on Rafael Romo’s shoulders (or gloves) to hold it down between the sticks for the Black-and-Red. Romo was up to the test, making several key saves to keep D.C. out of serious trouble until Herbers’ goal late in the match.
- D.C. is still struggling to finish chances. Despite chance after chance, the Black-and-Red weren’t able to really test Slonina. It is very clear that “work on clinical finishing” is still on the to-do list (along with “set pieces”).
- The Black-and-Red put up a more robust defense than they did against New York Red Bulls back in May. However, one small opening was all Chicago needed to create a winning opportunity.
MLS Regular Season - Game 14
Chicago Fire: 1 (Fabian Herbers 78’)
Chicago Fire (4-2-3-1): Gabriel Slonina, Rafael Czichos, Wyatt Omsberg (Carlos Terán 90’+5’), Jonathan Bornstein, Boris Sekulic, Brian Gutierrez (Jhon Jairo Espinoza 75’), Federico Navarro, Gastón Giménez (Mauricio Pineda 90’+5’), Kacper Przybylko, Christopher Mueller, Stanislav Ivanov (Fabian Herbers 65’)
D.C. United: (5-3-2): Rafael Romo, Steve Birnbaum, Andy Najar (Tony Alfaro 73’), Donovan Pines, Sofiane Djeffal (Michael Estrada 84’), Chris Durkin, Brad Smith (Kimrani Smith 84’), Julian Gressel, Ola Kamara (Nigel Robertha 73’), Drew Skundrich (Russell Canouse 73’), Taxi Fountas
Chicago Fire: Navarro 30’, Herbers 87’
D.C. United: Pines 33’, Najar 72’