Despite all odds, the Chicago Fire went to Los Angeles and managed to pull off a scoreless tie against the best team in the league. It wasn’t a pretty game as LAFC did pretty much what everyone expected to do and pinned the Fire back throughout the entire game.
The Fire defense bent at times but did not break. Nemanja Nikolic had a key role in by clearing the ball off the line to keep the game scoreless. The entire defensive unit did well in limiting the influence of Carlos Vela because even containing him was going to be a tough task, especially considering the Przemyslaw Frankowski was played out of position and used as the team’s right back.
Statistically, the offensive numbers were overwhelmingly in LAFC’s favor. They had more possession, more shots, shots on goal, and corner kicks. By every measure, they should have won this game. Again, credit to the Fire who learned from their match against the Seattle Sounders -where they got caught out easily- and fixed those mistakes in this match.
In spite of LA’s dominance, the Fire still had a few chances of their own. Nikolic, who saved the team from conceding, missed a goal from point-blank range as he skied the ball over the net after a nifty play on the right by Katai.
It’s Chicago’s third straight scoreless game but getting a point away at LAFC is a positive considering this was their toughest game on their three-game road trip and the one where no one gave them much of a chance at coming away with a positive result.
It’s a draw head coach Veljko Paunovic values yet still knows there is room for improvement.
Speaking after the game, he said, “When you come into the locker room after the game, when you see that you actually feel a little bit mad because you could win the game and you’re not satisfied with what you got. But the point is something at the end of the day that you’re taking away from here.”
The draw means the Fire became the first team to go to the Banc of California Stadium this season and not lose. The team now comes back home for a midweek game against the New England Revolution on Wednesday night before facing Minnesota United on the weekend.