Chicago Fire win consecutive games for first time in two years but lose Nico Gaitan in the process

By Ernesto Hernandez

The Chicago Fire won back-to-back games for the first time in two years by beating Minnesota United, 2-0, at SeatGeek Stadium. Goals by Nico Gaitan and Aleksandar Katai in the first-half were enough to see out a rather comfortable victory.

But that accomplishment was marred by the injury sustained by Nico Gaitan that forced him off before halftime. At first glance, it appeared to be a hamstring injury as Gaitan reached for the back of his leg after releasing a pass in the 31st minute.

When asked about the Argentine, Fire coach Veljko Paunovic said, “Gaitan has a . . . he pulled his hamstring so we’ll see what’s the final diagnosis. We don’t think it’s bad but he’s going to miss some games.”

It’s an unfortunate incident for Gaitan as he was finally coming into his own with the Fire. He scored the team’s first goal before the injury and was coming out of a goal and two-assist performance in the game prior versus New England.

The Fire looked a completely different team without him in the second half. With Minnesota needing to score, spaces opened up for Chicago but they were lacking that final pass in the final third.

While his injury does put a hamper on things, winning consecutive games for the first time since July 2017 is important for the Fire. Alongside ending that dubious record, the team is finally on a winning streak.

Paunovic’s men have taken advantage of these two home games, coming away with six points and their offense, which was seen as their strength heading into the season, if starting to click more consistently.

Francisco Calvo, facing his former team, put in another good performance and is looking like a good acquisition early on. His presence has allowed Jorge Corrales to be pushed up higher on the pitch with Calvo cleaning up any errors on defense. It’s Calvo’s preferred position as he mentioned when asked about his preference.

This latest victory gives the Fire 16 points on the season and tied for seventh place with the Columbus Crew, but with a game in hand. With no midweek game, they now have plenty of time to prepare for their next game on the road, where they will take on the San Jose Earthquakes at Avaya Stadium.

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