Fire finally break through for MLS victory over Orlando City SC
CHICAGO – It’s been a while since fans have enjoyed this feeling – and we mean a while.
On June 30th, the Chicago Fire knocked off New York City FC 3-2 in a match that temporarily put them in the Top Six of the MLS’ Eastern Conference. Since then, it has been a free fall. Eight-straight losses were then followed by a tie as what seem to be a promising year has now become one for pride.
But some time off thanks to the international break, in which the Fire haven’t played an MLS game since August 23rd, appeared to finally do the trick for the team, who finally cracked into the win column after two months of frustration.
The Fire tallied a pair of goals in the first and second half Sunday afternoon at Toyota Park, including two from Nemaja Nikolic, to beat Orlando City SC 4-0 in their most lopsided victory of the season. It snaps a nine-game MLS winless skid that extended through the entire months of July and August, giving the team their seventh win of the season. It’s far to late to help save the team’s playoff hopes as they sit 12 points behind sixth place Montreal, but it’s certainly a bright spot in what’s been a tough second half of the season.
Nikolic got things going in the third minute when he took the feed in front of the net and scored the goal despite a collision in front with the keeper to make it 1-0. Aleksandar Katai got on the board in the 28th minute as he was the benefactor of a solid cross from Djordje Mihailovic that left him with an open side of the net to make it 2-0.
For the first time since his return from a torn ACL, Michael de Leeuw got on the board as he knocked a corner kick into the goal for a 3-0 lead. Nikolic’s second goal of the night in the 70th minute wrapped up the scoring on a win that finally came for a team after being absent for nearly an entire summer.