The Starting Lineup
Chicago Fire FC: Chris Brady, Arnaud Souquet, Carlos Terán, Rafael Czichos, Jonathan Dean, Fabian Herbers, Maren Haile-Selassie, Gastón Giménez (Mauricio Pineda), Chris Mueller, Brian Gutiérrez, Kacper Przybylko (Kei Kamara)
Unused Subs: Spencer Richey, Kendall Burks, Wyatt Omsberg, Alex Monis, Missael Rodríguez, Alonso Aceves, Javier Casas Jr.,
Captain: Rafael Czichos
The Formation = 4-2-3-1
DC United: Tyler Miller; Ruan, Steve Birnbaum, Donovan Pines, Jacob Greene, Chris Durkin (Kristian Fletcher), Victor Pálsson, Mateusz Klich, Yamil Asad (Ted Ku-DiPietro), Taxi Fuentas (Hayden Sargis), Christian Benteke
Unused Subs: Alex Bono, Russell Canouse, Pedro Santos, Nigel Robertha, Jackson Hopkins, Luis Zamudio
Captain: Steve Birnbaum
The Formation = 4–4-2
Recap: DC United went to Soldier Field looking to reverse their recent losing streak, and to get some measure of revenge after the Fire won both matches last season, shutting out DC both times. Unfortunately DC was not able to get control of this game, and neither team was able to score, so the match ended in a nil-nil draw.
A healthy Wayne Rooney returned to the touch line, and made a couple of changes to last week’s lineup. The biggest change was the return of Taxi Fuentas, who had subbed on last week, but now was healthy enough to get the start. Other notable changes was Yamil Asad getting his first start in this incarnation of his time with DC United, Donovan Pines in for the injured Derrick Williams, and returning Victor Pálsson came in for Russell Canouse.
The Fire started on the front foot and pressured DC for the first fifteen minutes, yet it was the Black and Red who had the first real opportunity in the game when Mateusz Klich found Christian Benteke with a perfect pass. The DC United Striker controlled the pass with the finesse fans have come to expect. His turn was near perfect, and it looked like he would surely challenge for a goal; however his finish was weak as he ended up toe-poking the shot right at the goalkeeper.
In the second half, the Black and Red kept pushing forward, with Fountas especially growing into the game. First he was taken down in the penalty box, but the referee decided to call him for the foul; it was a complete miss of a call. This seemed to rejuvenate Taxi as he tried to take matters into his own hands. Shortly after he drove forward at the defense with the ball blasting a shot from just beyond the box. He beat Chicago’s keeper, but struck the post.
Later he received a perfect pass from Mateusz Klich who had managed to get goalside on the defense. Unfortunately Taxi rushed the shot, leaned back and sent the shot over the bar.
That flurry of action was a wake-up for the Fire, as they began to regain the initiative. Chicago had a half-chance when a corner found Mueller, but once failed to direct the header on goal. DC weathered a flurry of activity in their final third, as Chicago kept them penned in.
Despite Chicago maintaining possession for 57.9 percent of the match, and completing 70.8 percent of their 394 passes, the Fire really only had great opportunity on a cross to Kei Kamara. His header was on goal, but Tyler Miller made a great reaction save to keep his first clean sheet for DC United..
Words from the Gaffer: “I’m disappointed in VAR because I thought that was a clear penalty…I don’t understand how firstly, it gives a foul against Taxi. And secondly, even more bluntly, I don’t understand how VAR don’t overturn it. It’s disappointing.”
Notes From the Couch:
The word for today’s game was ugly. Both teams were a bit ragged with the ball, and a bit sloppy with their touch.
For the third week in a row, DC United let their opponent have the better start to the match.
DC continued its trend of looking more up for the second half of the game. The team was definitely more aggressive on both sides of the ball, which definitely helped the Black and Red create more shot attempts.
DC United defense finally had a complete game where there were no mental mistakes that led to giving up a goal.
Chicago had an 11-9 advantage in shots, but DC United had 3 on target to just 2 for the Fire.
In the second half Ruan looked like a defender and the stats back it up as he led United with 4 interceptions and 8 possessions won.
Yamil Asad was all but invisible during the match. The game plan doesn’t give him many designed plays, but it was a noticeable difference when Ted KDP came into the game. Asad is a shell of what he used to be .
The referee and VAR missed an obvious foul in the box on Taxi Fountas.
Chris Brady is going to be a heck of a goalie, and most likely represent the United States on the US Men’s team. Bradybecame the second youngest stopper to pick up a shut-out in MLS history, aged 19 years and 29 days. He’s second only to his former teammate Gabriel Slonina.
Player Ratings (FotMob):
Tyler Miller 8.4
Jacob greene 7.5
Steve Birnbaum. 7.1
Donovan Pines 7.3
Chris Durkin 5.9
Mateusz Klich 6.8
Victor Pálsson 6.7
Yamil Asad. 6.1
Taxi Fuentas 7.3
Christian Benteke 6.6
Ted Ku-DiPietro 6.7
Next Match: DC United returns home to host the Columbus Crew on Saturday, April 8, 2023 at 7:30 PM.