FC Cincinnati fell to the Chicago Fire by a score of 3-2 in a preseason friendly on Wednesday afternoon. Despite the loss, the first eleven played particularly well against a quality MLS opponent that started a strong line up.
FC Cincinnati began with an impressive looking 4-1-4-1 setup that gave the Fire all they could handle for the first 30 minutes of the match. The Orange and Blue were the aggressor for most of that time. A goal by Aodhan Quinn was disallowed in the 11th minute because it was ruled offside, a questionable call by the referees.
A defensive mix-up in the 31st minute allowed Chicago’s Luis Solignac to escape completely unmarked in the box. He thumped a free header into goal from close range, giving Chicago the lead. Koch’s men lost some momentum thereafter and the half ended 1-0.
The Fire made wholesale changes in the second half and introduced several younger players to the match. FC Cincinnati kept their starting eleven intact through 60 minutes. When they did make changes, they replaced almost the entire squad but retained the same 4-1-4-1 formation. The majority of the second half was less entertaining than the first, as the play got more physical and both teams struggled to retain possession.
The Fire doubled their lead in the 70th minute with another headed goal. Michael de Leeuw was the goalscorer this time, and the Fire put further distance between themselves and their second division opponent.
Just when it looked like the game was drawing to a disappointing conclusion, more goals arrived. FC Cincinnati’s new number 9, Djiby Fall, got off the mark in the 88th by beating Chicago’s keeper to a long ball. He skipped a glancing header over the net-minder and into an open net.
The Fire responded immediately with a goal of their own in the 89th. Matej Dekovic sent a low drive past Dallas Jaye from close range in the melee that followed a corner kick.
Kenney Walker put a cherry on top of a respectable performance when he curled a beautiful free kick into goal just before the final whistle. The match ended 3-2 to the Fire, leaving both sides reasonably happy with the result and the run out.
MLS’ Chicago Fire kicked the soccer ball into the net three times. FC Cincinnati kicked the ball into the net only two times. That’s one less time than the Chicago Fire. FC Cincinnati lost. Let’s not overanalyze a preseason friendly. It mostly about the team getting fit and Koch figuring out who his starting 11 will be. It was good to see Djiby get his first goal. It was also good to see Corben Bone back in the lineup after being sick. Kenney’s free kick was a peach.