CHICAGO – While they’ve had some great success at Soldier Field in 2020, there have been some points that have gotten away on Chicago Fire FC’s home field.
On September 6th, New England’s Teal Bunbury saw his cross float into the corner of the net in the second half to give the Revolution a 2-1 win. Six days later, the Fire had a 2-0 lead going into the final 45 minutes against MLS-leading Columbus Crew SC, but had to settle for a tie after a pair of goals.
Gyasi Zardes brought it to even in the 88th minute, making the tie feel more like a defeat, and that’s how Saturday’s match against Sporting KC was looking into stoppage time.
Luckily, Djordje Mihailovic was there to save the day for Chicago Fire FC.
The midfielder and Chicago Fire FC homegrown player made one of the plays of the season to get a goal on the team’s final push of the contest in the 95th minute to give the home team a 2-2 draw. This came after Sporting KC got what appeared to be the game-winning goal in the 83rd minute from Gadi Kinda.
It’s a point that comes in handy, too, since it keeps the Fire in the tenth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of Atlanta United FC.
“Djordje finishes that goal really, really well. I have to watch it again. I thought he (could have) finished with his left foot, but then he cut again and then said, ‘Oh, what is he doing?’ But at the end of the day, it was beautifully done and yeah, great goal for him,” said head coach Raphael Wicky.
Down by one on the final push for the Fire in stoppage time, Mauricio Pineda sent the ball from midfield toward the goal and a charging Mihailovic. The midfielder was able to get the ball away from Tim Melia, who failed to corral the ball, and was able to move towards the goal.
MIhailovic then was able to keep his footing in the box, dodge defenders, and put the ball in the back of the net to tie the game.
“I saw Mauricio line up just to send it long. You know, in the 94th+ at the end of the game, just got to get the ball into the box and hope something good happens,” said Mihailovic of the play. “And obviously, I was first to the ball, got around them and with the field and it’s a bit bumpy from the football game so I didn’t really want to risk some sort of issue with that so I just had to control the ball and make sure I had it all under control.
“So that’s what I did.”
The goal is the second of the season for Mihailovic and the seventh of his career with the Fire as the team has now gone unbeaten in five-straight games at Soldier Field. It also completes a weird week for the club.
Wednesday’s match against Minnesota United FC was called off just hours before due to a suspected positive COVID-19 test on the host. Still the club was in position to play to even with Sporting KC on Saturday a week-and-a-half after losing on the road to the team.
Near the end of the first half, Robert Beric struck for his eighth goal of the season, as his shot crossed the line before a Sporting KC defender knocked it out of the goal. It remained even till the final ten minutes when both teams traded goals in dramatic fashion in the final 12 minutes of the match.
Luckily for the Fire, Mihailovic was there to deliver just in time for the clubs, as their good fortune continues at Soldier Field.