As their season winds down, NYCFC ends Chicago Fire FC’s three-game unbeaten streak

Chicago Fire FC

Chicago Fire FC lost to NYCFC 1-0 at Yankee Stadium on October 27th.

NEW YORK – With their playoff hopes officially over a few weeks ago, Chicago Fire FC has taken their final matches of the 2021 MLS season to evaluate who might return next season. It will be one of change with a lot of turnover on the roster coming with a new full time manager in a few months.

But as the season comes to an end and that process continues, the club has found some success, going unbeaten in their last three matches before Wednesday. That included two-straight wins, including a 1-0 triumph in the home finale against Real Salt Lake, a team still fighting for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

That momentum stopped on Wednesday as they started their final two-game road trip against New York City FC at Yankee Stadium, as the club’s result was done in by a penalty kick.

After a foul on Federico Navarro near the penalty area in the 51st minute, Valentín Castellanos put the ensuing penalty pick past Gabriel Slonina for the game’s only goal in a 1-0 NYCFC victory that ended the unbeaten streak for the Fire at three.

Luka Stojanovic, who gave the Fire a win on October 20th with a goal in the final seconds of stoppage against FC Cincinnati, had a shot to level the game on a header in the 91st minute. But NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson made the save on the play to ensure a clean sheet and a victory.

This was the third game in eight days for the club, and interim manager Frank Klopas believes that along with a big home finale on Saturday could have had an effect on the club.

“We didn’t create enough opportunities. You can tell I think from the emotions from the last game, quick turnaround, I think you can tell that the guys were not as sharp,” said Klopas. “I felt when we needed to in that final third, you needed to be a little bit more dynamic, more explosive. I could tell that the guys were a little bit fatigued from the emotional high from the last game at home; they left everything on the field and I wanted to reward the guys that had put in that great performance.

“But look, I’m extremely proud of the guys. You know, extremely proud of the way they competed. And like I said, not giving up the second goal, you’re always in the game, and we had some opportunities in the end, maybe not crystal clear opportunities because in the final third we weren’t as sharp, but I think we’re making tremendous progress as a group and as a team.”

Klopas now get a chance to work with the club for a bit as they have a long gap between Wednesday’s loss and their season finale at Columbus on November 7th.

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