CHICAGO – It was a dreary, rainy, cold afternoon that was far from ideal for soccer, and then came a few injuries for Chicago Fire FC.

But through all of it, one thing remained constant about the club so far in 2022: The defense was up to the challenge.

Despite playing without captain Rafael Czichos (health and safety protocols) and most of the match without Xherdan Shaqiri (calf tightness), the Fire managed to finish the match in a scoreless draw with FC Dallas on a more wintry day at Soldier Field.

That puts the club’s record at 2-0-3 on the season as they get their fourth clean sheet in five games, leading all of MLS with just one goal allowed so far this season.

For manager Ezra Hendrickson, it was far from perfect, but the club did get the point on a day where it was far from ideal in a number of ways.

, I told them, listen, you know, it wasn’t one of our best games. It wasn’t one of our most fluid games, especially on the ball. I thought it was a little slow tonight. We didn’t move the ball as quickly as we would like to. Our style of play is one that likes to move the ball a lot and get into the front half, and for some reason, we found ourselves going backwards a lot today, which can be dangerous. 

“I told them that it’s a sign of a team that’s gelling together, that’s getting better, when even on your worst night, or a night when you don’t play your best football, you still find a way to get something out of the game and not lose the game, and we were able to do that tonight,” said Hendrickson. “So that’s the positive we’ll take from this, but we could be better than we were today.” 

Opportunities were few and far between for each club as they split possession nearly down the middle and each had one quality shot on goal. Boris Sekulic had a clean look inside the box in the 55th minute but his shot traveled wide of the net, which ended up being the host’s best chance to score.

Goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina got his fourth clean sheet of the season and the eighth of his still-young career in 16 matches. Midfielder Gaston Giménez was awarded Man of the Match for his work in the middle of the field as FC Dallas had few quality scoring opportunities.