ORLANDO – They had been able to get through the absence of a few key players in the match before against FC Dallas at Soldier Field.

Rafael Czichos was out due to MLS health and safety protocols while Xherdan Shaqiri left early in the first half with calf tightness. Still, Chicago Fire FC was able to battle it out with their opponents and salvage a scoreless draw to stay undefeated through five matches.

They wouldn’t be so lucky with Czichos and Shaqiri out along with a few other contributors on their trip to Florida on Saturday.

With midfielder Fabian Herbers and defender Miguel Navarro also out of the lineup then Brian Gutierrez getting sent off after two yellow cards, the Fire fell to Orlando City FC 1-0 as they suffered their first loss of the season.

It snapped a five-game unbeaten stretch to begin the 2022 campaign, which had been their longest since the 2009 season. Ercan Kara’s goal in the 59th minute would prove to be the one that sent the Fire to defeat for the first time this season.

“I told the guys, listen, that was a good fight, but the circumstances being, it was difficult. But they gave it their all and so I’m proud of that,” said manager Ezra Hendrickson of the result. “But a loss is a loss. We weren’t going to go 34 games undefeated, you know, but we are happy with the effort the boys put in regardless.”

Even down a man, the Fire were able to do what they could to limit the damage on the defensive end, with Kara’s score being the only one of the game. Generating offense was a problem with a number of contributors out as the club managed just seven shots, with just two of those on goal.

Gabriel Slonina made a season-high five saves as the club has still only given up two goals all season, which is the lowest in MLS so far.

“I have to give it up to the guys. I think we fought well. We stayed in our shape, we stayed compact,” said Slonina. “Obviously it’s tough to take a loss but it’s about bouncing back now and about recovering and focusing on the next game.”

That will be a major one for the club as the LA Galaxy, who are third in the league in points with 12, visit Soldier Field for a 7 PM kickoff on Saturday.