CHICAGO – Raphael Wicky has been in the sport long enough to understand that as quickly as the fates can work with you in soccer it can quickly turn against you.
Over the course of a week and at the same time in a match, he’s seen that play out for his Chicago Fire FC club as the Major League Soccer season winds down.
Last Saturday, with his team down by a goal on their last offensive possession, Djordje Mihailovic beat the goalkeeper and defenders for Sporting KC to a ball in the box to score the equalizer in a 2-2 tie.
It was a draw that felt like a win for the Fire, who are in the thick of a race for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. But just seven days later, the exact opposite played out at the end of the match.
With a one goal lead two minutes into four of stoppage against the New York Red Bulls, the visitors took advantage of deflection in the box to score the equalizer. Brian White was finally able to tap in the loose ball around the net to get the goal and finish the match in a 2-2 draw.
In an instant, three points went down to one for the Fire, who thanks to a tie breaker now sits in 11th place in the Eastern Conference. Inter Miami sits in that tenth spot ahead of the Fire even though they also have 21 points, getting the nod thanks to more wins (6 to 5).
“Last weekend, we equalized minute 94, I think, so we won a point. This weekend, we get equalized in minute 93 and of course, we lose two points,” said Wicky of the result. “Especially in a game, I think, which we had a good performance, a very good performance against a very aggressive and not easy to play against team.”
Indeed the Fire rallied in the second half after falling behind in the first on Kyle Duncan’s goal in the 39th minute. Robert Beric continued his productive first season in Chicago with his ninth goal of the season in the 51st minute then the club got a contribution from someone who was trapped in a scoring drought.
After scoring five goals last year, the last coming on October 6th, 2019, Przemyslaw Frankowski notched his first of 2020 in the 72nd minute as he knocked in the loose ball to put the Fire up by a goal. That would hold until the closing moments, when the fates worked against the hosts this time around.
“We came back, great reaction from the team of coming back, turning the game around, then actually not giving up much, having a few chances again to maybe put the 3-1 and kill the game,” said Wicky. “And then look, yeah, that’s football, right? That’s the beauty of the game, you can’t always predict. I think it feels like we lost two points but in the end of the day, we take it.”