Chicago Fire keep playoff hopes alive with win over Red Bulls

Chicago Fire keep playoff hopes alive with win over Red Bulls

Chicago Fire keep playoff hopes alive with win over Red Bulls originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Chicago Fire’s playoff hopes remained alive following a 1-0 win over the New York Red Bulls on Saturday.

Georgios Koutsias scored the only goal of the game with a header off a free-kick from Xherdan Shaqiri.

The game began as so many have during this skid for the Fire. The Red Bulls were the team on the front foot though without creating too many clear scoring opportunities.

Their best effort came in the 34th minute of the first half following a loss in possession by Ousmane Doumbia. Fortunately for the Fire, Chris Brady was up to the task and made the save. A minute later, Brady made a point-blank save off a header. He did the same a minute after that.

The Fire were fortunate to go to the break level considering the chances the Red Bulls had and the fact Chicago had a total of zero shots in that half.

The turning point came in the 62nd minute when, already on a booking, Hassan Ndam picked up a second yellow, leaving the Red Bulls down a man.

Shaqiri sent in the cross from the ensuing free-kick which Koutsias connected on. Just like that, the Fire were up 1-0.

The Fire did well to make that man advantage pay off at least when it came to maintaining the ball and playing with the Red Bulls’ desperation to get the equalizer.

In the final 10 minutes of the match, the Fire had a handful of opportunities to score a second and put the game to rest. Shaqiri missed a clear cut chance and only moments later, Kacper Przybyłko’s shot hit the post.

In stoppage time, the Red Bulls almost found the equalizer when Frankie Amaya’s long-range effort hit the top of the post after beating the outstretched arm of Brady.

The Fire had one more chance to score a second following a breakaway from Przybyłko. He laid the ball off to Brian Gutierrez but his shot landed safely into the hands of the Red Bulls’ keeper.

But the Fire managed to hang on to pick up their first league win since July 15 when they beat Toronto 1-0 at Soldier Field.

The win also put them ahead of both the Red Bulls and D.C. United in the standings. The Fire are tied in points with CF Montreal for the final playoff spot but behind in goal difference.

The Fire’s playoff aspirations are still intact as they return home midweek to play Inter Miami. An Inter Miami team who may or may not be able to count on Lionel Messi.

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