Chicago Fire FC (7-16-6, 27 points) fell 3-1 to Toronto FC (6-15-7, 25 points) at BMO Field on Sunday afternoon. The result snapped a two-game unbeaten run for the Fire.
Chicago provided the game’s opening goal in the 16th minute when forward Robert Berić scored for a second straight match. Making an intelligent run inside the area, Berić hit a pass from midfielder Fabian Herbers with a first-time shot that deflected off midfielder Michael Bradley, before looping over goalkeeper Alex Bono (WATCH).
The home side came close to equalizing in the 36th minute after controversially receiving a penalty kick for a handball inside the box. With Designated Player Yeferson Soteldo looking to convert from the spot, 17-year-old Homegrown goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina rose to the occasion for the Fire, denying the Venezuelan’s attempt with a diving save to his right (WATCH).
Toronto managed to pull one back when midfielder Marco Delgado’s deflected shot snuck into the far corner in the 44th minute. The finish marked Delgado’s third of the season and his second consecutive game with a goal.
TFC would take the lead in the 56th minute when defender Omar Gonzalez scored a thumping header from a short corner. As the Fire pushed forward in search of the equalizer, Toronto would find a third when Soteldo scored in the 70th minute.
NEXT GAME: Following a one-week FIFA break, the Fire will return to league play on Saturday, Oct. 16 against the league-leading New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium. Beginning at 6:00 p.m. CT, the match will be broadcast live on WGN-TV, CFFC Live and TUDN 1200 AM.
- Berić scored his fifth goal of the season. The Slovenian striker has scored 17 career goals in 52 appearances (44 starts) for the Fire.
- Herbers notched his fourth assist in 2021. His four assists are tied for the second-most on the team.
- Herbers also made his 19th start of the season today, marking a career high in a single season for the German. His previous career high for starts in a single season was 18, set in the 2020 campaign.
Chicago Fire FC 1:3 Toronto FC
TOR - Soteldo (Yellow Card) 9’
CHI - Offor (Yellow Card) 86’
TOR - Laryea (Yellow Card) 89’
Chicago Fire FC: GK G. Slonina, D Kappelhof (Collier 75’), D Pineda, D Bornstein ©, M Espinoza (Ivanov 61’), M F. Navarro, M M. Navarro (Calvo 75’), M Giménez, M Medrán (Offor 62’), F Berić, F Herbers (Aliseda 21’)
Subs not used: GK Shuttleworth, D Omsberg, M Casas Jr., M Monis
Toronto FC: GK Bono, D Gonzalez, D Lawrence, D Auro Jr., M Bradley ©, M Delgado, M Osorio, M Laryea, M Shaffelburg (Marshall-Rutty 77’), M Achara (Morrow 84’), F Soteldo (Mullins 90’)
Subs not used: GK Westberg, D Singh, D DeLeon, M Pozuelo, M Okello, F Nelson
Stats Summary: TOR / CHI
Shots: 14 / 11
Shots on Goal: 6 / 5
Passing Accuracy: 81.3% / 79.6%
Saves: 4 / 3
Corners: 4 / 4
Fouls: 14 / 16
Offsides: 2 / 1
Possession: 54.3% / 45.7%
Referee: Nima Saghafi
Assistant Referees: Kathryn Nesbitt, Adam Wienckowski
Fourth Official: Ramy Touchan
VAR: Jorge Gonzalez, Robert Schaap
Chicago Fire FC Quotes
Chicago Fire FC Interim Head Coach Frank Klopas
On the status of Fabian Herbers, who left the match in the first half...
“Yeah, he had a hamstring. He found something in his hamstring and obviously we took him out at the moment and I think we just have to assess probably the next couple days, and see how he is. But that's what he felt. He felt a little tweak as he's going and the field was a little bit heavy with the rain and stuff like that. So we don't know the extent of the injury until tomorrow when he gets a little bit further assessed by the physicians.”
On his reaction to seeing Raphael Wicky depart the Club on Thursday...
“I mean, disappointed, obviously. I mean, how can you not be disappointed? First of all, Rapha [Wicky] and I worked together, almost, for two years. I know how hard the guy worked. I know how much he cared. He's a great human being, and I know that he never left any stone unturned to make sure that we tried to be always prepared. He worked tirelessly.
At the end of the day, we know the business. You know, the results were not there, we all know. But you know, you always look at the coach but there's responsibility on everyone. It's not just on one person.”
On whether it hurts more to see Rapha go knowing that he is such a great person…
“Yeah, listen, we know the business that we're in. He (knew) that coming in. It's not his first rodeo. That's the thing. I think the important thing, look, soccer, football, whatever you want to call it, brings people together from around the world. Situations like this, it's not short, it's almost two years. But then you go different ways.
But you know, the ability to get to know people, and football brings us together and friendships last a lot longer. So of course it’s sad but the minute you step in, you know what you're in for at the end of the day.
Rapha knew that but I'm just here to say that I know from his standpoint and for me and all our staff that we worked really hard, because the most important thing, we all cared about the club and we want the club to be successful, and that's the most important thing. You look at the coach and you do that, but like I said, there's guilt and it's one person who paid the price, but I think you can look at the responsibility on all of us, and the players included.”
On what the team is looking to get out of the last five games of the season...
“Listen, I'm going to tell you straight: I will do anything for the club. I came in with Rapha because I was asked to. I will do anything for the club and that's what I did. The most important thing for me is that -- and I told the team: You need to be competitive and fight till the end, okay, because a lot of people forget what happens in the beginning and you forget right away. But it's so important the message and what you put in these last five or six games. I think that’s important.
For me, always do what's best for the club. I want to be competitive and try to win every game, but I also have to see, you know, think about the future of the club, also, with players and who to put in and who to play and all that stuff.
But the most important thing is that we want to be competitive and win every game, and that's a responsibility on all of us, on me and the players and what to put forth and to take care of themselves and to fight till the end and never give up. Never give up, and that's what this club is all about and that’s what the city of Chicago is all about. They have to understand that. If they feel good about the result tonight, then they shouldn't be here.”
On whether the last five games are a test of what the players are made of...
“Listen, there's a track record for some guys, two years right now, or some guys one year. But like I said, situations change in football very rapidly. A lot of people don't remember. I can go back, first game of the season against New England, we're up 2-0 there's a game you can look back and win.
We as coaches, and not just us on this team, who are in situations like that, they can go back and look at every little thing and say, well, if we would have picked a win here or picked points here or had three more wins, it would be a different situation.
But, yes, I think the last impression on people is very important. So I told them, you need to put everything into it and I know it's not easy, because for some of them, they might not be here. But in today's world, people call and they ask, you know, and then they see what kind of person is this guy. It's what kind of player. The player they can see. But more importantly, it's how does he train? How does he take care of himself?
Even for someone who doesn't work (out) here, there is still a future and nowadays people will call and you have to be honest. Because a lot of people that call are people that I know and people I've worked with and I have to be honest with them. So, yes, it's an opportunity for everybody to show that they want to be a part of this club moving forward, but also, you know, leave everything on the field in these last games and continue to try to win every game, why not?"
Defender Francisco Calvo
On how he is feeling, physically, after dealing with a thigh issue...
“I feel good. I feel good. I think that physically I feel pretty good. I want to thank all the medical staff here on Chicago Fire and also my physio. We came together and we got the injury out in three weeks. We are expecting a little bit more but it is nice to be on the field again and play with the guys again.
On his reaction to Raphael Wicky departing the Club on Thursday…
“It's tough. It's tough to lose a coach, [with] six games away in front of us. But it's football. The locker room is a little bit sad about it but we just wish him all the best in his career and his family, and he's a great person. I don't have anything bad (to say) about Rafa. He's just a great person and a great coach.”
On how the players feel when they see a coach lose his job because of the performance on the field...
“Yeah, of course we need to take responsibility for this, too. At the end of the day, sometimes the coach goes first, then the players. It's a hard job for them. It's hard work for them. It's how it is. Football is like that, and of course we don't want him to leave. But we need to take responsibility because our performance during the year wasn't good enough.”
On how the players move forward with the rest of the season...
“We need to finish the season with some pride. We know the playoffs are so, so tough to get and we need to be realistic. So we need to play these five games. We don't have anything to lose. We need to go and try to get on the field, enjoy and try to bring this club some points (at) the end of the year, and then go home and then just see what's going to happen with the players.”
On whether there is a thought about trying to impress not just the Fire, but other teams around the world…
“I can't talk right now about other teams. My job is the Chicago Fire right now. So I don't want to talk about any other teams. I'm focusing here and then my future, I will see when the season ends. And the other guys, I'm pretty sure they are going to do the same thing.”
On whether it helps to be playing for a person like Frank Klopas as the team finishes the season...
“I mean, Frank is a legend in this club. He was a coach before with other clubs. I think he's a great guy. He's a great coach. He knows a lot about football. He has a lot of experience, and we just want to give him results, too. Now he's the guy in charge of the team and he deserves some wins, too.
Goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina
On what it’s like as a player to see Raphael Wicky depart the Club...
“You know, it's always difficult when things change in the club. Right now we still have five games left, so I think the focus is going to be on trying to finish the season the best we can and continue to fight and push and believe in every single game we go out and give our all. I think, yeah, of course, the situation is difficult, but we are doing our best to try and focus on games and just give our all.”
On how the players focus on games knowing that Frank Klopas will not be the coach next year and things will be different next season…
“Personally, I think it's just going to the game with the same preparation we have gone into, always. I think it's just about preparing mentally and physically the same as you would be with any other coach. It's good that some changes are going to be made but we're doing our best to try and of course finish the season we can to prepare for next season and continue to fight and believe and push for the playoffs.”
On what he learned from today’s game against Toronto...
“Every game is a learning experience and I'm learning something new, whether it's a win, draw, loss, but the biggest thing for me is to, I think, never get comfortable when we are up 1-0. Things can change any second, any minute. I think it's about staying focused and engaged the entire night.”
On Wednesday’s match against New York City FC and getting his first win as a professional goalkeeper...
“Yeah, getting the first win was incredible. It's a big part of my career and I think that helped me gain some confidence and be more comfortable playing on the field. It was one of the best nights of my life, honestly, because I put so much work into it and just getting a win and getting a clean sheet was something incredible.”
On stopping his first penalty as a professional goalkeeper…
“I knew I was prepared for it. I watched the scout and everything, and so I was pretty confident I was going to save it. It's all about the team and right now I'm not really thinking about the penalty save. I'm thinking about how we can improve and be better the next game.”