BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – The Chicago Fire have focused on staying compact lately, especially in tough road environments like that of Kansas City, Houston and New York.
“Obviously, you’re playing away, being compact getting behind the ball and being good in possession, all that stuff is essential,” head coach Frank Klopas said after his team’s 1-0 loss to New York on Wednesday. “And playing very direct, we’re trying to not get stretched and it’s an up-and-down game because it’s very difficult to sustain that rhythm.”
HIGHLIGHTS: New York 1, Chicago 0
That plan, along a few spectacular saves from goalkeeper Sean Johnson, gave the Fire shutouts against Sporting KC and the Dynamo. But a clinical finish from Thierry Henry in the 71st minute on Wednesday broke the Fire’s road shutout streak.
“I thought we executed [the defensive game plan] the whole game,” defender Dan Gargan told MLSsoccer.com. “Thierry’s goal was a world-class goal, moving away from the goal placing it in the corner, really without much of an angle to strike the ball. He put it in the only place possible that it could’ve gone in the net. I thought we were organized, I thought we did pretty well.”
Segares chance cleared off the line
Gonzalo Segares looked like he would tie the game in the 83rd minute when Austin Berry headed the ball toward him, wide open in the outside the six-yard box. His volley looked destined for the upper corner, but New York’s Brandon Barklage cleared the ball off the line with his head.
“We tried to push at the end, we had a chance to tie it back up, but just unfortunate that they made a good play on the line,” defender Austin Berry said.
Gargan not able to equalize
Gargan almost was able to equalize the game in the 88th minute when he came streaking into the right side of the box to connect with a cross from Segares.
But New York midfielder Connor Lade stopped in front of him, causing him to slightly change direction and the header went wide.
“It was a great ball from Gonzo, and I felt good getting up there,” Gargan said. “When I was up, the defender kind of stopped, and I ran into him before I was able to get my head on the ball and it threw my body in a different direction so that put my header off target.