BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (April 15, 2017) – The Chicago Fire received a goal at the stroke of halftime from Bastian Schweinsteiger and saw striker Nemanja Nikolic net a second-half brace en route to a 3-0 win over the New England Revolution Saturday at Toyota Park. The win marked the second in a row for the Men In Red and moved the Fire (3-1-2, 11 points) into third place in the Eastern Conference.
Chicago also kept a second consecutive clean sheet while extending its home unbeaten streak to seven games (4-0-3) dating to last season.
The Fire thought they had netted the game’s first goal in the 21st minute when Luis Solignac deflected a header to Nemanja Nikolic on the doorstep. Nikolic chested the ball into the net, but was offside while doing so.
New England’s Je-Vaughn Watson was sent off with his second yellow card in the 21st minute after a hard tackle on Solignac.
Chicago found its breakthrough in the 45th minute. Solignac threaded a pass to Schweinsteiger near the top of the box, and the German midfielder did the rest with a smart touch to get the ball to his right foot before slotting his shot inside the far post for his second goal in three appearances with Chicago.
Nikolic doubled the Fire’s lead less than two minutes into the second half. Solignac played a dangerous ball to the near post, nearly setting up Michael de Leeuw for a goal. However, the ball deflected off de Leeuw and popped into the path of Nikolic. The Hungarian striker didn’t waste his chance, powering his shot into the net from close range.
Chicago’s three Designated Players linked up for the Fire’s third goal. Schweinsteiger played Accam a weighted pass on the left, allowing the Ghanaian to hit full speed with an eye on the goal. Instead of continuing forward, Accam bent a perfectly-placed pass around a New England defender and into the path of Nikolic, who finished for his second goal of the game and fourth of the season.
The Men in Red begin a three-game road trip against defending Eastern Conference champion Toronto FC on Friday, April 21 at BMO Field. Kickoff is 6:30 p.m. CT.
MLS Regular Season
Chicago Fire (3-1-2, 11 pts.) 3:0 New England Revolution (2-3-1, 7 pts.)
April 15, 2017 – Toyota Park
CHI – Bastian Schweinsteiger (Luis Solignac) 45
CHI – Nemanja Nikolic (unassisted) 47
CHI – Nemanja Nikolic (David Accam, Bastian Schweinsteiger) 73
NE – Je-Vaughn Watson (caution) 21
NE – Je-Vaughn Watson (ejection) 27
CHI – Johan Kappelhof (caution) 77
Chicago Fire: Jorge Bava, Michael Harrington (Drew Conner 78), Johan Kappelhof, Joao Meira, Brandon Vincent, Juninho ©, Dax McCarty, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Luis Solignac (David Accam 71), Nemanja Nikolic, Michael de Leeuw (Daniel Johnson 60).
Shots: 11; Shots On-Goal: 3; Saves: 1; Fouls: 10; Corners: 6; Offsides: 2
New England Revolution: Cody Cropper, Andrew Farrell, Joshua Smith, Antonio Milnar Delamea, Je-Vaughn Watson, Scott Caldwell, Xavier Kouassi, Lee Nguyen © (Diego Fagundez 52), Kelyn Rowe, Juan Agudelo (Chris Tierney 57), Kei Kamara (Teal Bunbury 66).
Shots: 4; Shots On-Goal: 1; Saves: 0; Fouls: 8; Corners: 4; Offsides: 0