Juninho goal NE

Juninho recounts "special" first goal for the Chicago Fire

A first goal for a new club. A finish from outside the 18-yard-box. A match-winner.

In the 39th minute of Saturday’s 4-1 rout of the New England Revolution, Chicago Fire midfielder Juninho checked off all three in one strike.

"I’ve been waiting for the moment for a long time,” he said. "It felt great (that) I could help my teammates to get a win. I think that’s the most important thing in the game.”

Apart from the goal, the Brazilian put in one of his tidiest shifts to date, completing 63-of-67 passes (94.03%) and chipping in five defensive recoveries. His well-placed finish from distance was his first goal in a Fire shirt, and gave his side a lead they wouldn’t relinquish en route to a ninth-straight win at Toyota Park. 

"As soon as (Patrick) Doody got the ball and he looked up to the box, I think he saw Bastian (Schweinsteiger) getting close. As soon as Basti made his run, I called the ball before he did the run. I called the ball, and of course he knows — we train every day — so he let it go and I just put myself in the right position to strike and put it inside of the net. That was a good moment."

As soon as his shot beat Revolution goalkeeper Cody Cropper, his teammates gave him a fitting celebration.

"The guys knew that was my first goal for the club,” he said. "It’s such a good group. At that moment, it was very important I had that goal. We were tied in the 1-1 game. My goal of course took the lead for us in that moment and my teammates showed that support. It was my first goal and it was special."

A long-shot specialist since his days roaming the LA Galaxy midfield, the 28-year-old Brazilian’s goal was the 19th of his career and the 13th of which came from outside the 18-yard-box.

"It’s hard for us midfielders because there’s lot of things going on in the game, so I have to find another way to score goals,” he said. “That’s always shots from distance. That’s one of my characteristics. I’ve been training hard to get to that point. I’ve scored a lot of goals in MLS from outside of the 18, so that’s one of my qualities for sure.”

Fire fans will be hoping Saturday’s strike isn’t the only one they’ll get to see from Juninho this season, a sentiment the Brazilian himself echoes.

"I was of course happy to score my first goal for this club and make my history here as well. I hope I can continue that way.”

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