BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (March 3, 2018) – The Chicago Fire rallied to defeat their USL affiliate, Tulsa Roughnecks FC, 2-1 at Toyota Park on Saturday in the club’s final preseason game.
Tulsa took a lead in the 16th minute, capitalizing on a giveaway by Fire goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland. Jhon Pirez stepped in front of an attempted pass from Cleveland and then tapped into an open net from 22 yards out.
The Fire appeared to net the equalizer in the 34th minute after Nemanja Nikolic one-timed service from Aleksandar Katai into the net, but the lineman’s flag was raised for offside. Katai had a chance of his own minutes later after Dax McCarty found the Serbian attacker at the back post, but Tulsa goalkeeper Fabian Cerda came up with a save at the near post.
Chicago pushed for an equalizer from the outset of the second half, creating a number of chances. McCarty found Nikolic in front of goal, but the ensuing header glanced wide. Two minutes later, Katai slipped a pass across the face of goal to an open Bakero only to see the rookies’ shot skip narrowly over the crossbar.
Nikolic tallied in the 69th minute with a flicked finish in front of goal. Cerda parried a blistering shot from Bastian Schweinsteiger, leaving the ball free on the right side of the box. Conner chased the free ball down and slid a pass to Nikolic for the final touch.
Rookie Elliot Collier capped the comeback in the 78th minute, stepping in front of a pass intended for Tulsa’s goalkeeper and then burying his shot inside the far post.
The Fire open their 2018 MLS campaign against Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, March 10. Kickoff is 5 p.m. CT at Toyota Park.
Chicago Fire 2:1 Tulsa Roughnecks FC
March 3, 2018 – Toyota Park
TUL – Jhon Pirez (unassisted) 16
CHI – Nemanja Nikolic (Drew Conner) 69
CHI – Elliot Collier (unassisted) 78
TUL – Michael Gamble (caution) 25
CHI – Tony Tchani (caution) 54
CHI – Johan Kappelhof (caution) 57
TUL – Jhon Pirez (caution) 66
Chicago Fire: Stefan Cleveland (Patrick McLain 74); Matt Polster (Jorge Corrales 63), Johan Kappelhof (Drew Conner 66), Christian Dean (^Kevin Ellis 74), Brandon Vincent; Dax McCarty © (Mo Adams 74), Tony Tchani (Diego Campos 74); Aleksandar Katai (Omar Castro 86), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Brandt Bronico 74), Jon Bakero (Elliot Collier 63); Nemanja Nikolic (Albert Ruiz 74).
Shots: 17; Shots On-Goal: 9; Fouls: 11; Saves: 2; Offsides: 5; Corners: 10.
Tulsa Roughnecks FC: Fabian Cerda; Claudio Munoz, Francisco Ugarte ©, Adrian Jusino, Riggs Lennon; Ivan Mirkovic, Michael Binns, Fernando Gabriel Arce, Michael Gamble, Eti Tavares; Jhon Pirez.
Shots: 8; Shots On-Goal: 4; Fouls: 8; Saves: 7; Offsides: 7; Corners: 6.
*Tulsa Roughnecks FC substitutions unavailable