Talk about a strange half.
In the first 45 minutes of the Chicago Fire’s game against the New England Revolution, Nemanja Nikolić’s performance resembled the 1993 film “Groundhog Day” at times. The Hungarian striker just kept living the same situation over and over again.
The first was a pair of misses inside of 20 minutes, as the final touch eluded the 2017 Golden Boot winner. He pushed narrowly wide in the 14th minute after being played over the top by Bastian Schweinsteiger, then was one touch too heavy on a breakaway in the 16th minute.
As the half wore one, the 31-year-old Designated Player then turned to back-post headers, this time getting the best of Revs’ goalie Matt Turner in his first start of 2019. In the 28th minute, he nodded home a free kick that skipped all the way through New England’s defense, then did the same in the 40th via a flicked-on corner kick.
The wonky half gave Nikolić five goals on the year, though he could have easily had two more. He’s now at 44 strikes through 76 career games, spanning both the playoffs and regular season. The Fire went on to beat the New England Revolution 5-0.