BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (Sept. 14, 2019) – The Chicago Fire Soccer Club (9-12-10, 37 points) scored four first-half goals to defeat FC Dallas (12-11-7, 43 points) 4-0 at SeatGeek Stadium on Saturday afternoon. CJ Sapong tallied his second brace of the season, while midfielder Przemysław Frankowski and forward Nemanja Nikolić each recorded a goal for the Fire. With the result, the Men in Red are now within three points of a playoff position.
The four goal performance in the first half marked the second-most goals the Fire has scored in a half this season. The Fire previously scored five goals in the first half against Atlanta United FC on July 3.
The first goal came in the seventh minute when Sapong’s hustle and determination caused a miscommunication between defender Matt Hedges and goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez on a back pass to the goalkeeper. As a result, Sapong quickly pounced on the wayward back pass, touching it around Gonzalez before calmly converting his first goal of the game.
Less than 10 minutes later, Chicago doubled its lead when Frankowski scored for a second straight game, notching his third goal of the season. After receiving the ball from defender Jonathan Bornstein on the left wing, midfielder Brandt Bronico cut inside on his right foot and whipped a cross through the 18-yard box to Frankowski, who scored a one-time finish from just inside the six-yard box in the 16th minute.
The team’s third goal came in the 29th minute when Sapong secured his brace from a well-placed corner kick from midfielder Nicolás Gaitán. The corner kick from Gaitán was whipped to the near post for Sapong, who headed the ball through Gonzalez’s legs. The header marked Sapong’s 12th goal of the season – the second-most in a single season in his career – and his fourth headed goal of the 2019 campaign. Additionally, Gaitán recorded his 11th assist of the season on the play, which ranks as the most assists in a single season for a Fire player since 2008.
After attempts from Gaitán and Frankowski were pushed off the post by Gonzalez, the Fire eventually added a fourth goal in the 39th minute when Nikolić scored his third goal in his last four games. The goal occurred after Frankowski found the ball on the right side of the box and volleyed it to Nikolić, who took one touch to score from close range.
In the 63rd minute, the Fire came close to adding to their tally when Sapong and midfielder Dax McCarty both hit the post on back-to-back chances. The Fire looked dangerous off another corner kick from Gaitán when McCarty connected with the cross and headed it off the post. Following a clearance from Dallas, defender Johan Kappelhof smartly headed the ball back into the 18-yard box for Sapong, who also rattled the post with a headed attempt. On a defensive end, the Fire notched its eighth clean sheet of the season and sixth clean sheet at home.The team’s six clean sheets at home are tied for the second-most in the league in 2019.
Looking ahead, the Fire’s next match will take place against FC Cincinnati at Nippert Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 21. Scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. CT, the match will be broadcast live on ESPN+ and transmitted locally in Spanish on TUDN Radio Chicago 1200 AM.
Chicago Fire 4:0 FC Dallas
CHI - Sapong (11) 7’
CHI - Frankowski (3) (Bronico 2) 16’
CHI - Sapong (12) (Gaitán 11) 29’
CHI - Nikolić (12) (Frankowski 8) 39’
DAL - Pomykal (Caution) 5’
Chicago Fire: GK Kronholm, D Kappelhof, D Schweinsteiger (Mihailović 66’), D Calvo (Marcelo 80’), D Bornstein, M McCarty©, M Bronico, M Frankowski, M Gaitán, M Sapong (Katai 73’), F Nikolić
Subs not used: Sánchez, Gutjahr, Azira, Herbers
Shots: 17 Shots on goal: 7 Fouls: 9 Offsides: 0 Corners: 9
FC Dallas: GK Gonzalez, D Cannon, D Hedges, D Ziegler, D Hollingshead, M Pomykal, M Cerrillo, M Ferreira (Servania HT), F Barrios (Hayes 76’) , F Ondrasek, F Badji (Mosquera 66’)
Subs not used: Maurer, Bressan, Nelson, Pepi
Shots: 11 Shots on goal: 4 Fouls: 10 Offsides: 1 Corners: 7
Referee: Jair Marrufo Assistant Referees: Jose Da Silva, Chris Elliott Fourth Official: Silviu Petrescu VAR: Jose Carlos Rivero Attendance: 12,874