D.C. United played to a scoreless draw against Chicago Fire at Soldier Field, bagging a point to take home to the District. While not the flashiest performance against Chicago, we’re beginning to see Wayne Rooney’s promised team take shape.
The first 45′ was full of drama on the pitch but certainly not full of chances for the Black-and-Red. Chicago, fresh off their first win of the season, made a confident start at home. Chris Mueller tried to capitalize on a ball from Brian Gutiérrez in the 8′ to land a shot from outside the box, but his attempt went high and wide to keep Chicago on the hunt for an opening goal.
Fabian Herbers tried to sneak a header through in the 23′ but missed the target giving Tyler Miller little to do. Carlos Terán would finally test Miller with a shot to the top left corner in the 25′; the veteran goalkeeper (and former Chicago Fire U23 player and communications intern) easily denied him.
Mateusz Klich found Christian Benteke in the center of the box, giving him a chance to find the back of Chicago’s net in the 26′, but Chris Brady made the save for the Fire. The Black-and-Red would only have one more on-target chance in the first 45′.
A dust-up on the pitch saw Taxi Fountas booked with yellow, yet it seemed that he should have earned a penalty kick. Wayne Rooney agreed, saying he was “disappointed in VAR because I thought that was a clear penalty…I don’t understand how firstly, it gives a foul against Taxi. And secondly, even more bluntly, I don’t understand how VAR don’t overturn it. It’s disappointing.”
Mueller would continue to try to cause trouble for the Black-and-Red, finding another treacherous chance in the 28′. Thankfully, his attempted header missed the frame. D.C. United homegrown Jacob Greene would take a chance in the 37′, trying to find purchase from a corner. Unfortunately for D.C., his shot would miss. Donovan Pines would close out the half with an on-target header, but Brady was ready for him.
Struggles to get Christian Benteke, Taxi Fountas, and Mateusz Klich on the ball contributed to the Black-and-Red’s first half woes. D.C.’s on-target shots were limited, coming down to Benteke and Donovan Pines – both denied by Brady – to keep the match scoreless at the half.
The Black-and-Red emerged after halftime with renewed energy and looked far more tenacious than they had in the first 45′.
Taxi Fountas in particular, was intent on creating chaos for the Fire. In the 59′ he linked up with Benteke to put a shot on frame from outside the box. Again in the 70′ he flung a rocket from about 28 yards out, hitting the post with a crash. Perhaps the first half booking had put a little extra spice on that kick. He tried again in the 71′, getting his left foot on a header from Pines, but missed.
While Mueller and Fountas continued to create offensive chances for their respective teams, Brady and Miller were equally matched in issuing denials. A tepid first 45′ had certainly given way to a tumultuous second half of play.
The final moments turned into a true test for Black-and-Red goalkeeper Tyler Miller who made what was arguably the save of the season so far. Supporters held their collective breath as veteran forward Kei Kamara attempted a header from the center of the box in the 90′ + 1′. Kamara had found the game-winner against Miami in much the same fashion. Tyler Miller soundly denied him to keep a point for the Black-and-Red and preserve a clean sheet.
D.C. United will be back in the District to take on Columbus Crew on April 8 at 7:30 pm ET.
- TYLER MILLER. Miller came up big to keep a clean sheet and save a point on the road for D.C. United. His technically sound performance was key to the final result.
- Focus is key. Capitalizing on small moments, turnovers, throw-ins, and the like will be essential to the Black-and-Red’s success as the season progresses.
- Taxi is back. The return of Fountas to a full 90′ + of play gives D.C. supporters hope. Now, Fountas, Benteke, and Klich need to find a solid connection to supercharge the Black-and-Red’s attack.
MLS Regular Season – Game 6
Chicago Fire: 0
D.C. United: 0
Chicago Fire: (4-2-3-1) Chris Brady, Jonathan Dean, Carlos Terán, Rafael Czichos, Arnaud Souquet, Gastón Giménez (Mauricio Pineda 83′), Maren Haile-Selassie, Fabian Herbers, Brian Gutierrez, Chris Mueller, Chris Mueller, Kacper Przybylko (Kei Kamara 64′)
D.C. United: (4-4-2) Tyler Miller, Donovan Pines, Ruan, Steve Birnbaum, Jacob Greene, Victor Pálsson, Mateusz Klich, Yamil Asad (Ted Ku-DiPietro 66′), Chris Durkin (Kristian Fletcher 81′), Taxi Fountas (Hayden Sargis 90′ + 4′), Christian Benteke
D.C. United: Fountas 28′, Klich 74′
Featured image courtesy of D.C. United, Hannah Wagner