It wasn’t the all out beat down of Wednesday night’s match against New England but the Fire’s 2-0 victory over Minnesota United was an effective, professional result nonetheless. The win leveled their record to 4-4-4 on the season and places them in position to battle for a playoff spot with one-third of the season already in the books.
The Fire took the lead in the 21st minute on a perfectly executed counter attack following a Minnesota corner kick. After Djordje Mihailovic cleared the initial ball, Dax McCarty and Nico Gaitan pushed the ball forward with the captain laying a perfect ball out to Przemyslaw Frankowski on the run ahead of Minnesota defenders. Frankowski found Gaitan in front of goal and Argentine deftly maneuvered around the ‘keeper for the score.
Johan Kappelhof cleared a ball near midfield in the 34th that found Aleksandar Katai attacking up the left side of the Minnesota defense. Katai worked around Ike Opara to beat Vito Mannone with a well placed shot aimed at the far post.
On a down note, Gaitan left the match in the 33rd with a hamstring injury. Coach Veljko Paunovic noted that although it didn’t appear too serious, Gaitan would likely miss some games. The Fire were not as effective in the second half without him on the pitch.
Bastian Schweinsteiger will also miss the next match due to yellow card accumulation.
Ousted; Kappelhof, Schweinsteiger, Calvo; Frankowski, McCarty, Mihailovic (Adams 57′), Corrales; Gaitain (Bronico 33′); Katai (Sapong), Nikolic
Subs not used: Sanchez, Herbers, Martinez, Campos
Ousted – 7
Kappelhof – 7
Schweinsteiger – 7
Calvo – 7
Frankowski – 7
McCarty – 7
Mihailovic – 6.5
Corrales – 6.5
Gaitan – 7
Katai – 6.5
Nikolic – 6.5
Bronico – 6
Adams – 6
Sapong – 6