A much needed 5-1 victory at home over Atlanta United snapped the Fire’s six-game winless run. Atlanta seemed out of sorts from the start and the Fire finally took advantage of their chances early.
Francisco Calvo started the scoring in the 4th minute with a header to finish a Nicolas Gaitan corner kick. CJ Sapong doubled the lead three minutes later when Gaitan’s pass somehow eluded several Atlanta defenders and the forward found himself alone against goalkeeper Brad Guzan. Leandro Gonzalez Pirez was shown a red card in the 12th minute after VAR showed that he denied an Aleksandar Katai goal scoring chance with his hand. Gaitan scored from the spot to increase the lead to 3-0.
Sapong found himself 1v1 with the ‘keeper again in the 37th when Brandt Bronico’s pressure caused a turnover near midfield and Gaitan flicked a backheel pass right onto his boot to make it 4-0. Fabian Herbers scored just before the half to complete the scoring for the Fire.
Atlanta’s Brandon Vazquez converted a penalty kick in the 58th after Przemyslaw Frankowski brought down Miles Robinson in the box.
The Fire let up in the second half and were not nearly as effective despite playing with a man advantage but the damage had already been done in the first 45 minutes.
Kronholm; Bronico, Schweinsteiger, Calvo, Corrales (Gutjahr 46′); McCarty, Herbers (Moreno 71′); Frankowski, Gaitan, Katai; Sapong (Nikolic 60′)
Subs not used: Sanchez, Lillard, Marcelo, Campos
Kronholm – 5.5
Bronico – 6
Schweinsteiger – 6.5
Calvo – 6.5
Corrales – 5.5
McCarty – 6.5
Herbers – 6.5
Gaitan – 7
Katai – 6
Sapong – 7
Gutjahr – 5.5
Nikolic – 5.5
Moreno – 5,5