The Fire lined up in their traditional 4-2-3-1 and were ahead 1-0 for the majority of the match thanks to a goal from Kacper Przybyłko in the 29th minute. One goal was not enough though, as Charlotte Substitute Brandon Cambridge came on to score a brace to get Charlotte over the men in red. Here is a short recap of the performances from Chicago.
*Players are listed in the order they lined up, followed by substitutes in the order they appeared
Chris Brady (7.5) – With Charlotte’s attack *cough cough Enzo Coppeti* largely being more focused on trying to create fouls and potential penalties than actually finding goalscoring opportunities, Brady was rather untested on the night until Brandon Cambridge was substituted on. Given as both of Cambridge’s goals were rather uncontested, there was not much Brady could have done to keep the Fire in this match.
Miguel Ángel Navarro (7) – After being on a bit of a hot-streak form wise, Navarro cooled down a bit against Charlotte FC. In defense, Miggy was solid for most of the match but did get caught out in transition on Charlotte’s first goal. In terms of the attack, it was a quiet night for the Venezuelan, and he was later subbed out in the 79th minute for Alonso Aceves.
Rafael Czichos (7.5) – Lucky to not have been granted a penalty against him on two occasions, Czichos had good game granted that the Fire conceded twice. Czichos led the fire in accurate passing with 87.5%, but was only forced into five duels as most of Charlotte’s play was on the wings.
Mauricio Pineda (7.5) – In the absence of Carlos Terán at center back, Pineda has continued to impress when playing center back. Pineda was extremely composed on and off the ball, which is impressive given the fact that Enzo Coppeti lives to mentally torment defenders. Mauri had a largely error-free match until his headed clearance fell to Brandon Cambridge for his second goal in the 81st minute, but that mistake should not be held solely against Pineda.
Arnaud Souquet (6.5) – Souquet found himself commonly being overloaded by Charlotte on the right side of the pitch, but did a decent job to defend the two-versus-one situations he was often put in. As both of Charlotte’s goals originated from crosses on Souquet’s side, some questions can be raised, but the Frenchman did his best as the Fire were worked hard in defense as they only had 36.30% possession. Souquet also had the highest amount of duels for a defender on the Fire with nine total. e
Federico Navarro (6.5) – Navarro had a pretty average match against Charlotte and was not his unusual dominant self, but that may be down to the Fire having played three games in eight days and the Argentine having only recently recovered from injury. Fede did have some of his usual hard tackles and expansive passing range, but given the leeway Charlotte were given in the midfield to advance forward and a generally worse passing rate, Fede certainly has had better performances.
Gastón Giménez (7) – Similarily to Fede, Gastón Giménez’s defending was a bit poorer than we have seen recently, but his high standard of passing is what pushes him a bit higher in terms of rating than of his pivot partner. Gastón did well in trying to string together counterattacks for the Fire by switching play, but as the Fire were much more dominant in attack within the last two matches against Saint Louis CITY, the Fire’s midifield left fans wanting more.
Xherdan Shaqiri (7.5) – Unfortunate to not come out of this match with an assist due to Kacper’s inclination to miss breakaways, Shaqiri was a little less exciting than of late, but still better than he had been under Ezra Hendrickson this season. Shaq spewed out a few decent long and through balls but looked like he had a bit less gas in his tank than in the last two games. The attacking midfielder was creative and did create the Fire’s goal by playing Kacper into space to score, but also as time went on it was clear for the last twenty-five to twenty minutes that Shaq was ready to lay in a hotel bed.
Maren Haile-Selassie (6.5) – After missing the Fire’s last game against Saint Louis due to falling under Major League Soccer’s concussion protocol, Maren returned to the starting XI against Charlotte. Maren Haile-Selassie’s spacing and runs were as good as ever, but here his end product was noticeably tame, with the Swiss winger never truly having looked dangerous. Maren was later substituted in the 69th minute for Fabian Herbers.
Brian Gutiérrez (7.5) – The Fire’s attacking overall looked dangerous on the counter in this match as they sacrificed most of their possession to Charlotte FC in order to try and beat their high line. Guti was great at creating space for his teammates, but ultimately was too selfless as he easily could have came out of this match with a goal. Brian Gutiérrez was swapped for Jairo Torres in the 69th minute.
Kacper Przybyłko (7) – Getting the start as the team’s starting striker despite his lackluster substitute appearance in the Fire’s last game against Saint Louis, Przybyłko scored for the Fire in 29th minute after being fed a beautiful through-ball from Xherdan Shaqiri to go one-on-one with Charlotte’s Kristijan Kahlina. Kacper missed the initial chance, however Kahlina’s save deflected back to the forward who then buried it on his second try. Kacper had a few glimpses of linkup play and defensive effort, but was substituted for Georgios Koutsias in the 79th minute.
Jairo Torres (5.5) – Torres came on as a substitute in the 69th minute for Brian Gutiérrez as the Fire’s left-winger, and immediately earned a yellow card three minutes later. This type of frustration characterized Jairo’s time on the field, as in his few touches he often lost the ball.
Fabian Herbers (6) – Herbers appeared in the 69th minute after swapping with Maren Haile-Selassie. Herbers never got into the flow of the match as the Fire began defending deep in their half and allowing Charlotte to maintain possesion. Overall, it was a fairly underwhelming appearance from Fabi Herbers.
Georgios Koutsias (6) – Koutisas swapped with Pryzbyłko in the 78th minute, but the young forward struggled to make an impact off the bench.
Alonso Aceves (5.5) – Alonso Aceves replaced Miguel Ángel Navarro in the 79th minute, and in his 15 minutes, looked a bit lost. Charlotte’s equalizing goal came from his side.
Frank Klopas (6.5) – In terms of tactics, Klopas stuck with his guns and kept the Fire’s lineup largely unchanged besides the inclusions of Kacper for a rested Kamara and Pineda for the injured Carlos Terán. The Fire looked competent enough to earn three points for the majority of this match, but Klopas’ biggest weak point here could have been making earlier substitutions. Pryzbyłko looked gassed after 60 minutes, and there likely could have been better decisions made in terms of the other personnel.