The Fire flew out to Florida to play Inter Miami and claim their first win of the season.
After last week’s collapse against FC Cincinnati at home, the Fire hit the road to play an Inter Miami team struggling with injuries. The Fire would go up 2-0 with goals from Chris Mueller and Carlos Terán before conceding two more to make it 2-2. It seemed like a performance similar to last week’s late game slip against FC Cincinnati, but in the 92nd minute, Kei Kamara would score the winner to get the Fire their first three points of the year. The Fire now sit on five points with a 1-2-1 record after four games.
*Players are listed in the order they lined up, followed by substitutes in the order they appeared
Chris Brady (7) — Good on the night, Brady continues to prove that he is the real deal in Major League Soccer. Making five saves, Brady has not set a foot wrong since his last-minute mistake against Philly, and seems to be the next big thing from the Fire’s goalkeeper factory.
Arnaud Souquet (6) — Souquet would start at right-back despite his own recent performances and those of his teammates. It was more of the same for Souquet, as he would get in attacking spaces fairly well, and did have better service than in the past, but defensively he got sent by Franco Negri for Miami’s opening goal. Souquet would be substituted for Kendall Burks in the 63rd minute.
Carlos Terán (8) — With another great performance, the Colombian got his first goal of the season after a Miami blunder in the box. Defensively, Terán continues to impress with his physicality and pace. Téran’s biggest flaw tends to be his passing ability, but on the night the defender not only kept possession but made a few impressive passes as well.
Rafa Czichos (7) — The Fire’s skipper had a solid performance in the back, and this may be a hot take but there is an argument to make that Czichos and Terán are one of the league’s best center-back pairings. Czichos posted the Fire’s highest percentage for duels won, with 83.3% out of 9 total.
Jonathan Dean (7) — Getting his first start for the club at left-back due to Miguel Navarro being out on international duty for Venezuela, Dean had another good performance even though he’s not playing on his preferred side. The USL product would go the full 90, and eventually switch to the right side of the defense after Kendall Burks and Alonso Aceves would be substituted on to move the Fire into a back five.
Gastón Giménez (6.5) — After a poor game against FC Cincinnati, Gastón would get the start again in the midfield. Giménez would have a fairly well-rounded performance without any notable errors before being subbed at the 54th minute for Mauricio Pineda likely due to consistent injury concerns.
Fabian Herbers (6) — Returning from his suspension, Fabi would start next to Gastón Giménez in the Fire’s midfield pivot. Herbers had a fairly flat performance, not really doing anything remarkably well or notably poor in defense or offense. Herbers go to ground with an apparent injury, and then would be substituted for Javi Casas in the 62nd minute.
Brian Gutiérrez (9) — In the wake of the injury to Xherdan Shaqiri, it was widely assumed Guti would be the starter as the team’s #10. It was not anticipated however that the 19-year-old would have such an impact on the team’s overall performance. Gutiérrez grabbed an assist to Chris Mueller’s opener, and would later feed Kei Kamara for the winner. It seems most Fire fans actually prefer the homegrown as the starting attacking midfielder over Shaqiri. Going forward, Ezra noted that when he returns, Shaqiri will go back to being the starter, but with performances like this, there is no reason Guti should not be on the field from the first minute.
Chris Mueller (7.5) — Mueller would score his second goal in two games after a Przybyłko dummy from a Brian Gutiérrez’ cross. The winger would do well to get into attacking spaces but could have linked up better with Jonathan Dean on the left. Overall though, Mueller would have another dangerous showing and continues to help the Fire establish some attacking consistency.
Kacper Przybyłko (6.5) — Retaining his starting spot, KP did not offer too much in terms of attacking threat himself, but recently has had great movement to make space for his teammates. After a cross from Guti, Przybyłko would (seemingly intentionally) let the ball go across the box to Chris Mueller, who would then score the Fire’s opener. Kacper would be substituted in the 63rd minute for Kei Kamara to refresh the Fire’s attack.
Maren Haile-Selassie (7) — Getting his second start for the club, Haile-Selassie performed well on the right side again, constantly driving into the Inter Miami half and running at defenders. Although his footwork was slightly inconsistent, Maren still kept the Inter Miami defense on their toes and gave the initial pass to Brian Gutiérrez for his first assist. Haile-Selassie would be substituted for tactical reasons in the 76th minute for the debut of Alonso Aceves.
Mauricio Pineda (6.5) — Entering the game in the 54th minute for Gastón Giménez, Pineda had a pretty average showing, struggling to slow down the Miami attack from getting back into the game.
Kendall Burks (6) — Being substituted on the 62nd minute for Arnaud Souquet, Burks would initially play at right-back but would then switch to the team’s third center-back as they would switch to five in defense. After a miscommunication with Alonso Aceves, Inter Miami would score their second goal uncontestedly. Burks did well to defend afterwards, but Miami’s goal was easily avoidable.
Javi Casas Jr. (7) — Replacing Fabian Herbers in the 62nd minute, Casas’ passing game was quality, but defensively he was inconsistent and against more dangerous teams could have been punished. Ultimately, though, he set up the winning goal.
Kei Kamara (7.5) — Coming in for Kacper Przybyłko in the 63rd minute, Kamara would off more dynamism and finishing ability than his counterpart, ultimately scoring the Fire’s winner in the 92nd minute with a finish any striker would be proud of. Before that, Kei would do well to be involved with linkup play, having an 100% pass completion rate. Somewhat un kei-like though, the forward won zero of his four duels, but that really does not matter considering he got the Fire their first three points of the season.
Alonso Aceves (6) — Making his debut for the club, Aceves would be substituted on for Maren Haile-Selassie in the 75th minute, and unfortunately not mark his man a minute later for Miami’s equalizer. Aceves wouldn’t really do much afterward, but as he arrived only recently, this isn’t a performance to look into too much.
Ezra Hendrickson (6.5) — With all suspended players returning to the squad, Ezra opted to return to the team’s typical 4-2-3-1. The team worked well for the majority of the game, and the team-wide issue with discipline seemed relatively tame this match to the delight of Fire fans. Given the team’s current depth, Ezra didn’t have too many options for substitutions as Miami began to gain momentum. It was questionable though when Ezra would throw on Aceves and Kendall Burks before Wyatt Omsberg, who has yet to appear this season. The pairing would then collectively proceed to allow Miami to score when both of them would fail to defend their marked men due to a presumed lack of communication. Throughout his tenure as head coach, Ezra’s substitutions and tactical changes have consistently been amongst his weak points, and if Guti and Kamara hadn’t bailed the team out, Hendrickson would likely be under immense scrutiny for one reason or another.