Chicago Fire rallies, then lets one get away
Dax McCarty called Saturday's Chicago Fire season opener "a very frustrating day at the office."
It definitely was an interesting day, at least in the second half.
The Fire scored 3 goals in a 12-minute span late in the second half to wipe out a 2-goal deficit, only to lose 4-3 to visiting Sporting Kansas City.
"You're 10 minutes away from the headline and the storyline being 'Chicago Fire show great character, make a fantastic comeback, win the game 3-2.' And yet here we are sitting here somehow losing that game, which is insane. It's totally insane," McCarty said.
It started with an insanely poor first half that saw the Fire giving up 2 goals and being outshot 8-1.
"In the first half there was no sense of urgency," said McCarty, the team captain and veteran midfielder. "We were playing the ball side to side. Weren't penetrating, weren't getting in behind them.
"It was really comfortable for them to defend us. In the second half we made them uncomfortable. We got the ball out wide. Our crosses were better in the second half. We were dangerous."
New midfielder Aleksandar Katai got the Fire comeback started with a 70th-minute goal off a Bastian Schweinsteiger assist. Forward Nemanja Nikolic, last year's MLS Golden Boot winner, scored in the 74th and 82nd minutes, and just like that the Fire looked like a winner.
It took SKC (1-1-0, 3 points) just four minutes to turn the Fire back into a loser. Jimmy Medranda scored in the 83rd to tie the game again, and Felipe Gutierrez notched his second goal of the day to make the score 4-3.
Coach Veljko Paunovic saw "a lot of innocent and naive mistakes" from his team defensively and vowed to correct them.
McCarty saw an opportunity wasted.
"Less than 10 minutes to go at home, should be able to see the game out," McCarty said. "I think it's a good lesson for us. We think the game's over after we score the third goal. They keep pushing. They push harder. We don't know how to defend, quite frankly, from back to front, front to back.
"The defending aspect of our game was pretty poor."