Match Recap

Atlanta United plays Chicago Fire to scoreless draw at Soldier Field

Match-Recap-CHI-April-27

CHICAGO – Atlanta United traveled to the Windy City on Saturday looking to beat Chicago Fire for the second time in the span of about a month. The outcome this time was a scoreless draw at Soldier Field.

The result gives Atlanta United four points total on the season against Eastern Conference side Chicago and the second clean sheet. The previous meeting on March 31 resulted in a 3-0 Atlanta win.

"Chicago is not an easy game at all," head coach Gonzalo Pineda said. "They are always combative. They were really good in the tactics. They were very solid defensively."

The Fire created a scary moment for Atlanta United supporters in the eighth minute. Chicago forward Georgios Koutsias connected with a cross inside the box and put a touch on frame. His shot bounced off the crossbar, and Atlanta United’s Brooks Lennon was able to clear the ball away before Chicago could reach the rebound.

It appeared that Tyler Wolff, who started the match for Atlanta United at winger, scored the opening goal in the 23rd minute. Wolff finished off the rebound from a Giorgos Giakoumakis shot that was initially blocked. Giakoumakis was called offside on the play and the call went to VAR. After review, the call on the field was confirmed and the goal did not count.

In the 32nd minute, Atlanta United created a golden moment. After connecting some passes in their attacking third, Thiago Almada sent a ball toward the end line for Lennon. The fullback ran onto the pass then located his target, Saba Lobjanidze, inside the box. The cross was perfect and Lobjanidze’s header was on its way into the far corner of the goal. Chicago Fire goalkeeper Chris Brady appeared to make the diving stop to knock it away and prevent an Atlanta United goal, but the officials called a goal kick to take away the save.

The first half ended with back-to-back missed attempts from Chris Mueller as the Fire got close in the 35th and 36th minutes. The home team also nearly had an own-goal following a give-and-go between Almada and Wolff.

Atlanta controlled 60 percent of possession, took 16 shots in the match and held Chicago to zero shots on goal.

"I think it was a progression," Pineda said. "Better game management, better buildup, good possession, final third movements, but we couldn't finish. So that's why we didn't get the three points."

Atlanta United, pushing for three points, created some chances in the second half to score the game-winner. In the 73rd minute, Lobjanidze made some 1v1 moves then passed to Daniel Ríos in dangerous territory, but the chance was denied by Chicago. Minutes later, Atlanta United drew a foul. Almada’s direct free kick was sailing into the upper corner of the net but at the last moment was knocked away by Brady to deny another magical moment. In the 79th minute, Edwin Mosquera made a cutback to set up another chance for Almada, but the Argentine’s shot clanged off the crossbar. Ríos whipped a header on frame in the 85th minute that Brady saved.

Pineda's starting XI included Efraín Morales, who lined up at center back along with Luis Abram, which marked the first career MLS appearance for the Homegrown defender. Morales trained in preseason with the first team and since has spent 2024 putting together a solid season with Atlanta United 2 in MLS NEXT Pro. He played a full 90 minutes plus stoppage time in his debut.

"I think it was a pretty solid first performance," Morales said. "Obviously to not get the three points is not ideal. But I see keeping a clean sheet as always a good thing, but always room to improve."

Giakoumakis returned to the starting XI for Atlanta United on Saturday. The striker missed two matches due to injury then came on as a substitute in the team’s previous match against FC Cincinnati. Giakoumakis played 66 minutes in Chicago before being subbed off for Daniel Ríos.

Match Stats
Chicago Fire
Atlanta United
Shots
9
16
Shots on target
0
6
Corner kicks
3
8
Fouls committed
9
6
xG
0.5
1.6
Possession
39.5%
60.5%
Passing accuracy
77.5%
89.8%

Up next - Back-to-back MLS home matches... plus preparations for Open Cup

Atlanta United returns for back-to-back home matches at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The 5-Stripes host Minnesota United on May 4 and D.C. United on May 11. In between those two MLS matches, Atlanta United also plays at home in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. On May 7, Atlanta United hosts Charlotte Independence from USL League One in the Round of 32. That match will be played in Kennesaw at Fifth Third Stadium.

There's a lot of soccer coming up in Atlanta, so don't miss a moment of the action and secure your seat today!

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