It was a frustrating night for Charlotte FC as their playoff hunt took a hit with a 2 – 3 loss against the Chicago Fire. Clinical finishing from Chicago made all the difference at the end of the night.
There’s something about the combination of rain and Yordy Reyna that produces goals. For the second time this season, Reyna opened the scoring with a goal under 30 seconds. It was a diving header off a Jaylin Lindsey cross that stunned Chicago in the opening minute.
Chicago responded well and took the game to Charlotte. Their effort was rewarded with a goal off a rebound from a great near post strike by Kacper Przybylko. Three minutes later it was CLTFC that was stunned conceding another goal in rapid succession.
Federico Navarro hit a clean volley right outside the box to give Chicago the lead. Things looked bleak for the Crown heading into the half but in the dying minutes, off a bit of fortune, Karol Świderski aided the ball into the back of the net to tie things up.
Charlotte started the half with good energy but a counterattack and another class finish from Przybylko once again gave Chicago the lead in the 52nd minute. CLTFC interim head coach was forced to make some early substitutions that made a difference. Charlotte put the pressure on but gamesmanship from the Fire disrupted the flow of the match which favored them.
The Fire were resolute on defense and were able to survive the flurry of attacks from Charlotte FC as the match winded down. It’s a loss that will sting even more than it was against a director playoff competitor.
This was not the first time we’ve seen CLTFC get complacent after scoring an early first goal. It wasn’t too long ago when Reyna scored in the opening 30 seconds and CLTFC ended up losing the match. The Crown did well to start energetically against Chicago but after the opener they let off the gas. It allowed Chicago to get back into the match eventually leading to them gaining the lead.
Maintaining intensity after gaining an advantage is an area that CLTFC have to improve on to close games and keep valuable points. The pressure mounts as the Crown face a two away match stretch against Los Angeles FC and New York City FC.