After nearly three months, the Chicago Fire has finally won a match.
The team defeated D.C. United 1-0 on Saturday at Soldier Field with a 78th minute goal by Fabian Herbers, taking home the much needed three points and snapping their 10-match winless streak.
"It’s a relief," said head coach Ezta Hendrickson in his post-game press conference.
"But the last couple of games now we’ve played some really good soccer...we’re just happy that we’ve kind of stopped the bleeding so to speak. We’re looking forward now to our next opponent, going to Houston, and doing the same thing: Playing hard, playing with the mentality that we’re not going to lose. We’re not going to lose. So, this was good for the team tonight, and I’m very, very proud of the boys."
The team has come a long way since the start of the season.
The Chicago Fire kicked off as one of the only teams to remain undefeated by week five of the 2022 MLS campaign, but have since suffered a record of 0W-7L-3D. The 3-1 triumph over Sporting Kansas City at home on March 19 marked their last victory before their unfortunate 10-match run.
Beyond results, the Chicago side has seen a difficult time off the pitch with several injuries plaguing the roster. The team’s two brightest attacking figures Xherdan Shaqiri and Jairo Torres both remain on the sidelines with individual injuries, making Saturday’s feat even greater.
"Every player – the guys who started, the guys who came on - put it in tonight, and that’s what we ask of them. We’re missing two big pieces tonight in Shaq and Torres, so that always helps when we could have those guys, but the guys who played tonight stepped up and that’s good to see," added Hendrickson.
"I just want to commend the players, everyone that stepped on the pitch tonight, [for] what they did to secure this victory and make sure that we walked away with three points tonight and not walking away holding our heads again. Hopefully they enjoyed this moment, and it continues like this for some time now."
While the victory means the Fire remain in last place of the Eastern Conference table, the win leveled the team with D.C. United at 14 points.