Chicago Fire

Ezra Hendrickson celebrates unbeaten run after losing Shaqiri against Dallas

Lizzy Becherano
Chicago Fire FC head coach Ezra Hendrickson hailed team for 0-0 draw.
Chicago Fire FC head coach Ezra Hendrickson hailed team for 0-0 draw. / Quinn Harris/GettyImages

The Chicago Fire drew 0-0 against FC Dallas on Saturday to extend their longest unbeaten streak since 2009. 

The Eastern Conference side has yet to lose in the 2022 Major League Soccer season, cementing their fourth place spot on the table with nine points in five games and a record of 2-3-0. 

After years of suffering, Chicago are turning heads and coach Ezra Hendrickson sees it as a sign of the team 'gelling together' and getting better.

“I told them that it's a sign of a team that's gelling together," he said. "That's getting better, when even on your worst night, or a night when you don't play your best football, you still find a way to get something out of the game and not lose the game. And we were able to do that tonight. So that's the positive we'll take from this, but we could be better than we were today.”

The Fire also notably held off Dallas without Designated Player and key component Xherdan Shaqiri after the player departed the match in the first half with a tight calf. Defender Rafael Czichos was absent from the roster due to MLS health and safety protocols. 

“Shaq is a big part of what we do with the ball, on the attacking side of things, and when you lose that – even Rafa, even as a defender, he helps us build it out of the back because he's very good on the ball,” Hendrickson added.

"So when you lose those two guys, it becomes a little difficult and we just weren't fluid tonight, at all. It got a little better late in the first half, but in the second half, we just weren't good enough on the ball, on the night.”

The Fire have been a historically underachieving side, finishing 12th in the East with the fewest goals scored and third-most conceded in 2021. The team has yet to reach the Major League Soccer playoffs since their run in 2017, going four consecutive years without postseason play. 

Now, it seems, Hendrickson is changing their fate. 

The team returns to the pitch on Saturday when visiting Orlando City at Exploria Stadium.