MLS: Fire hold on to stun FC Cincinnati, 3-2
Jhon Duran scored twice to take his team-leading total to eight goals and the visiting Chicago Fire put FC Cincinnati’s playoff plans on hold with a 3-2 victory on Saturday night.
Brian Gutierrez also scored and added two assists for Chicago (10-15-8, 38 points), which is already eliminated from postseason contention but picked up its fourth away win and third since July 23.
Luciano Acosta scored his ninth and Brandon Vazquez added his team-leading 17th goal in a late failed comeback effort from down three goals for Cincinnati (11-9-13, 46 points). The home team would’ve clinched its first-ever playoff appearance with a victory and a loss this weekend from either Columbus, Miami or Orlando.
Cincinnati’s Sergio Santos received a late red card for a late scuffle with Chicago defender Rafael Czichos, meaning he’ll miss his team’s regular season finale at D.C. United.
Cincy remains in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, but only one point above the playoff line and with the four teams beneath them all holding at least one match in hand.
Gutierrez did some exceptional work to set up Duran’s opener, chesting down a pass from Mauricio Pineda, spinning and sending a throughball into his fellow teenager’s path. Duran took it from there, firing a low finish on the run past Roman Celentano to give the visitors a shock lead.
Gutierrez doubled it three minutes later on an excellent attack down the right. Czichos sprayed a ball down the left for Chris Mueller, who then sent in an early cross as Gutierrez raced behind the back line to meet it. Gutierrez easily finished past a stranded Celentano for his second league goal this season.
He was then perhaps generously awarded another assist in the 75th minute when he lumped the ball forward toward Duran.
With Celentano charging, Duran lofted an excellently weighted half-volley over him and under the crossbar to make it 3-0.
Acosta answered in the 78th and Vazquez set up some dramatic final moments 11 minutes later. Alvaro Barreal then came closest to scoring an equalizer when his effort from distance deep in second-half stoppage time rolled fractions wide of the right post.
–Field Level Media