In a game that saw two red cards and the Fire’s Bastian Schweinsteiger nab a goal in his MLS debut, Luis Solignac’s last-minute goal in the 93’ allowed the Fire to snag a point away from Montreal at home.
After the Impact scored two second-half goals that gave them the lead and seemed to put away the Men in Red, Dax McCarty struck a perfectly placed lob from midfield to the chest of Solignac, who struck the volley from just outside the box into the bottom left corner of the net.
Despite the heroics from McCarty and Solignac to help the Fire earn a point back in Bridgeview, a Toyota Park that seemed slightly more crowded than usual was busy focusing on the 2014 World Cup winner, Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Although there was much speculation prior to the game as to how much (if at all) Schweinsteiger would actually play, the German saw all of the game’s ninety minutes from his starting midfield position alongside Dax McCarty. Wasting little time to showcase his value to a Fire team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2012, Schweinsteiger put away a header in the 17’ from a curling David Accam cross.
Besides his goal production, Schweinsteiger was clearly an asset to the team throughout the match, utilizing his close dribbling skills to create space on the field where normally there is none for the Fire. More than once his spot-on passing came into play, and it was his perfectly weighted through ball toward the box that resulted in Victor Cabera ‘s second yellow card for tripping up Solignac in a goal-scoring opportunity.
Chicago’s Juninho also received two yellows and was sent off in the 71’, which left both teams with only ten men after Cabera’s red in the 81’.
With Schweinsteiger on the pitch, the Chicago Fire moreover saw a noteworthy statistical improvement from their only other home game of the season. In that match three weeks ago against Real Salt Lake, the Fire had 20 percent less possession and 14 percent less pass accuracy than their performance with the German star against Montreal.
Of course, the match against Real Salt Lake ended with a three-point shutout for the Fire, while Montreal was able to put two near-post goals past Jorge Bava. Nonetheless, Schweinsteiger’s MLS debut at Toyota Park will no doubt be considered a success in a game that ended as a tie but felt like a win.
If the Fire can patch up their defense going forward into these next two home matches against Columbus and then New England, they will be quite a meal to handle for any opponent – especially with a dangerous new attacking lineup that features the likes of one Bastian Schweinsteiger, who does not look like he will be disappointing Chicago soccer fans.