Dax McCarty slotted a beautiful 40-yard through ball to assist Nemanja Nikolic in a one-time strike that deflected past Zack Steffen to give the Fire the lead, and that was enough for a three-point victory.
Still, the game was an even battle throughout, and Fire goalkeeper Jorge Bava’s final save in second half stoppage-time – albeit a routine one – was necessary to secure the win.
Nikolic has admittedly looked lost all season up top, and his close range header early in the game – a shot that carried as much authority as it did impressive athleticism – was denied by a diving save from Steffen. But Nikolic’s determination to make amends led to his goal in the 22′, keeping the Fire undefeated at home.
David Accam, who since his naming to the MLS’s first 2017 Team of the Week has seen his performances fall relatively flat, also looked dangerous with two good opportunities. Altogether, the Fire wrapped up the match with 11 shots, half of which found the target.
Chicago’s seasonally porous midfield was undoubtedly tighter today, thanks in part to the Schweinsteiger and McCarty duo’s visible improvement in chemistry and spacing from last week’s match against Montreal.
The continued improvement of the Men in Red since their 4-0 dismantlement at Atlanta will be tested once more next Saturday, when they host the New England Revolution in the last match of their three-game home stretch at Toyota Park.