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Chicago Fire FC Welcome Fans to Soldier Field, Start off New Season with Point in Home Opener

April 17, 2021 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Chicago Fire FC News Release


CHICAGO - On a clear and crisp night that saw fans return to Soldier Field -- Welcome Home! -- Chicago Fire FC (0-0-1, 1 point) tied the New England Revolution (0-0-1, 1 point) 2-2 in an exciting, back-and-forth season opener on the lakefront. The game saw all four goals scored in the first half. Chicago designated player Robert Berić opened the scoring in the fifth minute and Luka Stojanović, playing in his first match at Soldier Field after suffering an injury last season, scored his first goal as a member of the Fire in the 11th minute. New England received goals from forward Adam Buksa, a teammate of Fire midfielder Przemysław Frankowski with the Poland National Team, and designated player Gustavo Bou.

NEXT GAME: Chicago Fire FC go on the road to Mercedes-Benz Stadium for a match on Saturday, April 24 against Atlanta United FC. The match will begin at 7:00 p.m. CT and will be broadcast live on WGN-TV and CFFC Live/ChicagoFireFC.com. The match will also be transmitted locally in Spanish on Latino Mix 93.5FM.

Social: Twitter - @chicagofire, @vamosfire (Hashtags: #CFFC, #VamosFire) | Instagram - @chicagofire | Facebook

NOTES:

The Fire provided 250 essential workers with complimentary tickets to tonight's match to thank them for all of their sacrifices during the ongoing pandemic. Additionally, the Fire highlighted and honored Caryn Curry and Colleen Cicchetti from Lurie's Children's Hospital with a video followed by a live recognition.

With tonight's draw, the Fire now holds a 27-23-15 all-time regular season record against New England. Additionally, the draw places the Fire's all-time home opener record to 11-7-6 since 1998.

Tonight's match marked the first time the Club has hosted a season-opening game at Soldier Field since beginning play in MLS in 1998.

The return of fans tonight marked the first time the Fire has hosted fans for a regular season game at Soldier Field since Oct. 21, 2005. The Club's final match at Soldier Field in 2005 was a 0-0 draw against D.C. United in the MLS Cup Playoffs.

Forward Robert Berić, who earned Heineken Man of the Match honors, notched his first goal and first assist of the season. Berić led the team with 12 goals last season, six of which were scored at Soldier Field.

Midfielder Luka Stojanović recorded his first MLS goal and first MLS assist in his Soldier Field debut. Stojanović played just 61 minutes in 2020 after suffering a season-ending injury in the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando.

Midfielder Przemysław Frankowski and defender Boris Sekulić recorded their first assists of the season.

Forward Chinonso Offor made his MLS debut for the Fire, starting the match and playing 75 minutes.

Chicago Public School teacher Cicely Perry sang the National Anthem ahead of tonight's match. Perry has been a teacher for 10 years in the Chicagoland area.

The Fire became the first MLS team to debut an on-field rail cam during tonight's game. The rail cam, which captures game speed action along the sideline, will be featured at all of the Fire's home games in 2021. Footage from the rail cam is highlighted on the in-stadium video boards and the Club's broadcast.

Allison Arwady, the Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, delivered the game ball prior to tonight's match.

Tonight's match marked the debut of the Club's Ring of Fire banners in Soldier Field. The Ring of Fire tribute began in 2003. The banners will be featured for all Fire home matches this season. For more information on the Ring of Fire, click here.

Goals:

CHI - Berić (1) (Sekulić 1, Stojanović 1) (WATCH) 5'

CHI - Stojanović (1) (Berić 1, Frankowski 1) (WATCH) 11'

NE - Buksa (1) (Gil 1) (WATCH) 14'

NE - Bou (1) (Buchanan 1) (WATCH) 27'

Discipline:

CHI - Kappelhof (Yellow Card - Foul) 79'

NE - D. Jones (Red Card - Professional Foul Last Man) 90' + 3'

Box Score:

Chicago Fire FC 2:2 New England Revolution

Chicago Fire FC: GK Shuttleworth, D Sekulić, D Kappelhof, D Calvo ©, D Bornstein, M Medrán, M Giménez, M Frankowski, M Stojanović (M Aliseda 66'), M Offor (D Navarro 75'), F Berić

Subs not used: GK G. Slonina, D Omsberg, D Espinoza, D Reynolds II, D/M Pineda, M Casas Jr., M Gutiérrez

New England Revolution: GK Turner, D Bye, D Farrell, D Kessler, D Jones, M Gil ©, M Polster, M McNamara (M Kaptoum 83'), F Buksa (Kizza 83'), F Bou, F Buchanan (F Bunbury 61')

Subs not used: GK Knighton, D DeLaGarza, D Bell, M Boateng, M Caldwell

Stats Summary: CHI / NE

Shots: 20 / 13

Shots on Goal: 7 / 5

Passing Accuracy: 77.7% / 73.1%

Saves: 3 / 5

Corners: 7 / 10

Fouls: 15 / 9

Offsides: 0 / 0

Possession: 51.2% / 48.8%

Attendance: 8,102 (limited capacity)

Note: The Fire opened the 100 and 200 levels of Soldier Field, socially distanced. The 300 level, only on the east side of the stadium and also socially distanced, was also open.

Referee: Fotis Bazakos

Assistant Referees: Brian Poeschel, Peter Manikowski

Fourth Official: Lukasz Szapala

VAR: Malik Badawi, Michael Kampmeinert


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