The goalscoring designated players took center stage at Toyota Park as the Chicago Fire drew 1-1 with New York City FC on Saturday.
The opener came after 20 minutes, with Nemanja Nikolic scoring his 21st goal of the season. The Hungarian scored after a defensive gaffe by the away side, eventually resulting in the him winning the ball inches from the goal line and easily scoring.
NYCFC managed to rescue a point thanks to David Villa, who put one in two minutes before the break. The forward scored his 20th goal of the season with a shot from a wide angle, giving goalkeeper Matt Lampson little chance to stop it.
While the match did not see much more in terms of attacking prowess as there was only one shot on target being registered in the second half. The golden boot race did heat up though. Two of the top goalscorers this season recorded yet another goal. Nikolic currently leads the league with 21 goals, while Villa is tied for second, along with the Portland Timbers’ Diego Valeri with 20.
The match also marked the return of the Fire’s Bastian Schweinsteiger, who missed four matches with an injury. Unfortunately for the home side, the injury woes continued with a different player, as Michael de Leeuw came off after only 30 minutes.
The draw keeps the Fire down in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, still a point back of Atlanta United for third. They’ve already clinched a playoff spot and will continue to round out their regular season in two weeks time when they host Philadelphia Union.
New York City FC, meanwhile, continues to hold onto second place ahead of Atlanta. They will play New England Revolution on the road on October 15.
MAN OF THE MATCH
David Villa’s great run of form continued as he grabbed yet another goal to add to his impressive tally. As is the usual, he threatened the Fire’s defense all night and recording a crucial goal to earn his side a point on the road.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
New York City’s goal on the night came courtesy of an impressive move from captain David Villa. The World Cup champion managed to level the score with two minutes left in the first half after getting into a wide spot in the penalty area. Despite the tough angle, he shot anyway and scored an impressive and important goal.
MATCH TO FORGET
The Chicago Fire’s goal was remarkable to watch, in part because of New York City’s defending. With the home side providing pressure in the box, they continued to hold on to the ball in the penalty area. Maxi Moralez, in particular, mismanaged the situation and conceded the ball to Nemanja Nikolic with little space in between them and the goal, and he easily finished form there.