Top Stories

Brian Gutierrez poised to have bigger impact for Chicago Fire

Brian Gutierrez has continued to take growing steps with the Chicago Fire over the last two MLS seasons and Saturday’s Man of the Match showing at Subaru Park was a positive start to what could be his best season yet.

Gutierrez helped the Fire hang on to one point in a 2-2 road draw with the Philadelphia Union. The 20-year-old homegrown attacker scored a stunning opening striker for Frank Klopas’ squad before unselfishly setting up Fabian Herbers for Chicago’s second goal of the match.

In a match which featured several standouts such as Daniel Gazdag, Xherdan Shaqiri, Julian Carranza, and others, it was Gutierrez who excelled the most.

“I think it’s great to see and good to take that initiative,” Klopas said postmatch about Gutierrez. “It’s something that we’ve talked to him about, that he needs to have a bigger impact in the final third with his ability and quality. It’s great to see him taking that initiative and taking shots from the outside and finishing plays, because I think he has that ability to do so. He needs to do it more often and he needs to have that kind of impact in games, and it was great. I’m really happy for him.

“As you can see, I’ve been with him now over four years and I’ve seen his growth,” Klopas added. “This is a big step for us and one of the things that we talked to him about from last year, one is just runs off the ball, getting in good spots and obviously just taking more initiative on himself and finishing plays off. It was great to see that tonight. Fantastic goal.”

Gutierrez cut onto his right foot in the 39th minute before unleashing a powerful right-footed effort which Union backup goalkeeper Oliver Semmle could not handle. It marked Gutierrez’s fifth-career goal for the Fire after totaling a combined four tallies over the 2022-23 seasons respectively.

Despite the Union fighting back through Gazdag’s equalizer, the Fire looked to have snatched all three points in the 82nd minute when Gutierrez made the extra pass to a wide open Herbers for a calm finish. However, Mikael Uhre’s stoppage-time finish grabbed a point for Jim Curtin’s men, ending a thrilling opening weekend affair between the two Eastern Conference clubs.

Gutierrez was pleased with his opening goal of the season and believes it’s a springboard of more to come.

“Yeah, I stayed wide,” he said. “I was waiting for the ball. Luckily I got the ball, and Fabi [Fabian Herbers] flicking it towards me. I saw a gap in between, what was it, [Jose] Martinez and the other center back, [Jakob] Glesnes, and so I went between the gap and tried to cut again, cut inside. I just didn’t think about it. I just said, why not shoot it and I shoot it. Honestly it was a great goal, and more to come, for sure.”

A former U.S. under-16 and under-20 men’s national team player, Gutierrez is one of several young players hoping a strong start to MLS play boosts him into this summer’s USMNT Olympic squad. Gutierrez has already made a pair of appearances for Marko Mitrovic’s squad and certainly will be on the radar after Saturday’s strong debut to the season.

The young attacker is only controlling what he can control though, knowing the next few months will dictate his international future this summer.

“Like I always say in the interviews, I try to always do the best on the field with the Club, and towards that, towards doing good on the field with the Club, I think everything will implement itself, and yeah, obviously will hopefully get a call from him [U.S. Men’s National Team Head Coach Gregg Berhalter],” Gutierrez said. “We’ll see what happens.”

Leave a Comment