Brian Gutierrez, Fire top Galaxy to halt lengthy winless streak

ByField Level Media ESPN logo
Sunday, June 2, 2024

Homegrown midfielder Brian Gutierrez scored the tiebreaking goal just past the hour mark, and the Chicago Fire rallied to snap a nine-match winless rut with Saturday night's 2-1 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Galaxy.

Tied 1-1 in the 61st minute, the 20-year-old Gutierrez, hailing from suburban Berwyn, Ill., and given a more prominent role with veteran Xherdan Shaqiri unavailable, intercepted the ball at midfield to begin his attack. He then sent a hard grounder that hit one post, then the other, before crossing the goal line and out of reach from Galaxy goalkeeper Novak Micovic.

Chicago (3-8-6, 15 points) then remained stout defensively to end an 0-5-4 stretch. Hugo Cuypers' 32nd-minute goal equalized after the Fire went down 1-0 seven minutes into the match via Riqui Puig's successful penalty shot.

Los Angeles (7-3-7, 28 points) was trying for three wins in a span of eight days. Instead, the Galaxy fell to 0-2-3 in their past five MLS road contests.

Things looked bleak early for Chicago. Off a fourth-minute Los Angeles corner, the ball hit off the arm of Fire defender Rafael Czichos in the box but was not initially whistled. However, review overturned the obvious foul, and Puig drove his penalty chance into the lower corner of the net three minutes later.

Los Angeles continued to dominate possession and did not allow a Chicago shot until just past the half-hour mark. However, the home side certainly made it count.

Gutierrez won the ball near midfield and pushed into the middle of the box, where an ultimately opportunistic Cuypers made the Galaxy pay for not clearing the area.

Each side had a golden opportunity to go ahead right out of the gate in the second half.

Maren Haile-Selassie's right-foot strike from the center-front missed wide in the 47th minute for Chicago. Then moments later. Los Angeles' Jonathan Perez, making his first MLS start, went high with an open shot off the press.

After Chicago went ahead, Fire homegrown keeper Chris Brady made consecutive point-blank saves in rapid succession on shots from Dejan Joveljic and Julian Aude in the 69th minute.

--Field Level Media

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