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Bastian Schweinsteiger 'everything we were expecting' - Fire's Veljko Paunovic

Chicago Fire coach Veljko Paunovic said Bastian Schweinsteiger was "everything that we were expecting" after the German star scored in his MLS debut on Saturday.

Schweinsteiger scored Chicago's opening goal in the first half, put a second effort just wide of the post and set upLuis Solignac for a late equalizer in the 2-2 draw with the Montreal Impact.

The Fire have had the lowest points total in MLS the past two seasons, but Paunovic saidSchweinsteiger's presence made a big difference in a number of ways.

"I think he was great," Paunovic said of the Fire's new acquisition. "To start the debut with a goal, it's always something that we all dream of. Opening the game as we did with his goal was an important thing for our team.

"On his game, we improved obviously; with his quality passes in the final third, smoothness in the build-up and calm, we were more patient with the ball and that helped the team, especially in the first half."

A loss appeared to be on the cards when the Fire fell behind in the 90th minute, butPaunovic credited Schweinsteiger with leading the effort to salvage a draw.

"In the second half, he showed and we saw his character and mentality, with one man down we pushed hard and he was pushing our guys in the 92nd minute to try to win the game," Paunovic said.

"Everything that we were expecting, he showed in this game. We have to work, obviously to give him the best possible support and recovery and prepare him throughout the whole season, but we are very happy with his performance."

Schweinsteiger left Manchester United less than two weeks ago, following a trying season in which his former manager Jose Mourinho relegated him to the outskirts of the first team.

And the 32-year-old said he was "not nervous but just happy to play football" as he returned to the pitch for his first MLS game.

"It was a great feeling," Schweinsteiger told reporters. "Perfect cross from David [Accam] on the header. It was a good feeling at first, but I'm a little bit sad and not so happy that we couldn't win the game."

Schweinsteiger went the full 90 minutes despite a recent lack of game action amid trying to get settled in the U.S., but he said he was happy with his fitness level.

"It's not easy, I came here I think four or five days ago," he said. "But it was OK, I was actually prepared, and also the training session here was very good, so I will definitely also work on my fitness to have more power and put more energy into the game. But I'm actually satisfied."

Both teams ended the game with 10 men, as Chicago had Juninho booked for a second time in the 71st minute, and Montreal had Victor Cabrera sent off nine minutes later.

But Schweinsteiger said he was pleased with how the Fire dealt with the adversity, even if the result wasn't quite what he dreamed of.

"It was not easy after the red card, but I told the team it was a good reaction," he said. "It was 10 players, we tried to get chances and it was a very good reaction and I think we deserved the draw at the end. We have to live with it, with the one point, but it was a very good reaction."

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Herculez Gomez and Alexis Nunes break down Bastian Schweinsteiger's MLS debut in Chicago's draw with Montreal.

WATCH: Schweini scores in MLS debut
WATCH: Schweini scores in MLS debut
Bastian Schweinsteiger scores on a header to give Chicago Fire the lead in his MLS debut.

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sportsespnchicago firemanchester unitedbastian schweinsteigermajor league soccer
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