Fire tally late to knot New York City FC, 1-1

ByReuters ESPN logo
Sunday, March 5, 2023

Fabian Herbers pounded a deflected strike past goalkeeper Luis Barraza in the 75th minute and the Chicago Fire salvaged a 1-1 tie with visiting New York City FC on Saturday night.

Herbers' first goal of 2023 in the opener for Chicago (0-0-1, 1 point) matched his total in all of 2022 for a Fire side that scored only 39 times, the second-lowest number in MLS last season.

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And the midfielder's strike came on a night when they got only one half combined from the men expected to be the team's top scoring weapons.

Kei Kamara came on at halftime after he arrived from Montreal in a trade earlier this week. Georgios Koutsias is still awaiting his work visa after being signed from Panathinaikos in Greece.

The Fire also saw midfielder Federico Navarro depart after 14 minutes with an apparent leg injury.

Gabriel Pereira scored the first goal of the season for NYCFC (0-1-1, 1 point) after they were shut out 2-0 by Nashville in their opener.

Like Chicago, City is also dealing with issues at center forward after losing Valentin Castellanos to a transfer to Girona in Spain last summer, followed by Heber's departure in a trade to Seattle this offseason.

Defensive midfielder James Sands started in his season debut for NYCFC after a year-long loan at Glasgow Rangers, and Santiago Rodriguez came off the bench for his first game in 2023 after his permanent acquisition became official Friday.

Herbers' equalizer came on the second phase of Xherdan Shaqiri's free kick. The initial service perhaps sailed longer than intended but found Kamara at the back post, who headed the ball across the face of goal.

City attempted to clear but only as far as Herbers, who unleashed a shot that deflected off the thigh of City's Talles Magno and past the wrong-footed Barraza.

Pereira put the visitors ahead in the 39th minute on what began as a broken play. But the ball found the winger at the edge of the penalty area on the right flank, and after a couple steps forward, he guided a low, left-footed strike into the bottom left corner beyond Spencer Richey's dive.