Aleksandar Katai's second-half brace carries Chicago Fire past NYCFC
Forward Aleksandar Katai scored two second-half goals to lead the Chicago Fire to a 3-2 victory over New York City FC on Saturday night at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill.
Forward Nemanja Nikolic also scored a goal, and midfielder Dax McCarty had two assists for the Fire. Chicago is unbeaten over its last five matches in Major League Soccer play.
Midfielder Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and forward Jo Inge Berget scored goals for New York City FC. NYCFC had a 19-5 edge in shots, but just six of them were on target as they dropped six points behind first-place Atlanta United (37), who beat Orlando City 4-0 on Saturday, in the Eastern Conference. All five of the Fire’s shots were on target.
NYCFC played without All-Star forward David Villa due to a right knee injury.
NYCFC’s chance to gain a tie in the 94th minute was thwarted when defender Anton Tinnerholm’s blistering right-footed, long-range shot was knocked over the goal by Fire goalkeeper Richard Sanchez (four saves).
Chicago trailed at half-time, but Katai knotted the score at 2 in the second minute of the second half. He eluded defender Ben Sweat and sent a left-footed shot into the left corner of the goal.
Katai was back at it in the 52nd minute when he sidestepped defender Alexander Callens and moved right in on NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson. He easily sent a point-blanked left-footer past Johnson to give the Fire a 3-2 edge.
Berget nearly tied the contest in the 73rd minute as his header sailed over the head of Sanchez, but the ball hit the crossbar and was cleared away.
In the 83rd minute, NYCFC’s Jonathan Lewis watched his close-range right-footed shot go just over the top of the goal.
Chicago struck first six minutes into the game. McCarty threaded a pass upfield to Nikolic, who sent a left-footed grounder into the left corner of the net.
NYCFC tied the score in the 36th minute when Tajouri-Shradi delivered a left-footed shot that barely slid past the diving right hand of Sanchez.
Just four minutes later, NYCFC went ahead 2-1 as Tinnerholm fed Berget, who headed the ball into the right corner of the net.
The Fire halted a six-match winless stretch against NYCFC.
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