First to score an official Avaya goal was Fatai Alashe (who posted my pic on his instagram!) off a set piece from MPG at 5′. Ty Harden doubled the lead in 21′ with a nifty meg of Sean Johnson on a rebound. Ironically, it took Fatai Alashe one home game to score his first goal. It took Ty Harden eight seasons. Harry Shipp, whom I also highlighted in my pre-match report, got one back for Chicago at 29′, which turned out to be the final score.
I predicted a 2-2 draw, and I stand by that prediction. When you look at the stats, the game was close! The Quakes had 13 shots to Chicago’s 12. Chicago led possession 58% to 42% (wow!). Chicago had eight scoring chances to the Quakes’s seven. Chicago had 454 passes to the Quakes’s 312. The difference came with shots on target: the Quakes had six (converting two, 33% accuracy) whereas Chicago had four (converting one, 25% accuracy). It was not a blow-out win, but a hard-fought victory.
My man of the match: Ty Harden. His first MLS goal proved to be game winner, and his defense was put to the test to hold the victory. He is not a starter, and did have a few miscues, but he hung in and delivered when needed.
Final thought: this team is for real. Our only loss was to Dallas, who is now 3-0, and that loss was a stoppage time goal which could have been a draw. If we drew Dallas, we’d be tied for first place. Once our starters get back (Stewart specifically, and hopefully Renato over Bernardez) and we can play our starting XI, we should have a great team going forward into the year.
Next game: At New England Revolution on 3/28.