Red-hot Fire win on road, move into playoff spot

Kacper Przybylko scored twice to lead the Fire to a 3-2 victory. They improved to 4-0-1 in their last five matches and moved past Charlotte into seventh place, the final playoff spot, in the Eastern Conference.

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Kacper Przybylko scored twice Saturday against Charlotte FC, including the go-ahead goal in the 52nd minute.

Chicago Fire FC

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Kacper Przybylko scored twice to lead the Fire to a 3-2 victory over Charlotte FC on Saturday at Bank of America Stadium.

The Fire (8-10-6, 30 points) improved to 4-0-1 in their last five matches and moved past Charlotte (9-13-2, 29 points) into seventh place, the final playoff spot, in the Eastern Conference.

“We are still not putting away as many chances as we should, but we are doing it enough to win because we play very good defensively as a team,” coach Ezra Hendrickson said. “Even though tonight we gave up a couple soft goals, we were able to on the road score three goals to win this game, and that’s not easy to do, especially in a place like this with those type of fans and that type of atmosphere.”

Yordy Reyna gave Charlotte a 1-0 lead in the first minute, but the Fire answered with back-to-back goals from Przybylko and Federico Navarro three minutes apart to take a 2-1 lead in the 24th minute. It was Navarro’s second goal of the season and his third career MLS goal for the Fire.

Charlotte pulled even on Karol Swiderski’s goal in the 45th minute.

The Fire took the lead for good on Przybylko’s goal in the 52nd minute — his team-leading fifth of the season. Xherdan Shaqiri assisted.

“For me personally, it’s like an ego boost, confidence boost, and I’m happy to score again because it’s basically my job,” said Przybylko, who hadn’t scored since May 28. “But at the end of the day, it’s also important that I kept some balls in and some wins and really doing my job as a striker and making space for my teammates.”

The Fire outshot Charlotte 14-12 with an 8-5 edge in shots on goal. Gaga Slonina had three saves for the Fire. Kristijan Kahlina stopped five shots for Charlotte.

The Fire earned their first consecutive road victories since October 2013.

Jonathan Bornstein returned to the lineup for the first time since July 16 after being placed in health and safety protocols. The start marked the 200th MLS regular-season appearance of his career.

The Fire played without Rafael Czichos, who wasn’t feeling well enough to travel. He tested negative for the coronavirus after feeling sick Friday.

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