Real Salt Lake 0 vs. Chicago Fire 1
October 23, 2021; Soldiers’ Ground, Chicago, Illinois
Real Salt Lake (12-12-6, 42 points); Chicago Fire (9-16-7, 34 points)
Man of the match: Goalkeeper David Ochoa was tasked with withstanding Chicago’s offensive pressure early in the game. The Fire harassed the goal, launching 26 shots, 10 of which were on target. Ochoa managed to make 8 saves in an attempt to keep RSL in the game, tying his previous career record in one game.
Tell-tale statistics: Visiting the Eastern Conference for the first and only time this season, Real Salt Lake have been held scoreless for the first time since August 4 against LAFC and for only the fifth time this year in 30 appearances. Seventeen-year-old goaltender Gabriel Slonina won between the Chicago posts, making five saves against an RSL team that scored the third-most goals (48) in the Western Conference.
What you missed: Interim head coach Pablo Mastroeni deployed the same starting XI that beat Colorado Rapids 3-1 last Saturday to lift the Rocky Mountain Cup, but against an unknown Eastern Conference team couldn’t find the same fortune. Additionally, forward Bobby Wood returned to the pitch for the first time since August 18, missing a series of games with hamstring strain. Wood replaced Pablo Ruiz in the second half in the 85th minute.
And after: There are four games left in the 2021 MLS regular season, with RSL closing the schedule in just 12 days. RSL will first visit FC Dallas on Wednesday, October 27, before returning to Rio Tinto Stadium to host the San Jose earthquakes on Saturday, October 30. The final two games will be played the following week against Portland Timbers on Wednesday, November 3 at home, then at Sporting Kansas City on Sunday, November 7 on Major League Soccer ‘Decision Day’ to end this campaign.