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Charlotte FC silence Fire to end road winless streak

Ashley Westwood scored in the first half and Karol Swiderski converted a penalty kick after the break, as Charlotte FC won their first road match in more than four months, 2-0 over the Chicago Fire on Saturday night.

After ending an 0-2-4 rut with a 3-0 midweek victory over Toronto FC, Charlotte (9-11-12, 39 points) kept its playoff hopes alive — and delivered a blow to the Fire’s postseason chances — by snapping an eight-match MLS winless road stretch (0-5-3) that dated to a 1-0 victory at Los Angeles on May 27. With two matches remaining, Charlotte is just out of playoff position in the Eastern Conference.

Meanwhile, Chicago (10-13-10, 40 points) entered in playoff position in the East, and looked for a third straight win. However, Charlotte showed more fight while frustrating the Fire, who didn’t record their first shot on target until well after an hour into the match en route to falling out of playoff position.

Chicago’s most recent playoff appearance was in 2017.

Both sides played with spirit from the start, but Charlotte generated more sustained pressure through the first 20 minutes. The visitors were rewarded in the 23rd minute on Westwood’s right-footed strike from the edge of the area that left Chicago goalkeeper Chris Bady with no chance to stop.

Then just before the hour mark, Chicago’s Miguel Navarro fouled Charlotte’s Enzo Copetti, following a VAR review, in the box. Swiderski, who converted two tries from the spot against Toronto, came through again in the 58th.

Swiderski has scored five of his team-leading 12 goals in his last five matches.

Chicago began to show signs of life. However, Charlotte goalkeeper Kristijan Kahlina stopped Maren Haile-Selassie’s threatening one-timer in the 67th minute Kahlina then stopped Rafael Czichos’ point-blank push at the 72-minute mark.

The Fire continued to press, but to no avail as Charlotte posted back-to-back clean sheets for the first time this season.

–Field Level Media

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