Chicago Fire vs Inter Miami score, goals and highlights | MLS
Chicago Fire vs Inter Miami: As it happened
Chicago Fire secured an impressive victory over Inter Miami at Soldier Field, leaving the Herons' hopes of reaching the playoffs hanging by a thread.
It was billed as a potential playoff decider between two teams with ambitions of forcing their way into the post-season picture. The first half passed by without major incident but the game exploded into life after the break.
Xherdan Shaqiri broke the deadlock for Chicago, before Josef Martinez struck back almost immediately from the penalty spot.
Then came the game-winning introduction of Maren Haile-Selassie off the substitute's bench for the hosts. He scored twice in quick succession to put his side firmly in control, before Shaqiri made sure with a fine strike from the edge of the box.
A night to remember for Chicago and one that looks to have extinguished Miami's hopes of making it to the playoffs.
Chicago celebrates crucial MLS win
With just weeks to go until Decision Day, the stakes could scarcely have been higher at Soldier Field. After an even first half the game exploded into life after the break and Chicago Fire took control of the match.
Miami made chances but the fourth goal, a fine strike form Xherdan Shaqiri, wrapped up the three points for the hosts.
Full time at Soldier Field!
Chicago Fire has a deeply impressive and absolutely crucial victory over Inter Miami, a key night in the hunt for the playoffs.
Late chance for Shaqiri but Callender is equal to his left-footed shot. On second glance, it looks like the Chicago forward would have been ruled offside anyway.
Chicago are keeping the ball in the Miami half with good composure in possession and some neat footwork from Shaqiri. They just need to play out the final minutes here and they have a vital victory.
There will be a minimum of three minutes of added time at Soldier Field.
One Chicago player who deserves particular credit tonight is Ousmane Doumbia. The midfielder has been crucial throughout, breaking down Miami attacks are showing good composure on the ball when in possession.
Inter Miami enjoy a decent spell of possession but a sloppy pass from Yedlin gives the ball away. The Miami captain then gives a free kick away trying to battle to retrieve possession.
The Herons are looking frustrated now.
Chicago Fire are looking to play out the final minutes with the minimum of fuss. Inter Miami are trying to press high but they just don't seem to have the off-the-ball structures to really make life difficult for the hosts.
Xherdan Shaqiri lights up Soldier Field
He has flattered to deceive in his two years with the Chicago Fire, drawing criticism at some points and scoring just three goals in his first 25 MLS games this season.
Shaqiri has flipped that on its head tonight and starred for Chicago with a crucial brace in the second half tonight. Here's the second of his two goals...
As we approach the final ten minutes of normal time there is really no way for Inter Miami to get back into the game tonight. The body language of the Miami players has completely changed since that flurry of Chicago goals and they look consigned to their fate.
Confirmation that 62,124 fans have packed into Soldier Field tonight, smashing the previous franchise record for biggest MLS attendance. What a performance in front of a record-breaking crowd!
It's been a helter-skelter game since the break but Chicago Fire have shown their quality when it mattered, while Miami have squandered their chances. Tonight could be crucial in the race for the playoffs.
GOOOOOOAAAAAL! Chicago Fire
Is that the goal that seals it!? Xherdan Shaqiri puts the Fire three goals ahead with a brilliant strike from the edge of the box!
He cut inside to get the ball onto his left foot and whipped the ball past Callender and into the bottom corner.
WATCH: Maren Haile-Selassie puts Chicago ahead
Here's the first goal of Maren Haile-Selassie's quick-fire brace. It was a neat through ball to put him in on goal and he made no mistake with the finish.
In stark contrast to Miami, Chicago have been absolutely ruthless in this second half and deserve their lead. With little over twenty minutes of normal time remaining they have a two-goal advantage as they look to push for the playoffs.
This will be a real test of Miami's fortitude now. They have looked good on the ball in spells but have failed to take their chances and those same old defensive frailties are returning to their play.
Incredible scenes at Soldier Field as Hailee-Selassie gets his second goal in just ten minutes on the pitch! The balls was whipped in from the right wing and the young forward was there to slot the ball past Callender!
Chicago are in control now, can Miami respond?
It's completely against the run of play but Chicago Fire are ahead courtesy for Hailee-Selassie! The substitute is played in one-on-one and fires confidently past Callender in the Miami goal.
What a start to the second half!
Dogged defending from Chicago keeps the scores level with a strong block from a Farias effort.
So close! Miami
Inter Miami are really purring now and it was Martinez pulling the strings again! A neat flick sends Cremaschi sprinting through on goal but his right-footed effort slides just wide of the post.
Chicago are living dangerously now. Corner kick to Miami.
Chance! Inter Miami
A sharp attack from Miami gets Martinez sprinting forward. He plays the ball across goal to Farias but the Argentine forward was under pressure and can't direct his first-time effort on target.
Brilliant recovery work from Doumbia to make life difficult for the Miami forward.
First substitution of the game comes from Chicago, who bring on Haile-Selassie to replace Gutierrez.
What an opening to the second half! If the first half was a bit quiet the game has sparked into life since the break. Two goals, a penalty and a booking for Inter Miami head coach Tata Martino.
GOOOOOAAAAL! Inter Miami
Josef Martinez levels it from the spot! It was a confidently-taken penalty from the Venezuelan to equalise for the Herons.
We've really got a game on now!
It's a penalty!
Martinez to take for Miami....
We've got a game on now! Miami are straight back on the attack and Dean is penalised for a handball in the box!
VAR is going to check this, and maybe give a red card...
Shaqiri gives his side the lead in crucial clash
It was a brilliant attacking move from Chicago that carved through the Miami defence. Gutierrez found himself behind the visitors' backline and pulled back a clever pass.
Shaqiri was lurking on the edge of the box and strode onto the ball to confidently strike the ball into the back of the net. Is that the lift-off moment that Shaqiri has been waiting for in Chicago?
GOOOOAAAAAL! Chicago Fire
There it is! Chicago Fire have the breakthrough and it's Xherdan Shaqiri with the goal! A massive goal in the season for Chicago!
Inter Miami look to start the game on the front foot, winning a corner and looking to get Taylor free on the right wing. Yedlin couldn't quite find the decisive pass.
Interesting little moment at the break as Inter Miami head coach Gerardo 'Tata' Martino was booked by the referee! The Herons came out a couple of minutes late for the second half and Martino received an admonishment from the official.
And we're back!
Here comes a crucial 45 minutes at Soldier Field. No changes at the break for either team.
Here we go...
We're nearly ready for the second half in Chicago...
Chicago Fire head coach Frank Klopas speaks to reporters at half time and says that he wants a bit more composure from his side.
"I think we need to be more calm on the ball. We need to be calm in possession because we've made the chances," he said.
So close! And yet so far...
This deflected effort from Koutsias was the the closest that we came to a breakthrough at Soldier Field. Chicago Fire's Greek striker was just inches away from putting his side ahead.
Charlotte continue playoff push
Chicago and Miami are both looking to further their playoff push tonight, but there are a number of other teams on the brink of making it to the post-season. One of those, Charlotte FC, are enjoying a comfortable victory over Toronto FC tonight.
Just check out this stunner from Brecht Degaegere!
So who will be the happier of that first half? There were no real clear-cut chances for either side and both Chicago and Miami will be looking for an improvement after the break.
Results elsewhere, including a resounding victory for Charlotte, mean that both of these teams really need a win tonight to keep their playoff dreams alive. That should mean that this game really opens up as the minutes tick away, with goals likely in the second 45.
Half time at Soldier Field!
There's no added time after a fairly uneventful first half in Chicago. With so much at stake, the tension is high.
Chicago have grown in confidence as this game has worn on and are now looking to press Inter Miami on the edge of their own box. The attacking duo of Gutierrez and Koutsias are working well together off the ball, but haven't quite found that crucial breakthrough.
The Inter Miami midfielder is booked for pulling down Gutierrez on the halfway line.
So close! Chicago
The hosts should be ahead! Koutsias picks up the ball in the edge of the box and bundles towards goal. He stabs the ball towards goal and, with a little deflection from Kryvstov, bounces back off the post.
Miami survive again.
Inter Miami stay strong under an aerial bombardment and finally win a free kick that allows them to clear the danger.
Chicago have looked the more dangerous of the two teams in the last ten minutes, although it's mainly coming from corner kicks. Set pieces have been an issue for Miami this year and, in Shaqiri, Chicago have one of the best takers in the league.
Chicago have a flurry of corners that Miami manage to clear, but not particularly confidently.
Brilliant play from Taylor to skip away from the defender on the right flank, before playing a neat through ball to Martinez. Miami look to be away but the Venezuelan is adjudged to be offside.
Taylor has looked like Miami's most dangerous attacker so far.
Koutsias and Herbers combine for Chicago but can't quite fashion a clear opening for themselves.
It was good play to get into the Miami box, but they were missing the inventiveness of Shaqiri. The Swiss forward was struggling to keep up with their swift break-away, highlighting a bit of a problem for Chicago there.
A slick counter attack from Chicago sets Koutsias through behind the Miami backline. It looks like the big striker has a clear sight at goal but Miller gets back to put in a vital block as he pulls the trigger.
A bit of coaching assistance for the hosts tonight? Chicago native and Ted Lasso star Brendan Hunting is in attendance for the big game!
Shaqiri shoots from the corner kick!
The diminutive forward looks to take advantage of the gusts in the windy city to fire the ball at goal, but it's just over the crossbar.
Now it's Chicago who are back on the attack after a clever no-look pass from Shaqiri. Miami get the numbers back but Allen gives away a cheap corner at the back post.
Miami have looked vulnerable from corners this season...
Frantic defending from Chicago to keep the game goalless.
Allen looks to have dragged his long-range shot wide but Yedlin is there to keep the ball in-play, flicking it back into the danger zone. Martinez is sniffing around for a chance but Chicago just about get the ball clear after some brave goalkeeping from Brady.
Decent opening for the hosts as a ball is delivered from the left wing, finding Herbers in space at the back post. He looks to place a first-time volley back across the goalkeeper but he misjudges his effort and the ball goes out for a goal kick.
It's been a pretty even start at Soldier Field, one that both teams will be fairly happy with. With the playoffs likely at stake tonight it might prove to be a nervy affair in Chicago with neither side wanting to make the first mistake.
Close! Inter Miami
A bit more attacking intent from Miami now, building through the middle to find Facundo Farias. The forward shifts the ball onto his right foot and looks to curl a shot into the top corner.
The ball arcs just wide of the crossbar, but it's a decent first effort from the Argentine.
So close! Chicago
So nearly a breakthrough! Callender missed the initial ball and it bounces down on the six-yard box. Miller looks to get the ball clear amid a forest for Chicago legs, before the ball is deflected off Cremaschi and out for another corner.
Miami living dangerously there!
Nearly a chance for Chicago as Dean charges forward down the right and looks to cut the ball back to the edge of the box. A recovering defender clears the immediate danger but it's out for a corner kick to Chicago.
Good play from Allen and Cremaschi on the left for Miami, building down the wing. The visitors are showing their patience on the ball and Chicago look quite content to let them have it in the central areas.
Inter Miami register their first shot on target as Robert Taylor rifles in a low effort from 20 yards out.
Yedlin's overlapping run allows Taylor to drift inside and shoot with his left. On this occasion, Chicago goalkeeper Brady saves easily.
Ten minutes in and there's been no real openings for either team yet. Inter Miami will be looking to ease their way into this crucial game, coming into it off the back of a poor run of form.
Miami midfielder Cremaschi does well under intense pressure in the middle of the pitch, keeping the ball and finding a way through the bodies.
Inter Miami are starting to get their possession game going now, with Busquets dropping deep into the defence to help build the play.
Chance! Chicago Fire
Herbers does well down the right flank, getting to the by-line and whipping in a cross. The ball bounces on the edge of the box and Gutierrez runs onto it for a firs-time shot.
His 20-yard effort flies well over the bar, but it's another sign of the youngster's intent.
Neat footwork from Chicago youngster Gutierrez gets the crowd off their seats with a neat turn on the halfway line, looking to play in Koutsias. Inter Miami get players back to block his forward run.
It's been a fairly cagey start in the opening minutes, neither sides willing to expose themselves in this crucial clash.
And we're off!
Chicago Fire get us underway at Soldier Field. Let's see what tonight has in store!
The players are out on the pitch now for the pre-match formalities. Soldier Field is packed and there's a fantastic atmosphere for tonight's clash. Just minutes to go until kick-off now..
Inter Miami focused for Chicago Fire test
It's a make-or-break game for Inter Miami, whose playoff hopes have taken a knock in recent weeks. Lets see if they can pick up a crucial win in Chicago and get their season back on track.
Elsewhere in MLS...
There's just minutes to go until Inter Miami continue their playoff push against Chicago Fire, but we couldn't not show you this stunning goal from Philadelphia Union star Daniel Gazdag! The Union will be making another play for MLS Cup this season and their star man looks to be in good form.
When will Lionel Messi play for Inter Miami? That's the question on the lips of Herons supporters tonight as the Argentine World Cup winner misses his fourth consecutive game for the club.
His absence is the result of a reoccurring fitness issue, but the club have a plan to get him back in contention in the near future.
Chicago Fire prepare for crucial MLS clash
There's little more than ten minutes remaining until kick-off and the stands at Soldier Field are packed in preparation for tonight game. Chicago take on Inter Miami with a place in the MLS payoffs on the line.
Chicago Fire host Inter Miami tonight and we'll be bringing you full live coverage from Soldier Field. You can also choose to watch or stream the game online, using Apple TV's MLS Season Pass option.
Here's everything you need to know ahead of this crucial fixture...
Full MLS fixture list
Our eyes will be focused on Chicago Fire vs Inter Miami at Soldiers Field this evening, but there are 11 other fascinating fixtures in MLS tonight. Here's what else is going on...
And here's how Chicago Fire line up...
No major surprises in the hosts' starting XI. Georgios Koutsias, who scored the only goal in last weekend's 1-0 win over NY Red Bulls, starts for Chicago Fire.
Inter Miami starting XI...
Here's how the visitors line up at Soldiers Field tonight! No Lionel Messi so Taylor and Farias flank Martinez in the front line. Sergio Busquets starts in the middle of midfield but Jordi Alba misses out due a fitness concern.
Shaqiri: "Miami are a different team with Messi"
Former Liverpool and Bayern Munich star Xherdan Shaqiri has come up against Lionel Messi in the past and is only too aware of his importance to Inter Miami. However, with Messi set to miss tonight's games, the Swiss forward is not taking Miami for granted.
He said: “If Messi’s injured or not, personally I’m not thinking too much about this. At the end of the day it’s one game and we’ll try to beat Miami at home with a big crowd.”
We've had confirmation that Lionel Messi will not be involved in tonight's game, meaning that supporters could well be entitled to a form of compensation from Chicago Fire. We take a look at what that means for Messi-less fans...
Inter Miami arrive in Chicago
They may be missing their captain and talisman, but this Inter Miami squad are still more than capable of picking up a win tonight. The likes of Sergio Busquets and Benjamin Cremaschi look set to start for the Herons.
Will Lionel Messi play against Chicago?
Inter Miami supporters look away now! It seems that Lionel Messi will not be involved in tonight's crucial MLS fixture having not travelled with the team to Chicago. Miami Herald reporter Michelle Kaufman has confirmed the Argentine's absence.
A real blow for the Herons...
Hello and welcome to AS USA! I'm Will Gittins and I'll be bringing you live coverage of Chicago Fire vs Inter Miami in MLS.
Both teams go into the game with their playoff hopes alive, but knowing that a defeat at Soldier Park could be catastrophic for those ambitions. Chicago are outside of the playoffs spots on goal difference, while Inter Miami are four points adrift but have played one game fewer.
Tonight's game could decide who makes it to the post-season...