The win leaves Chicago languishing at the foot of the Eastern Conference, while Cincinnati, who began the night level on points with the Fire, get a much-needed second win of the season.
The visitors started the game in dominant form, racking up 14 shots in the first half and forcing Fire goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth into nine saves. The rhythm was established as early as the fifth minute, when Brenner's shot from outside the box was stopped by the goalkeeper. The Fire did not record their first shot until Robert Beric's 26th minute attempt, which missed the target. Yet despite Cincinnati's frequent opportunities to score, somehow, the half ended goalless.
That changed with the first shot of the second half, with Cincinnati finally converting one of their chances. Alvaro Barreal scored directly from a freekick, standing to the left of the goal and yards from the penalty box. The ball just avoided the wall of Fire players in front of Barreal, curling around them and sneaking in just to the right of the goalpost for Barreal's first goal of the season.
Conceding seemingly inspired the Fire to take control of the match, with the hosts now creating opportunities at a quick pace. It took until Beric's 63rd minute shot, though, for the team to register their first shot on goal of the game, which Kenneth Vermeer saved from close range.
The Fire thought they finally got the equalizer in the second minute of stoppage time, but Beric's attempt was ruled offside after a VAR check. Cincinnati did just enough to hold off a Fire team with 12 shots in the second half, and walked away with the three points.
- 50' - CIN - Alvaro Barreal | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: Each team enjoyed long spells of possession where they racked up the shots, but Chicago lacked the finishing ability Cincinnati came to Soldier Field with. In a battle between two teams who began the night with the worst records in MLS, neither side could afford to lose. And the Fire's disappointment will only be exacerbated by Beric's stoppage-time goal being ruled out to deny them at least a point.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Cincinnati were finally rewarded for their efforts in the 50th minute, courtesy of an Alvaro Barreal free kick goal that's worthy of a AT&T Goal of the Week nomination.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Luciano Acosta was crucial to Cincinnati's success as the team generated 19 total shots, 12 on target. He was active as anyone during the 14-shot first half, creating five chances and taking three shots.