Nemanja Nikolic converted a 90th-minute penalty to continue his bid for the MLS Golden Boot and help seal the Chicago Fire's comprehensive 3-0 victory over D.C. United on Saturday night at Toyota Park.
Playing without injured Bastian Schweinsteiger and suspended Michael de Leeuw, Chicago took the lead through Ian Harkes' first-half own goal. Brandon Vincent added his second of the season 17 minutes after halftime as the Fire ran a modest unbeaten run to three matches. And Nikolic tied a club record with his 18th of the year after Luis Solignac earned a late penalty.
It might've been worse if not for the heroics of Bill Hamid, who made six saves but couldn't prevent D.C.'s second straight loss and first at Toyota Park since 2013.
- 23' - CHI - Ian Harkes (OG) Watch
- 62' - CHI - Brandon Vincent Watch
- 90' - CHI - Nemanja Nikolic (PK) Watch
- UPPING THE ANTE: Nikolic’s goal was his second in as many matches after going games without hitting the back of the net. While that drought has likely ended any earlier talk that the Hungarian international could tie or break the league goal-scoring mark, Nikolic’s 18 tallies match Ante Razov’s Fire record set in the 2000 season.
- CLOSING THE GAP: The thrid-place Fire’s victory brought them back within three points of second-place New York City FC, with each team having five games remaining. Chicago have not held one of the top two spots in the standings since a 4-1 win over New England on Aug. 5, which came before a four-match losing skid. Chicago will host NYCFC on Sept. 30.
- OWNING IT: If you’ve watched D.C. lately, there’s a good chance you’ve seen someone put the ball in his own net. The Black-and-Red have both received three own goals on offense and conceded three on defense this season. Five of those own goals (three conceded, two received) have come in their last eight matches.